Casarecce Pollo Piccante is a legend of a dish at Zizzi’s.
For those unfamiliar, the dish is spicy harissa chicken in a creamy sauce with tomatoes. Through the years we’ve gone from eating it with the meat, to a veggie version (sans meat and loads of mushrooms instead) to now not ordering at all because of the dairy. But since it taste SO good we needed some way for it to remain in our lives.
Luckily though, the key isn’t the meat or the cream, but the harissa. So we set to work making a vegan alternative. It uses the staple items from the original dish (casarecce pasta, spinach, harissa and spices) along with some alternatives (oat milk, vegan perinaise and mushrooms) to create the creamy sauce that packs a *light* punch of heat.
For the harrisa, the best to use is Belazu Rose Harrisa. After testing a few, this had so much more depth of flavour to it. However, it’s a little pricey, so if you’re on a budget, Asda does a harrisa paste that much cheaper and will still make for a great dish.
If you want it veggie you can add cream to the sauce, or oat milk if you fancy the vegan version.
Casarecce no-pollo piccante
- 250 g casarecce pasta
- 200 g plum tomatoes
- 100 g button mushrooms (chopped in half)
- 2 tsp harissa paste
- 3 cloves of garlic (crushed)
- 1 tbsp vegan Nandos Perinaise
- 2 tbsp oat milk
- 2 handfuls of spinach
- Heat up a pot of water. Add a big pinch of salt and then your casarecce pasta. Leave to boil for 7-10 minutes.
- In the meantime, in another pan on medium heat, add some oil (or butter). Add the mushrooms and leave to fry for 5 minutes. Then add the garlic, harissa, perinaise sauce and milk. Give it a mix to make a sauce and then season with some pepper.
- Turn the pan down to low heat. Take a splash of your pasta water and add to the sauce. Then, add the tomatoes (add them whole, don’t cut them into chunks). Let everything simmer for 5 minutes until the tomato skins start to break.
- Add your spinach into the sauce and stir in.
- Drain your pasta and combine with the sauce. Allow everything to combine on a medium heat for a couple of minutes.
- Dish up. Throw some pepper and chili flakes on top and enjoy.