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Harissa Shellfish Pasta

Updated: Jul 24

Do you ever have days where you don't really feel like cooking but still want a home-cooked meal? Where you can't bear to get off the couch but also can't possibly sit around any longer? This is a meal for one of those days. It involves almost no prep and comes together in the time it takes to boil pasta, especially if you've got some shellfish (shrimp, scallops, or pre-cooked clams or mussels) stashed away in the freezer. My Five-Chile Harissa Spice Blend gives it a little kick and a lot of complexity, especially with a little squeeze of lemon juice just before serving.

Harissa Shellfish Pasta

Serves 2 (generously)


  • Extra virgin olive oil

  • 1 medium yellow onion, diced

  • 4-5 garlic cloves, minced

  • 2 tablespoons Five-Chile Harissa Spice Blend

  • 1/2 cup dry white wine

  • 1 (14.5-ounce) can peeled tomatoes

  • 1 pound fresh or frozen shellfish of choice (I used scallops and green lip mussels but shrimp or clams would be great as well)

  • 8 ounces dried long pasta of choice (I used spaghetti, but linguine, pappardelle, or bucatini would be delightful as well)

  • Grilled bread, grilled lemon halves, and freshly grated parmesan cheese, for serving (all optional but highly recommended)


Heat a tablespoon or two of olive oil over medium heat. Add onion and garlic and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion turns translucent. Add the Five-Chile Harissa Spice Blend and stir about 30 seconds, until nice and fragrant. Add the wine and allow to reduce by about half before adding the tomatoes. Use the back of a spoon to smash the tomatoes and then simmer the sauce to allow the flavors to meld.

Meanwhile, bring a large pot of salted water to boil. Cook the pasta according to the package instructions. Drain, reserving about 1/2 cup of the pasta cooking liquid.

About 4 minutes before the pasta is finished cooking, add the scallops and mussels to the sauce. Stir, then cover the pot with a lid to capture steam. The scallops are done when they've turned white, and the mussels are done when they have popped open (if using fresh) or are warmed through (if using pre-cooked, frozen mussels).

Add the cooked pasta to the sauce and stir to combine, adding a small amount of pasta water as needed to loosen the sauce.

Serve immediately with grilled bread, grilled lemon, and some freshly grated parmesan.

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