This harissa pasta with prawns is a vibrant dish bursting with Mediterranean flavours. Fragrant harissa paste blends with garlic, fresh tomatoes, and Kalamata olives to create the perfect setting for plump, slightly crispy prawns. It’s a wonderful quick dinner with just the right touch of spice that everyone will love.
To say that I’m a seafood lover is surely an understatement. From a delicious lemon prawn risotto to a hearty Spanish fish stew, I use seafood in my cooking a lot.
This harissa pasta with prawns has quickly become one of my favourite recipes to cook because it’s easy, incredibly flavourful and it’s, well, pasta. Plus, it’s ready in under 30 minutes, just how I like it.
Ingredients you’ll need for this harissa pasta
What gives this pasta its amazing flavour is harissa. Rose harissa, to be more specific. This is a type of harissa that contains rosewater and dried rose petals. The rose scent is very subtle, but it adds a complex undertone and it also softens the heat a bit.
I use the Rose Harissa paste from Belazu for this Mediterranean-inspired pasta. You can also use regular harissa if you want or make your own rose harissa by adding a dash of rosewater to regular harissa paste.
You can use fresh or frozen prawns in this pasta. I use raw prawns because I like to control how cooked they are, but cooked prawns are fine, too. Use any kind you like, and shallow fry them for as long as you like. Personally, I like them well done, but it’s important to pay attention and not go over the point that will make them too dry. I find that 4-5 minutes on medium-high heat is typically enough.
You’ll also need Kalamata olives, fresh tomatoes and fresh basil for this pasta. You can substitute the Kalamata with black olives and add a tin of chopped tomatoes instead of fresh tomatoes if you don’t have them at hand.
The pasta you see in the pics is caserecce, but any type of short or long pasta works here. I sometimes make this recipe with linguine, which are also great for catching this type of sauce.
How do you make the pasta?
Start by boiling the pasta in salted water according to the instructions on the package. Don’t forget to reserve some pasta water before draining them.
Meanwhile, heat a large pan, add the olive oil and then the butter. When the butter has melted, add the prawns and cook for 4-5 minutes on medium heat until slightly golden.
Add the red onion and garlic and continue to cook for 1-2 minutes. Next, stir in the harissa paste, making sure the prawns are well covered in it.
Add the cherry tomatoes and cook for 2-3 minutes, then add the olives and basil leaves.
If the sauce looks too thick, add a bit of pasta water. Transfer the pasta to the pan and toss it with sauce. Season to taste, add some fresh parsley and sprinkle the pine nuts on top.
Recipe tips and notes
- Reserve some of the toasted pine nuts to sprinkle on each individual plate before serving.
- You can add a dash of lemon juice and capers to this pasta.
- Feel free to add more harissa than recommended in the recipe card, but only if you can handle the heat.
If you liked this harissa pasta with prawns, check out some of my other quick and easy pasta recipes:
- 250 g (9 oz) casarecce pasta
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 20 g (1 tbsp) butter
- 250 g (9 oz) raw prawns
- 1 small red onion, finely chopped
- 2 garlic cloves, chopped
- 1 tsp harissa paste
- 6 cherry tomatoes, quartered
- 30 g (1 ounce) Kalamata olives, halved
- 3-4 basil leaves
- 1 tbsp fresh parsley
- 30 g (1 ounce) pine nuts, toasted
- Bring a large pot of water to a boil, salt it generously, and boil the pasta according to the instructions on the package. Reserve some pasta water before draining.
- Meanwhile, heat a large pan, add the olive oil and then the butter. When the butter has melted, add the prawns and cook for 4-5 minutes on medium heat until slightly golden.
- Add the red onion and garlic and continue to cook for 1-2 minutes. Next, stir in the harissa paste, making sure the prawns are well covered in it.
- Add the cherry tomatoes and cook for 2-3 minutes, then add the olives and basil leaves.
- If the sauce looks too thick, add a bit of pasta water. Transfer the pasta to the pan and toss it with sauce. Season to taste, add fresh parsley and sprinkle the pine nuts on top.
Amount Per Serving Calories 323Total Fat 16gSaturated Fat 4gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 10gCholesterol 143mgSodium 694mgCarbohydrates 25gFiber 2gSugar 2gProtein 20g
Nutritional information is an estimate provided by an online nutrition calculator.