01 November 2014

Harissa Ravioli and a Red Japanese Maple

... there is nothing like a good bowl of veg and pasta ...

Today was a day for all things red and bright and spicy! I knew it when SB and I came up the road from our walk and we exclaimed at the same time that we "better get a photo" of the Japanese maple at the back of the yard before the fall rains and winds take the leaves ... so, I took that photo and then I went inside to make harissa and a bowl of pasta that was so delish that SB and I ate every bit of it for supper. Seriously, the recipe was enough for four people and we licked the platter clean! Must have been all that fresh air ...

Two old friends came off the book shelf to help out with supper this evening. Heidi Swanson's recipe for ravioli was calling to me, but I needed some harissa to make the sauce for the ravioli and I knew that Yotam Ottolenghi's harissa was an easy fix.

The most time consuming thing about making harissa is blackening a sweet red pepper and waiting for it to cool enough to handle the peeling process. Then, whizzzzz in the blender and that's a fix! The key is to label the container so that you spot it in the fridge as a reminder to use it up!

 Ottolenghi's recipe


1 large sweet red pepper, broiled and blackened
¼ tsp. each- coriander seeds, cumin seeds, caraway seeds
½ tbsp. olive oil
1 small  red onion, small chop
3 cloves garlic, small chop
2 medium hot red chiles, seeded, small chop
½ tbsp. tomato paste
2 tbsp. fresh lemon juice
2/3 tsp. Kosher salt

Broil the sweet pepper until the skin is blackened.  While the pepper broils, place the spice seeds in a mortar and use a pestle to grind them to a powder. Remove the blackened pepper from the oven and place it under cover for several minutes. Then, peel the blackened skin and remove the seeds and stem. Chop. Place everything in a blender and whiz to make a smooth sauce. Place in a small container and refrigerate any harissa that is not used in your recipe.

Heidi's ravioli recipe has a few of my favorite things in the mix - pasta, broccoli, and oil-cured black olives. She also suggests feta cheese for the dish, but SB is adamant that feta is a no go ... so I used a tangy Parmesan instead.

This dish goes together so easily. The broccoli is blanched in the pasta water toward the end of the pasta cooking time. Then, the pasta and broccoli get drained in the colander and tossed into a bowl with the pepitas, torn olives, cheese, and a warm dressing made with olive oil, garlic, harissa, and some of the pasta water.

Voila!  With a simple wedge of roasted acorn squash, this was the perfect Fall supper ... ah, what a day!

Harissa Ravioli
a Heidi Swanson recipe from super natural every day

Serves 4


1 clove garlic, mashed
¼ tsp. salt
2 tbsp. lemon juice
2 heaping tbsp. harissa
¼ c. extra virgin olive oil
12 oz. fresh cheese-filled ravioli
8 oz. fresh broccoli, washed and cut into small bite-sized pieces
¼ c. salted pepitas, toasted
¼ c. feta cheese, broken into chunks OR a tangy Parmesan roughly grated
6 plus oil-cured olives ripped into small bits

Making the Dish:

  1. Make the sauce for the pasta by placing the garlic clove and the salt in a mortar and use a pestle to smash a garlic paste.
  2. Add the garlic paste to a bowl in which you’ve placed the harissa, lemon juice, and olive oil. Use a small whisk to make a sauce. Set it aside.
  3. Boil a large pot of salted water and add the ravioli. While the ravioli cooks, toast the pepitas and then set them aside with the harissa sauce.
  4. About 3 or 4 minutes before the pasta is ready to eat, add the chopped broccoli pieces to the pasta water and blanch.
  5. Use a ladle and remove about ¼ c. of hot pasta water and add it to the harissa sauce.
  6. Drain the broccoli and pasta in a colander and toss it in a large  pasta bowl with the pepitas, torn olives, plenty of black pepper, and the harissa sauce.
  7. Sprinkle the cheese over top while everything is still very hot.
  8. Serve in bowls with a bit more harissa dribbled over top and more cheese.  


  1. The ravioli looks utterly beautiful. I adore Harissa... But that tree. What a beauty!!

  2. The ravioli looks delicious and the Japanese maple is beautiful.


Anonymous comments will not be accepted. Please be aware that due to spamming concerns, I must be able to track back.