I guess if someone was to ask me if I had a signature dish, I’d say this one! Although I’ll note that this is a question I never thought I would receive, because until the last few years, my answer would’ve been “call for takeout.” But this is a dish I can confidently whip up anytime, anywhere. I love that it all comes from pantry staples, like canned tomatoes and dried oregano. Or you could make yourself look like a fancy pants and buy fresh cherry tomatoes and fresh basil and simmer that garlic like a real chef! But the key, no matter, is the harissa. It’s a Tunisian spice that you squeeze out of a tube, and the result is this smoky and delicious flavor I fell in love with.
1 (8-ounce) package chickpea spaghetti (we recommend Banza)
3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
5 cloves garlic, peeled and grated
¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 tablespoon onion powder (optional)
2 pints cherry tomatoes, halved
1 tablespoon dried oregano (optional)
1 tablespoon dried parsley (optional)
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
3 tablespoons double-concentrated tomato paste
2 to 3 tablespoons harissa paste, plus additional to taste
½ cup chopped basil, plus additional for serving
Cook the pasta. Bring a large pot of water to a boil over high heat. Season with 2 tablespoons salt. Add the spaghetti and stir to ensure that the pasta does not clump together. Boil until just al dente, 6 to 7 minutes. Reserve 1 cup of the pasta cooking water and drain the noodles. Rinse the chickpea noodles under cold water until completely cool. Set aside.
Make the sauce. Meanwhile, heat a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add 2 tablespoons of olive oil and swirl to coat. Add the garlic, red pepper flakes, and onion powder, if using. Saute, stirring, until the garlic is fragrant, 30 seconds to 1 minute. Do not let brown. Add the cherry tomatoes and dried herbs, if using, and season with salt and pepper. Continue cooking until the tomatoes begin to break down, 4 to 5 minutes. Add the tomato paste and harissa paste and cook for 3 minutes more. Taste the sauce and season with salt, pepper, and additional harissa paste, if desired. (The pasta sauce can be made up to 3 days in advance. Store, covered, in the refrigerator before reheating in a skillet.)
Serve. Add the pasta to the sauce, along with 1 to 2 tablespoons of pasta water to thin, if necessary. The sauce should be thick and concentrated, but just loose enough to coat the noodles easily. Cook for 1 minute more, tossing to combine. Add the chopped basil, gently fold to combine, and divide among serving plates. Serve immediately, topping each portion with a drizzle of olive oil and additional basil.
This recipe is extracted from the book, Rebel Homemaker by Drew Barrymore and Pilar Valdes. It’s available online from Penguin Random House for $49.99 and other sites as well. Photography by Graydon Herriott.
This is an extract from Rebel Homemaker by Drew Barrymore. Published by Penguin Random House Australia, RRP $49.99.
FINDING VEGAN EATERIES IN SYDNEY
Lara Young and Susan McCarthy, co-founders of Australian startup VEats, have launched a first-of-its kind, exclusively plant-based platform where customers can explore local businesses offering vegan options, book a table or order online delivery and pick-up.
Launching in Veganuary, a popular initiative that encourages people to ‘try vegan’ for the month of January each year, VEats is rolling out initially in Sydney.
The platform currently has more than 600 directory listings across Sydney CBD, inner west, eastern suburbs and northern beaches, including fully plant-based businesses as well as those offering three or more plant-based options. So check it out.
For more from The Carousel on healthy recipes, visit here.