Monday, 26 May 2008

Spaghetti with prawns and rocket recipe

Here's the recipe! I mentioned AGES ago that we should cook this for Pa. I know Pa hates tomatoes, but just cook it and don't tell Pa that there are tomatoes in it. See what he says. I seriously think the parents will like it if we add hotter (and more) chillies. It's really easy to make and only takes me 15 minutes including prep time to cook it straight from the fridge (or plastic bags) if I use fresh spaghetti, 20mins if using dried spaghetti. Out of all that, only 5 or 6 minutes involves cooking!

Spaghetti with prawns, lemon, chilli, garlic and rocket
400g dried spaghetti (but I use fresh, as it tastes better and cooks faster)
6 tbsp olive oil (this may look like an alarmingly large amount of oil, but I assure you, it's good)
3 garlic cloves, crushed (I like more garlic, so I use 5 or 6)
2 medium-hot red chillies, deseeded and finely chopped (use more and hotter chillies. This isn't enough for a nice, spicy, bombastic taste! The chillies I get from Waitrose are nowhere near hot enough and even using 4 of them isn't enough! For Malaysian chillies, may I suggest using 3 normal chillies if you know they're hot enough?)
150g vine-ripened tomatoes, skinned and chopped (skinning is very important! It makes it look far more aesthetically pleasing and the sauce texture will be better. Also, don't use canned chopped tomatoes. It won't taste so fresh anymore then.)
Finely grated zest of 1/2 lemon (if you like a more lemony flavour, like I do, use the zest of a whole lemon)
2tbsp lemon juice (generally, the juice of 1 large lemon)
300-400g cooked and peeled prawns
150g rocket leaves

1) Cook spaghetti according to instructions.
2) Shortly before spaghetti is ready, put the oil and garlic into a large deep frying pan (my preference) or shallow saucepan over a medium high heat. As soon as the garlic starts to sizzle, add chillies and fry for 1 minute.
3) Add tomatoes and fry for a further minute.
4) Add lemon zest, lemon juice, prawns and seasoning (hold the salt till after you taste though). Cook for 1 1/2 to 2 minutes until prawns are heated through. I'll add that the tomatoes will liquify in the hot oil, so don't panic. This will turn the sauce into a lovely reddish colour, but not enough that it can be called a tomato based sauce. Be warned that you will barely taste the tomato. Oh, and don't use slightly underripe tomatoes like I did yesterday, or the tomatoes won't liquify properly and the sauce will turn out pale red with a greenish tint, and will taste slightly bitter.
5) Drain spaghetti (always save some of the cooking water, though!). The recipe says to add it to the pan of prawns with the rocket and toss, but I prefer to put the rocket into a very large serving bowl, then add the spaghetti and the sauce on top of the spaghetti, then toss, as my pan isn't big enough to toss all of it together. If you think it's too dry (not very likely, though) add half a tablespoon of the cooking water to loosen it.

Warning: Do NOT prepare the ingredients hours beforehand then cook it. It'll make the whole thing taste really off and bland!!! This recipe is really meant for the freshest stuff only. Don't use frozen prawns, cos you'll be able to taste it. I'm just sorry we can't find packaged pre-cooked prawns at home, so we'd have to cook and peel them ourselves. England is so convenient, isn't it?

This recipe is supposed to serve 4, but Mel and I can finish it with leftovers for 1. It looks very fresh and out-of-the-magazine. The picture for this recipe was on the cover of the recipe booklet and when James saw it, he said that it looked "exactly the same" =^_^= I'm so happy I can make something that looks like the magazine pictures! Maybe I should take a picture of the magazine cover and a bowl of that spaghetti and post it?

This is something I'd serve with garlic bread and a glass of crisp, chilled white wine. I haven't thought of what would be a good dessert for this yet, but usually I eat it with anything :P I use this recipe for 2 or 3 very hungry people for dinner, with leftovers if it's 2, but if you add a slightly heavier dessert, I think it can stretch to 6 people for a light lunch. Maybe an ice cream dessert? Maybe raspberry semifreddo with a raspberry coulis? That would certainly make for a nice, summery Italian meal!

Mmm.. Mel tried adding cheese to it, but I don't think it's very suitable for cheese. Anyway, it seems perfect for Pa and Ma to me. I mean, it's got seafood, it's got rocket, it's fresh, the sauce is clear, it tastes like Tabasco sauce. Put a bottle of Tabasco on the table anyway, cos it'll go well with it, and Ma likes Tabasco with her pasta. Just don't tell them there's any tomato in it - if you skin the tomatoes, there won't be any indication that there are any tomatoes in it. It only provides a base for the lovely flavours of the sauce.

Oh! And don't use an olive oil that's too strong. I'd say mild virgin olive oil would be good. I used extra virgin olive oil yesterday and the taste of the oil was pretty strong. All the other times I cooked this, I used mild virgin olive oil, and the taste was fantastic.

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