Spicy Tunisian Spaghetti with Seafood

This recipe was created and shared by Ari from Zingerman’s.

He says, “I ate this meal a bunch of times on my two trips to Tunisia over ten years ago. And I enjoy it as much now as when I first experienced it in a restaurant in Tunis with my friend Majid Mahjoub, maker of amazing hand-rolled couscous, great organic extra virgin olive oil, and the incredibly good harissa (that helps make this dish so special). A few months ago, another friend, Allison Arevalo, just put a formal recipe for it in her new book, Pasta Friday! If you like pasta, a bit of spice, and love seafood, this spaghetti with seafood is a wonderful way to go.While complex in flavor, it’s easy to make. Essentially, the dish is spaghetti tossed with harissa-spiked tomato sauce and a selection of whatever fish or seafood you’re in the mood to stick in. Shrimp, squid, scallops, octopus, and various bits of fresh fish seemed to be the things that showed up most in my Tunisian restaurant experiences. I’ve been making it over the years at home with all of those, and then some. I don’t know that the dish itself really has much of a fancy or formal history, but remember that Sicily is right across the water from Tunisia. (The Tunisian coast is actually closer to Sicily than Sicily is to Rome!) Tunisians certainly seem to eat it a lot—it’s one of Majid’s favorite meals.” Majid says, “What I like is the subtle combination between the very high-quality ingredients and healthy products. This dish—like couscous—summarizes all the healthy Mediterranean culinary art!”



Boil the spaghetti in well-salted rapidly boiling water until it’s cooked al dente. While the pasta is cooking, heat up some tomato sauce. If it were summer, I’d recommend making your own. Add in a bit of the Mahjoubs preserved lemon—diced up small so it adds depth but doesn’t dominate. Add a little chopped roasted red pepper if you like. Add the fish a couple of minutes before the pasta is done, and spoon in some of the sun-dried Moulin Mahjoub harissa—how much you put in is of course up to you. I like a lot—you can decide for yourself. Drain the pasta and add to the pan with sauce. Toss well and cook another minute or two so the pasta absorbs the sauce. Very fast to make, and very, very good to eat! Serve with some extra harissa and olive oil on the side for folks to add to their bowls before they eat.

Recipe and photo courtesy of Zingerman’s.
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