This is one of my all time favourite dishes, and there are so many twists on it. Whether I’m at home or eating out at an Italian restaurant I love spaghetti ai frutti di mare or con gamberetti, you’ll find this served with linguine too. So this dish is really one you can make depending on what you have in the cupboard and throw in the extras when you want them!
Key ingredients are:
- Prawns (fresh or frozen)
- Tomato puree / tinned chopped tomatoes or passata
- Olive oil
- White wine, it’s not essential but certainly adds to the flavour
As I’ve said previously I often cook meals for one and this is my go to dish when I want something quick and tasty after a busy day in the office or if I’m home later than normal. In terms of quantities, I use a spaghetti measurer dependant on the number of people and judge the prawns on the number of people and how hungry I am!
Other things you can add to the sauce:
- Garlic or finely chopped shallots
- Parsley or coriander
- Chilli flakes
- Chorizo – this is a great combo with the chilli flakes
Because this dish is so quick to make (about 10 minutes), I always start by boiling the water with a pinch of salt and getting the spaghetti on.
Next, dependant on what you’re adding to your sauce, heat some olive oil in a frying pan. If you’re adding shallots or garlic (or both) add them until they are softened but not browning.
Add the prawns and some lemon juice or zest, followed by a glug of white wine (if you want to add this) and any herbs you want to add (again they’re not a necessity). This is also a good time to add chilli flakes if you want to give it a bit of a feiry kick, which is softened by the lemon.
Top tip: If you only have frozen prawns before you start boiling the pasta water put them in a bowl of cold water and by the time you need them they will have defrosted!
The next part depends on what you have in the cupboard, I’ve often made this with chopped tomatoes but tomatoe puree gives you a smoother sauce so it’s up to you.
Add an adequate amount of tomatoes depending on the number of people (1/4 – 1/2 can per person) or a tablespoon of tomato puree, stir it in and I often add a splash of cooking water from the pasta, this is necessary with the puree and even more so if you haven’t added any wine. You’ll also need to season the sauce with salt and pepper.
Once you’re happy with your sauce and its consitency, add the spaghetti into the pan – the trick I’ve learnt here is not to pour the sauce on to the spaghetti!
Stir everything together and now is a good time to add any extras like capers or chorizo.
Using a spaghetti spoon serve the pasta along with all your ingredients mixed in and top with either rocket or your herbs of choice and a good grind of black pepper on top – hai finito! You’ve finished!
Wine recommendations: As this is a tomato based sauce this dish goes perfectly with a nice light red or a dry white wine.
Red: Why not try a Bardolino like the one I’ve reviewed in blog post A little burst of Bardolino
White: Gavi is a good match to dishes like this, you can pick up a great value one in Tesco for just £6.50