The key to this mild and delicious Rose Harissa with Kalamata Olives and Capers dish is the Rose Harissa. The red is not tomato sauce. The red comes from rose harissa, which is a Middle Eastern seasoning. Rose Harissa is a complex blend of spices and rose petals, yes rose petals!  There is an aromatic and warming blend of spices with just a hint of slow burning chili at the end. A generous dollop of sour cream and a tablespoon of honey will tame the spice.

Rose Harissa, Kalamata Olives and Capers

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Course: Dinner
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 25 minutes
Degree of Difficulty : Easy
Servings: 2 people


  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 large onion, thinly sliced
  • 3 tbsp Rose Harissa
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • 1/2 lb cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 6-8 whole kalamata olives, halved
  • 1 tbsp capers
  • 3-4 sprigs parsley, roughly chopped
  • dried pappardelle pasta enough for two
  • 2 tbsp whole fat sour cream or Greek yogurt


Gather all ingredients before starting recipe.

  • Heat 1 tbsp olive oil in a deep sided skillet with a lid over medium high heat.
  • When the oil is hot, add 1/2 large onion, thinly sliced and fry until caramelized, about 8 minutes. Stir frequently to prevent sticking and burning.
  • Add 3 tbsp Rose Harissa, 1/2 lb cherry tomatoes, halved, 6-8 whole kalamata olives, halved, 1 tbsp capers and 1 tbsp honey. Stir and cook until the tomatoes start to break down, about 5 minutes.
  • Add 1 cup of water and stir to combine. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to medium low and cover the pan. Simmer for about 10 minutes, remove lid, and cook for another 5-6 minutes until the sauce thickens.
  • Cook pasta according to package directions and when cooked, add to the rose harissa sauce. Toss to combine.
  • Serve in shallow wide bowls, sprinkled with 3-4 sprigs parsley, roughly chopped and a dollop of sour cream.

Author Notes

Chef Ottolenghi can be a source of pure inspiration as all his dishes are beautifully photographed and he is prolific. Even though I said many times before that I would not be caught by the beautiful photo alone, I was intrigued this time by the spice and the photo. The dish is very simple, but the dish is the rose harissa, there are no substitutes. It's a little different and typical Ottolenghi. A good dish.

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