Spaghetti with Prawns, Scallops Tomatoes and Cream

I wonder what else you would do, sitting in a 1908 cottage in Blackheath on a holiday long weekend. You cook. The weather is bleak, chilly, windy and I love it. The kitchen is warmed by an old Kooka gas stove top. I struggle to get the water hot enough to boil on the old girl yet the outcome is truly worthwhile. I first cooked this a week or so ago and it tasted pretty good, but today Stew suggested it again only because by chance we discovered a fantastic seafood and specialist food supplier in the coles car park in Katoomba. So with a bunch of fresh prawns, some South Australian scallop meat and other supplies in the bag we headed back to the cottage for Saturday lunch.

Recipe: Spaghetti with Prawn, Scallop and Tomato in Cream Sauce

Ingredients

  • 16 Green Prawns, peeled and cut in half
  • 10 Fresh scallops, white meat only
  • 500g of good quality dried spaghetti
  • Three small spring onions or french shallots, sliced very finely. I cut them in half then slice them One garlic clove finely chopped
  • One small birds eye chilli chopped including seeds
  • 600g of vine ripe cherry tomatoes or baby romas. (the quality of the tomatoes is a deal breaker in this dish
  • 100ml of good quality double cream
  • 6 large basil leaves shredded
  • Freshly ground black or white pepper

Instructions

  1. Put the water on the heat for the pasta keep it just below boiling so that you can bring it to boil on demand
  2. Heat olive oil in a very heavy fry pan making sure there is a few mm of oil across the whole pan
  3. Sear the scallops on both sides then sear the prawn meat and transfer to a warm dish or some foil. Keep them moving so they don’t stick, don’t over cook them they will finish in the final step
  4. Bring the pasta water to the boil toss in a small handful of seasalt and as soon as it returns to a vigourous boil drop the sphagetti in and gently move it around to keep it from sticking, start your timer (based on the packs directions for cooking time) from the moment the water returns to the boil, this should be around 10 mins
  5. In the same pan you cooked the prawns toss in the onion, garlic and chilli and the whole tomatoes. Stir them to coat them in oil and drop the heat to medium
  6. Gently shake the pan and keep them moving and turning, you don’t want to brown the onions
  7. After about 10 minutes you will find the tomatoes are starting to soften, keeping them hot and whole is a key tactic here
  8. The pasta should just be ready
  9. Pour in the cream to the pan and gently stir together, then add the prawn and scallop meat, gentle stir and let it warm through
  10. Grind in plenty of fresh pepper
  11. Drain the pasta and add it to the pan, or vice versa
  12. Stir the lot together, toss in the basil and another quick stir
  13. I like to serve this on a big platter on the table and let everyone dig in

Quick Notes

Enjoy this dish with a crisp white wine for a weekend lunch. A Sauvignon Blanc would wash it down a treat.

Variations

If you want to really kick this one up a notch replace the prawns with scampi, you can buy totally awesome scampi from New Zealand from most fish markets.

Cooking time (duration): 25

Number of servings (yield): 4

Meal type: lunch

Culinary tradition: Italian

My rating: 5 stars:  ★★★★★ 1 review(s)

Nonna’s Tagliatelle Bolognese – the real deal

Possibly one of the worlds most famous dishes is a Bolognese style sauce with pasta. There are possibly thousands of variations each one claiming to be original. Despite this the basic meat ragu sauce is at the heart of so many Italian dishes including Lasagne. An interesting fact here is that in Bologna the home of the sauce it was never served with spaghetti only with tagliatelle and there are some good reasons why. The sauce itself is extremely heavy and rich if made well and it needs a decent weighted pasta to carry it. The cooking time is long however its worth it, why not start it early afternoon go out and see some art and when you get home it will be ready to go.

This recipe is the simplest thing you may ever cook but it is also one of the most fantastic tasting. It is incredibly cheap and like many Italian dishes it comes from the heart and its great for using left over beef and pork mince. Cooking this takes me on a journey every time, over the simmering process the house fills with the most extraordinary smell that intensifies toward the end.

Ingredients

There is a simple rule here and its all you need to remember, 1/3 pork mince and 2/3 beef mince. That’s it. So this recipe should suit about 4 people. And when you buy your mince please don’t get incredibly lean mince on both of them, choose one and get the cheaper lower quality mince with some fat, this is important. If you are nervous then get the pork mince with a bit of fat.To be honest this is a dish that is asking for cheap mince.

  • 300g of beef mince
  • 200g pork mince
  • A large jar of tomato pasata. (this is concentrated tomato sauce in a large bottle normally about 750ml)
  • One pack of good quality dried tagliatelle, or thick ribbon pasta
  • Good quality parmigiana (parmesan) cheese

Cooking

Cooking this dish requires a sort of trust that despite its simple appearance it will end up tasting fantastic. But if its your first time I will encourage you to try tasting it as it cooks so you can see what happens over time.

  • First of all in a heavy based casserole dish with a tight lid heat a generous amount of olive oil and begin to brown all of the mince. As you stir it with a wooden spoon break up the chunks. Continue to do this until all of the mince is brown.
  • Now pour in the entire bottle of sauce and stir it around, you might like to add in a little bit of water and when you do put the water into the pasata jar, put the lid back on and shake it to collect up all the leftover sauce in the jar. At this point the sauce should be very wet, lots of liquid going on in the pot.
  • Bring the lot to the boil then turn it right down low and simmer. Now when I say simmer i mean very gently bubbling intermittently. If your stove top wont achieve this level of heat I recommend a simmer mat from a good home wares store. If you don’t have a simmer mat then put the oven on 120 and slip the whole lot into the oven with the lid on.
  • And your done, leave the lid on, simmering on the stove or in the oven for about 4 hours. Check it hourly and give it a very gentle stir. I also encourage you to taste a little bit at each stir point and find out what happens. The sauce goes from plain jane to saucy sally over the simmer time.
  • When you are ready to do the pasta simply boil the tagliatelle according the packets instructions. Once its done drain it well, stir through a small amount of olive oil to stop it sticking and keep it warm.

Plating Up

  • At this point you will need to add a little salt and pepper to the sauce, stir it well and taste.
  • Put a good sized, heavy based frying pan on to medium high heat.
  • Slop a decent sized ladle full of the sauce into the pan and it should sizzle immediately. Stir it around to fry it quickly and then drop in a single serve of the pasta with tongs. You will not need oil in the pan there is plenty of it in the sauce already.
  • Toss together and then slide it all into a bowl or onto a plate. Repeat this process.
  • Top with grated parmigiana cheese and serve. I like to put a bowl of extra cheese on the table and let people add more if they like.

Any left over sauce can be frozen and I love to have it reheated on a big baked potato.

Wine Match

Red is definitely the go here, something acidic and low in tannin. I encourage you to take a chance, shop around and find a local or Italian Barbera. You can find a list of Australian growers here or you can order a few online. Take the time to try it, experimenting with wine is as important as experimenting with recipes.

Let me know what you think when you cook it, I will put money on you making it again and again.