Baked Pasta with Sausage and Harissa-Spiked Sauce

[Susan Hanna]If you are in the mood for some comfort food over the holiday season, try this baked pasta from Bon Appetit. It includes harissa, a North African hot chili pepper paste made from chipotle and spices. To tone down the spiciness of this dish, use a mild sausage instead of a hot one.

 

Avoiding Additives and Preservatives

I have not been able to find preservative-free harissa, so I make it from scratch with canned chipotles and spices. The recipe is below. Look for sausage, canned tomatoes and feta with no preservatives. I use President’s Choice “Free From” sausages, Unico tomatoes and Tre Stelle feta. For more recipes using all-natural ingredients, visit Eye For A Recipe.

pasta with harissa sauce

Ingredients:

Harissa

2 tablespoons (30 ml) sweet paprika

1 chipotle in adobo, minced, plus 1 teaspoon (5 ml) adobo sauce

2 garlic cloves, minced

2 teaspoons (10 ml) ground cumin

2 teaspoons (10 ml) ground caraway

2 tablespoons (30 ml) extra-virgin olive oil

Pasta

1 teaspoon (5 ml) caraway seeds

1 teaspoon (5 ml) cumin seeds

1 tablespoon (15 ml) olive oil

12 ounces (340 g) hot or sweet Italian sausage

1 medium onion, chopped

4 garlic cloves, thinly sliced

1 28-ounce (828 ml) can whole peeled tomatoes

1 tablespoon (15 ml) harissa paste (see recipe above)

Kosher salt, freshly ground pepper

8 ounces (226 g) medium shell-shaped pasta

3 ounces (85 g) feta, crumbled

A spice mill or a mortar and pestle

Preparation:

Preheat oven to 400° F (200° C)

For the harissa, combine all ingredients into a paste. Set aside.

Grind caraway and cumin in a spice mill or with a mortar and pestle; set aside.

Heat oil in a large skillet over medium. Cook sausage until browned all over but still pink in the center, about 3 minutes per side. Transfer to a cutting board and let cool slightly. Slice into 1-inch (2.5 cm) pieces.

Add onion to same skillet and cook, stirring often, until soft, 6–8 minutes. Add garlic and reserved spices. Cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 2 minutes. Add tomatoes, crushing, and juices, then harissa. Cook until sauce thickens slightly, 6–8 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.

Meanwhile, cook pasta in a large pot of boiling salted water until very al dente (about 3 minutes less than package directions; it will be firm in the center). Drain, reserving ¼ cup (60 ml) cooking liquid.

Add sausage, pasta, and cooking liquid to skillet; toss to coat. Transfer to a 3-qt. (2.8 L) baking dish, top with feta, and bake until top is browned and juices are bubbling, 18–22 minutes. Serves 4.

From Bon Appetit