Pasta recipes: Laura Santini’s tuna, rocket and harissa

Harissa is one of my store-cupboard pleasures. I also make this recipe with hot brown rice instead of pasta.

tuna rocket and harissa
Christopher Scholey


4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil, plus extra to serve (if needed)
1 medium red onion, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, squashed, peeled and halved lengthways
1-2 heaped tsp harissa chilli paste
Grated zest and freshly squeezed juice of 1 lemon
330g cherry tomatoes, quartered
A handful (about 10g) of mint leaves, finely chopped
A handful (about 10g) of parsley, finely chopped
A handful (about 20g) of rocket, torn
160g can or jar of tuna in olive oil, drained
300g dried short pasta shapes (or 240g fresh short pasta shapes)
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

  1. Put a large pan of salted water on to boil for the pasta. Meanwhile, place all the ingredients apart from the pasta in a large bowl. (If you plan to serve this cold, omit the rocket at this stage.)
  2. When the salted water is at a rolling boil, add the pasta and cook according to the instructions on the packet. Drain the pasta, but keep a cup of the cooking water.
  3. Tip the hot drained pasta into the bowl of other ingredients. Season with salt and black pepper and toss with gusto until the heat from the pasta unlocks the flavours of all the aromatics. If necessary, add a splash of the retained pasta-cooking water or a splash more olive oil to loosen up.
  4. Remove the halved garlic cloves then serve immediately or allow to cool and store in the fridge. If you do store it in the fridge, do not add the rocket until the last minute and remember to remove from the fridge a few minutes before serving to loosen up the oil. Add extra seasoning if needed and serve.

Now buy the book

pasta perfectOur recipes are from Pasta Perfect by Laura Santini, which is published by Ryland, Peters & Small, price £14.99. To order a copy for £11.99 until 11 April, go to or call 020 3308 9193. Free p&p on orders over £20.