Pasta can make a hearty and delicious meal in no time. When I'm busy and pressed for time, pasta is my reprieve. I'm sure it is for a lot of people, too.
I wanted to make something flavourful but light. After checking the ingredients I've got, I decide to make a cioppino type sauce with prawns. Celery, fennel and chilli are the main flavours of the tomato sauce that I served with spaghetti. A simple mixed leaf salad and breadsticks completed the scene.
Yield: 4-6 portions
600 gms. whole shell-on medium prawns
2 tbsps. olive oil
2 medium onions, chopped
1/2 red finger chilli, chopped
4 cloves of garlic, crushed
1/2 tbsp. ground fennel seeds
1 tbsp. paprika
1 tin of crushed tomatoes
1 tbsp. tomato paste
1/4 c. sherry or marsala wine
1 tbsp. sugar
2 stalks celery, sliced diagonally
1/2 sweet red pepper, cut into strips
1/4 tsp. ground black pepper
1 tbsp. butter or butter flavoured alternative
450 gms. dried spaghetti
Saute the chopped onions in the olive oil until soft and translucent. Add the garlic, chilli, fennel seeds and paprika. Stir for a minute before adding the crushed tomatoes and tomato paste. Bring to a boil and simmer for 3 minutes or until the liquid has reduced and the mixture thickens. Fill the tomato tin with water or fish stock. Add to the mixture together with the sherry or marsala and the sugar. Simmer for 20 minutes.
Prepare the prawns. Trim the antennae and the sharp parts of the prawn head. Peel the body but leave the head and tail intact (keep the prawn shells in the freezer for later use in stocks). Devein.
Cook the spaghetti until al dente. When the sauce has simmered for 20 minutes, add the celery and sweet pepper. Simmer for 2 minutes before adding the prawns then simmering for another 2 minutes. Serve over the cooked spaghetti.
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