Stuffed Pasta with Lemony Harissa Oil, Feta and Broccoli

Adapted from Super Natural Every Day

What is it about Heidi Swanson that makes me want to hug her? Maybe it’s her warm, natural smile. Or her writing, which draws you in as if you’re sitting in her kitchen, talking like old friends. Maybe it’s that every time I try one of her beautifully simple dishes, I am taken with the bold, complex flavors. Whatever the reason, I’m yet again a fan. Heidi’s original recipe uses cheese ravioli, but I executed this recipe using a handmade cheese stuffed manicotti from my local Whole Foods.

  • 2 large garlic cloves, smashed
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice (one large lemon)
  • 2 tablespoons harissa (see tips)
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 pound cheese stuffed pasta (ravioli, tortellini, manicotti, etc.), fresh or frozen
  • 1/2 pound broccoli, trimmed to bite-sized florets
  • 1/4 cup pine nuts
  • 1/4 cup crumbled feta cheese
  • 6 black oil-cured olives, pitted

  • Bring a large pot of generously salted water to a boil. I recently read a blog post in which Amanda Hesser correctly states that it should “taste like seawater.” Well put, Amanda.
  • Meanwhile, make the harissa oil. Place the smashed garlic cloves on a cutting board, sprinkle with the salt, then chop into a paste and place into a small bowl. Add the lemon juice, harissa and olive oil. Set aside while the pasta cooks.
  • Cook the pasta according to package directions for al dente. Fresh pasta typically takes just a few minutes to cook, so watch it carefully. In the last minute of cooking, add the broccoli to the pasta water. Drain the pasta and the broccoli into a colander, then place it in a large bowl.
  • Add a few spoonfuls of the harissa oil, tossing to coat. Taste for seasonings, adding more salt if needed. If it seems dry, add a little more harissa oil. Add the pine nuts, feta and olives. Top with another drizzle of the oil and a generous squeeze of lemon for a burst of bright flavor.
  • Quick Tips
  • 1. Harissa is a North African hot chili sauce made of a blend of various types of chili peppers, garlic, oil and sometimes traditional regional spices such as cumin or coriander. It varies a bit in terms of heat, so it’s a good idea to taste a little beforehand to determine how spicy it is. I found it in the grocery store near the middle Eastern spreads, such as hummus and baba ghannouj.
  • 2. I found that the oil was a bit more than was needed for the pasta. Thankfully, it goes nicely on so many other things! Drizzle it on steamed vegetables. Add a bit to your salad for a burst of flavor and a touch of heat. Pour it over goat cheese and serve with crackers. Use it to dress up a sandwich. Mix it with yogurt to create an unusual dip for vegetables. You get the idea.

Preparation time: 10 minute(s)

Cooking time: 5 minute(s)

Number of servings (yield): 4

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