Tuesday nights is when I make dinner for husband. Usually I have only 30 minutes to cook something from scratch. For the past few weeks we've been having variations of this idiot-proof but oh-so-deliciouso dish of pasta with prawns and vegetables. It is so quick and simple it may not qualify as a recipe. The most critical ingredient is the ambrosial juices that collects when the prawns are steamed.
10 medium size prawns, cleaned but not deshelled or beheaded.
1 medium sized carrot, peeled and cubed
Some green stalky vegetables e.g. asparagus or French beans, cubed.
Pasta, preferably in a round shape and sized like the vegetables.
1 pc of anchovy preserved in olive oil, mashed (optional)
1. Place the prawns in a shallow (not flat) dish. Steam over very high heat for 8-10 minutes ( I use a wok) Cool it slightly and remove the shell, little legs and head. Cut each prawn into 2-3 chunks. Set aside. Now, the liquid that collects in the dish- Do not discard, pour into a bowl and also set aside.
2. While the prawns are cooking, do the vegetables. In a separate pot of boiling water, cook the carrots and beans until tender but still crunchy and sweet, about 3-4 minutes. Scoop the vegetables with a slotted spoon and set aside. Don't discard the water yet.
3. In the same boiling water, cook the pasta till it is as al dente as you like. Drain the cooked pasta and discard the water. If not using the pasta immediately, make sure to leave a bit of the cooking liquid in the pasta to stop it from sticking.
4. Pour the prawn juices from step 1 into the now empty saucepan. Bring it to the boil, add half a cup of water and the mashed anchovy, if using. Return the cooked prawns, pasta and vegetables to the pot. Stir to mix through. Season with salt and pepper and serve.
1. Creamy: Stir through two tablespoons of creme fraiche before serving.
2. Green: Add freshly chopped herbs.
3. Smoky: Sprinkle some paprika
4. Spicy: Chilli flakes
5. Chinese: Omit anchovy. Sprinkle with Chinese parsley and fried shallots.