Orecchiette con Gamberi

I won’t bore you with how lovely this pasta is, and how easy it is to prepare; all I can say is, if you have a supply of my tomato sauce; which doesn’t take long to prepare, in your freezer: from start to finish this recipe will only take about 30 minutes.

My tomato sauce – you will only need about 2 – 3 tbsp.

First, finely chop 1 brown onion, 1 stick of celery and 2 cloves of garlic. Soften over a low heat in about 2 tbsp. butter – not olive oil! This makes the sauce gentler and sweeter which is what I want. When soft, but not brown, add 2 – 3 anchovy fillets. Cook slowly until they melt into the onion mix. You won’t taste the anchovies, they just add a little ‘something’. Add a 400 g tin of crushed tomatoes and 1 fresh bay leaf and slowly cook until the sauce is thick. Season with sea salt flakes and freshly ground pepper, remove bay leaf and puree in food processor.

This sauce also works well to enhance other dishes. For example, a beetroot risotto served with a grilled duck breast. Just add 1/4 to 1/3 cup to the beetroot mix, it gives it another dimension and adds complexity.

This will serve 2 – 3 people.

  • 200g Orecchiette pasta
  • 500g large prawns
  • 2 – 3tbsp tomato sauce
  • a few strands saffron
  • grated rind and juice of 1/2 lemon
  • grated rind and juice of 1/2 orange
  • 1 clove garlic finely chopped
  • very good extra virgin olive oil

Bring a large pot of water to the boil. Shell prawns and cut into 3 pieces. Each piece should be slightly bigger than the orecchiette. The aim is after cooking, the pasta and prawns will be roughly the same size. Salt your cooking water and add a little olive oil. When boiling, throw in your pasta and stir. Just before it is ready, about 10 minutes; take out ¼ cup of the cooking water and add the saffron to it. Drain pasta in colander. Put about 3 tbsp olive oil into the pot, heat and throw in the prawns. Toss over a medium heat and add garlic cooking just a minute or two. Add pasta, saffron water, tomato sauce, lemon and orange juices, and rind. This will take only a minute to come together and the sauce will thicken. Season with sea salt and pepper and drizzle with olive oil as you serve.

Eat quickly and enjoy.