Saturday, 16 August 2008

Linguine with prawns, rocket and chilli

I really want to pretend it's summer - that the sun is shining, and that I am sitting outside drinking rose with friends. The reality is too depressing to fathom. If you are of the same thinking then this dish is for you. Linguine are like spaghetti that someone has sat on - long, narrow, flat noodles ('linguine' means 'little tongues'). This combination is about as fresh and summery as it gets, and will, I hope, make you forget that the rain is lashing at the window and you haven't been outside for about a week.

Linguine with prawns, rocket and chilli

Serves 4

400g dried linguine
2 tablespoons finely chopped onion
1 tablespoon chopped parsley
1 chilli, deseeded and finely chopped
200g cherry tomatoes, halved
100 ml dry white wine
250g raw king prawns, sliced in half lengthways
75g fresh rocket, washed and roughly chopped
Half a lemon
Salt and pepper

The Italian rule of thumb for a pasta sauce is that one should be able to cook it in the same time it takes the pasta to cook (at least with dried pasta - fresh cooks in minutes). This is one such dish - that is if you have all the prep work done.

So, bring a large pan of salted water to the boil and add the linguine. Heat some olive oil in another large pan and add the onion. Stir for a couple of minutes over a medium high heat. Season with salt and pepper and add the parsley, chilli, tomatoes and wine. Cover and simmer for 2-3 minutes until the tomatoes have softened (If you don't have faith in your speed you can do this bit of the sauce in advance). Uncover and add the prawns, stirring for a couple of minutes over a high heat until they are pink and firm to the touch. Stir in the rocket and a squeeze of lemon juice. Taste for seasoning.

Drain the pasta and add to the sauce. Toss thoroughly and serve with a green salad. Another Italian rule of thumb is no Parmesan with fishy pasta, but who am I to tell you not to add it if you want?

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