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Simply delicious: Spaghetti with harissa-spiced shrimp and asparagus

Harissa is my go-to spice at the moment, as it gives wonderful flavor to simple dishes. In this dish, when it is simply sautéed with shrimp and asparagus, it’s a showstopper.

Harissa is something new in my kitchen. I’d heard about it, but since non-Italian ingredients arrive slowly in Italian supermarkets, I never looked for it until the day it was right there on the shelf in front of me, along with other exotic ingredients. I took it home and cooked with it immediately.

This is my first trial recipe, and it came out a huge success. My family, the first ones to try it, had several servings. Party after party with friends, I’ve cooked this pasta, and every time it is tasted, everyone raves about it. I have been asked for the recipe so many times, and I think it’s time to share it with you.

Spaghetti with harissa-spiced shrimp and asparagus recipe

This is a quick, easy and dependable recipe when you are in a hurry and don’t know what to cook for your family or guests. Harissa is not that spicy, so my kids and my friends’ kids eat this pasta with gusto.

Spaghetti with harissa-spiced shrimp and asparagus recipe

Serves 4


  • 3 tablespoons harissa
  • 2 pounds shrimp (fresh or frozen), shelled, deveined and chopped
  • Extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 10 ounces asparagus spears, hard ends removed, chopped
  • Salt and pepper
  • 14 ounces spaghetti
  • Fresh parsley, finely chopped


  1. In a small bowl, mix 2 tablespoons of harissa with the shrimp, and then leave it for 5 minutes.
  2. In a large pot over high heat, boil some water to cook the spaghetti.
  3. In a saucepan with olive oil over medium heat, quickly sauté the garlic (less than a minute).
  4. Add the shrimp, and cook for about 5 minutes or until they are just cooked through.
  5. When the shrimp is cooked, transfer it to a bowl, and set it aside.
  6. In the same saucepan over medium heat, add more olive oil, the remaining harissa and the asparagus. Cook the asparagus until tender, about 8 minutes.
  7. Return the shrimp to the saucepan.
  8. Toss together all the ingredients for another 5 minutes.
  9. Season with salt and pepper, and turn off the heat if the spaghetti is not yet cooked.
  10. If the water for the spaghetti is already boiling, then add some salt and then the spaghetti. Cook according to the package directions minus 1 minute.
  11. To the saucepan with the sauce, add the cooked pasta and some of the pasta water, if needed. Toss everything together for 2 minutes in the saucepan.
  12. Garnish with the parsley, and drizzle with some olive oil.
  13. Serve while hot.

More recipes with harissa

Homemade harissa recipe
Cauliflower feta meatballs and spicy harissa tomato zucchini noodles recipe

3 Easy and inexpensive ways to make egg roll-ups

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