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creamy harissa pasta topped with fresh basil leaves
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4.96 from 21 votes

Creamy Harissa Pasta

Creamy harissa pasta is so easy to make, but so flavorful! The addition of harissa to the tomato sauce adds a depth, flavor, and spice that takes it to the next level.
Prep Time5 mins
Cook Time15 mins
Total Time20 mins
Course: Main Course, Pasta
Cuisine: American
Keyword: harissa, pasta
Servings: 2
Calories: 616kcal
Author: Aimee


  • 8 ounces dried pasta like farfalle, penne, or spaghetti
  • ½ tablespoon butter
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 15 ounces tomato sauce
  • 1 ½ tablespoons harissa paste
  • ¼ cup heavy cream
  • parmesan or mozzarella cheese optional
  • fresh basil leaves optional
  • salt and pepper to taste


  • Heat water in a large pot and cook pasta according to the package directions.
  • While pasta is cooking, peel and mince the two cloves of garlic.
  • About 5 minutes before pasta is done, melt butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the minced garlic and cook for 1 minute, stirring constantly, making sure not to burn garlic.
  • Add the tomato sauce and harissa paste. Stir to combine. Cook for 3 minutes, stirring occasionally, turning down the heat slightly if needed.
  • Add the heavy cream and stir to combine. Cook for 1-2 more minutes until sauce is hot.
  • Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  • When pasta is done, drain the pasta and then add to the sauce, stirring to coat pasta.
  • Top with cheese and fresh basil leaves if desired.


Cooking tips:
  • You can increase the spice level by adding more harissa if desired. I used spicy harissa and used 1.5 tablespoons. If using medium-spice harissa paste use 2 tablespoons, and if using mild, use 2.5 tablespoons.
  • You can easily add cooked chicken or shrimp to this dish.
  • I used farfalle pasta (that looks like bowties), but penne, ziti, fettuccine, and even spaghetti will all work well in this dish.
  • This recipe can serve 2-4, depending on hunger levels and if you serve it with a salad.


Calories: 616kcal | Carbohydrates: 100g | Protein: 19g | Fat: 16g | Saturated Fat: 9g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 4g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 48mg | Sodium: 1308mg | Potassium: 1033mg | Fiber: 8g | Sugar: 13g | Vitamin A: 1522IU | Vitamin C: 18mg | Calcium: 79mg | Iron: 4mg