As I started curating my own kitchen, I realized part of being an adult is having “staples” ― the things that you always have in case you want to make a quick, brainless meal. While everyone’s list may be different, some things I always keep at home are canned tomatoes, eggs and pasta. I joke that I was an Italian grandma in a previous life.

I’ve always made red sauce from scratch, I enjoy rolling handmade pasta and baking bread. While I love a good Italian red sauce, tomatoes are such a diverse staple. All we have to do is cross the Mediterranean Sea from Italy into Northern Africa for another way to elevate tomatoes.

This original pasta recipe was inspired by the Northern African breakfast dish shakshuka, a spicy stewed tomato meal with poached eggs. This was the perfect dish to transform into a pasta entree. I like using pasta shells as a vessel to carry the tomato sauce and liquid gold egg yolk, but really any smaller pasta will work. Take heed, this is spicy. This shakshuka pasta will make your tongue tingle and heat you up from the inside, making it the perfect dish for staying warm during the dead of winter. If spicy isn’t your thing, check out the recipe for easy modifications.

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Shakshuka pasta

Servings: 4

Prep time: 10 minutes 

Cook time: 30 minutes 

INGREDIENTS

● 3 tablespoons neutral oil (olive oil or coconut) 

● 1 red bell pepper, seeded and cut in strips 

● 1 medium onion, thinly sliced

● 4 cloves garlic, chopped 

● 2 teaspoons cumin 

● 1 ½ teaspoons cayenne*

● 1 teaspoon paprika* 

● 28 ounces canned tomatoes 

● Salt and pepper to taste 

● 2 cups pasta, shells or bow tie; if you choose to use fettuccine or spaghetti, break into smaller pieces 

1 cup water

● 1 cup feta cheese, crumbled; plus more for garnish 

● 4 eggs, you can add more if you’d like, but be mindful of room in your pan

● Cilantro (optional for garnish) 

*For a less spicy dish, cut cayenne and paprika measurements in half.

STEPS

  1. In a large, oven-safe skillet (it should be able to hold 5-6 cups of food), heat oil over medium-low heat and sauté red peppers, onions and garlic until fragrant. Add seasonings and cook for an additional 1-2 minutes. 
  2. Add canned tomatoes, stir. Salt and pepper to taste.
  3. Then add pasta and 1 cup water. Stir, cover and cook for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. In the meantime, preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
  4. After 15 minutes, stir in feta. 
  5. Use a wooden spoon or measuring cup to make small wells into the pasta. Be sure the well does not expose the bottom of the pan. Make as many wells as eggs you plan to use (this recipe calls for 4). Crack eggs into the wells, place skillet in the oven (uncovered) and cook for 10-15 minutes or until eggs are just set. The egg whites should be white, and the eggs should shake when the pan is moved.
  6. Serve as one large scoop of pasta and egg. Garnish with additional feta and cilantro.