I think I have been making this dish almost as long as I have been cooking and every time I make it it fills me with nostalgia. It reminds me of when Chris and I were living in our first rented flat in London, fresh out of university and feeling like actual adults because we were having prawns for dinner.
This linguine is a staple in our house – we probably eat it about once a month as a weeknight dinner. It’s simple and quick, but just fancy enough to make it feel like a bit of a treat. It is fresh and light, but packs a flavour punch with the tomato, garlic, lemon and chilli. You can use extra fancy big prawns to make it more special if you want, or even lobster. I just tend to use regular king prawns from the supermarket or fishmonger.
The crucial thing here is to have everything prepared and ready and the pasta almost done when you add the prawns to the sauce – the last thing you want is rubbery prawns over-cooking whilst you wait for everything else to catch up.
This recipe is for 2, but can easily be scaled up.
- About 250g dried linguine (or spaghetti if that is what you have to hand)
- 200g raw, peeled prawns
- Extra virgin olive oil
- 2 cloves of garlic
- 2 handfuls of cherry tomatoes (about 200g)
- 1 glass of white wine
- 1 fresh red chilli or a pinch of dried chilli flakes (to taste)
- Zest and juice of one lemon
- 4 sun dried tomatoes
- Sea salt and black pepper
- Flat leaf parsley
Put a large pan of water on to boil and add plenty of salt to the water. I read somewhere that the water used to cook pasta should be as salty as the sea…I have no idea whether that is true, but it works well for me!
Finely slice 2 cloves of garlic, cut the cherry tomatoes into halves (or quarters if they are a bit larger) and finely dice the red chilli (if using). Either blitz the sun-dried tomatoes into a paste, or roughly chop them on a chopping board, smushing them into a bit of a paste as you chop. Finely chop a small handful of flat leaf parsley, separating the stalks from the leaves.
Pour 2 tbsp of olive oil into a large frying pan and place over a medium heat. Add the garlic and stir – keep an eye on the garlic and just before it starts to colour, add the tomatoes (fresh and sun-dried) the chilli and the finely chopped parsley stalks, along with a good pinch of salt and a few grinds of black pepper. Keep stirring over a medium heat.
If your pasta water is now boiling, add the linguine to the boiling water and cook as per the packet instructions.
Once the tomatoes start to soften, add the glass of white wine. It should bubble vigorously and the alcohol will start to evaporate. The addition of this liquid will help to break the tomatoes down a little more. The sauce will start to thicken – you want an almost syrupy consistency with just a little liquid.
Check your pasta – if it is almost done (say, 2 minutes from being done), add your prawns to the tomato pan. As they start to turn pink and cook through, add the zest and juice of one lemon and stir through. After about 2 minutes, your prawns should be pink and cooked through. Taste the sauce and check the seasoning and adjust if necessary.
Once the pasta is cooked, drain and reserve a cup of the pasta water. Add the pasta to the tomato and prawn pan and stir through the sauce. If it needs loosening a bit, add some of the pasta water.
Top with some finely chopped flat leaf parsley and serve immediately.