This is another staple in my pasta repertoire and one that I turn to frequently for weekend lunches at home. I posted the step by step tutorial guide for this on instagram last week and received requests from some of you guys for a written recipe, so here we all are!
The sauce for this pasta is so intensely prawn-y and full of flavour. We basically saute the heads and shells of the prawns we just peeled to render out a bunch of prawn oil - and that forms the base of our pasta. On TOP of all that goodness, we've got anchovies (which lend incredible depth of flavour), garlic slices, wine and chilies added into the tomato sauce as part of this crazy, flavour party that's going on. May look like an ordinary prawn spaghetti, it tastes anything BUT..
Go make this for your family this weekend, you're welcome.. or rather, they're welcome!
Serves 2 to 3
60ml Extra Virgin Olive Oil
10 to 12 prawns (heads and shells peeled and reserved)
4 anchovy fillets
2 to 3 garlic cloves, sliced
1 can tomato + fill up half that can with water
1/2 cup of white wine (optional)
pinch of chili flakes (optional)
salt and black pepper, to taste
1. First, we'll begin by making the prawn oil. You don't need all the heads and shells for this recipe so stash the rest in your freezer and make prawn mee or seafood soup stock with it (also up on my highlights here). Heat your oil up over medium in large dutch oven or saucepan and add in about half the shells/heads. Allow the prawn shells to caramelize and turn all roasty. You'll see the oil change from a yellow-green to orange-ish. At this point, you can either strain your oil through a sieve and add it back into the pot or do as I do, and just use a pair of tongs to discard all the bits and pieces of shells. (Less washing up, am i right?)
2. Next, salt and pepper your prawns. Sear them on both sides over high heat in the same prawn oil. If you'd rather skip this step, you can also just add the prawns in to cook with the tomato and pasta towards the end. If searing the prawns, just set them aside once they get some colour. We'll get back to them later on.
3. Over very low heat, add in your garlic slices, anchovies and chili flakes to slowly meld and release their aromas, about 60 seconds or so. If you're using the wine, crank the heat up to high and add it in now, leaving it alone to evaporate until all that's left is a syrupy layer.
4. Add in your canned tomatoes and water. Give it all a good stir and allow to simmer on low for about 10 to 15 minutes.
5. Meanwhile, cook up your pasta in plenty of salted, rapidly boiling water. Cook it 2 minutes less than the packet calls for. Reserve about 1 cup of the pasta cooking liquid - we'll be using this to thin out the sauce later to your desired consistency.
6. Back to your tomato sauce. Now that it's simmered and reduced down to a richer, thicker consistency, you can check and adjust for seasoning. When your pasta is done, transfer the drained pasta into your pot of sauce and over super low heat, stir it around to let it continue cooking, adding in some of the pasta cooking liquid. Continue stirring and adding in the liquid until the pasta is cooked to your liking and the sauce coats it beautifully. If you want it saucier, just add more of the pasta liquid.
7. Right before serving, toss your prawns back in and garnish with whatever greenery you have on hand. This time round, I had some leftover cilantro in the fridge from my 2nd book's cover shoot and I grated over some black pepper. And that's all there is to this unbelievably delicious platter of pasta!