W E E K N I G H T L I N G U I N E
W I T H P R A W N S , C H I L L I B A S I L
A N D C H E R R Y T O M A T O E S
Preparation time: 15 minutes
Cooking time: 10 minutes
Season: Prawns are normally available year-
round, but their peak season is from September to November
450 g prawns
4 garlic cloves
4 small dried red chillies (chile de arbol —
available from Cool Chile Co.)
400 g cherry tomatoes
75 g-100 g Parmesan
400 g linguine
2 tblsp extra virgin olive oil
15 g basil leaves
Place a large pot of water over a high flame; cover and bring to the boil. While you are waiting for the water to boil, peel the prawns and remove the back vein by running a knife down the back of the prawn tail. This exposed the vein and makes it easy to remove.
Peel and crush the garlic with a little salt in a mortar. Wash the chillies and cut them in half. De-seed them if you wish (by doing so you will remove a fair portion of the heat) and chop them very finely. Wash and quarter the cherry tomatoes. Set them aside. Grate the Parmesan and have ready for service.
Once the water is at a rolling boil add the dry pasta and a good dash of salt. If you are using the prawn shells wrapped in muslin, add them to the pan now. Cook for one minute less than indicated on the back of the package.
Meanwhile, pour the olive oil into a frying pan and place it over medium heat. When warm, add the garlic and chillies and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add the cherry tomatoes and cook or 5-6 minutes or until they start to burst and break down. Add the prawns and toss to coat in the tomato mixture. This sauce gives a light coating to the pasta and doesn't insulate with a thick sauce.
In preparation for service, it is a good idea to warm the serving plates in the oven. Wash and blot dry the basil. Remove the leaves from the stems and chiffonade or tear the basil leaves into small pieces. Fold them into prawn and tomato mixture. Drain the pasta, and if you wish reserve a ladleful of the pasta cooking liquid. Add to the pasta sauce and reduce down a bit to concentrate the flavours.
Return the pasta to the pan, pour the sauce over it and toss well. Serve in large warm bowls with plenty of grated Parmesan.