There’s nothing like a big steaming bowl of pasta to lift up your spirits on a boorish day. It’s what I love most about Italian food- simple ingredients create rich, robust flavours. Every time I make the sauce for this recipe, I feel warm and fuzzy inside. For those thirty odd minutes, life is in perfect balance and I’m in my happy place. This dish is great for big family dinners (including a very hungry friend in my case :P), or just comfort food for when you’re alone!
HERE’S WHAT YOU’LL NEED:
- Spaghetti (About 750 gm)
- Tomatoes (canned works too)
- Large or medium sized Shrimp/ Prawns (Appx. 150 gms)
- A heaping teaspoon of tomato paste
- A glass of white wine
- A handful of olives
- Capers (a teaspoon)
- Basil (I didn’t have fresh, so used dry)
- Chili flakes (to taste)
- 3 fat cloves of garlic
- Freshly ground black pepper
Into a large skillet add in chopped garlic and chili flakes to your taste. Swirl the garlic around, until each speck is a light golden hue. Stir in a heaping teaspoon of tomato paste and let it caramelize into a deep, rich, red. You can add the olives now; cooking them for longer intensifies the flavour of the sauce.
Next, pour in a glass of white wine, de-glazing the pan and reduce by half. This burns out the alcohol. Once the liquid has reduced, add in the capers and tomatoes. Season generously and cover with a lid.
Let the sauce bubble away for about fifteen minutes or so until the flavours meld into each other.
During this time you can put your pasta to boil, following the directions on the package. Make sure you keep tasting and adjusting your seasoning. When you feel like the sauce is nearly done, throw in a bunch of fresh coarsely chopped basil and stir through. In a separate pan, fry off the prawns in a knob of butter. They shouldn’t take more than a minute to be perfectly plump and juicy.
At this point you can bet that your house will probably be filled with the mouth-watering aromas wafting from your kitchen. Swirl a generous heap of spaghetti with a large ladle full of sauce. Every single strand should be coated and glistening. If you’ve got family who’re a bit skittish about seafood, place your prawns/shrimp in and around the pasta. (I’ve got a little brother who gets a squeamish expression when I mention any kind of fish) Otherwise, feel free to stir the prawns right into your sauce before serving. It really intensifies the flavour!
Sprinkle some fresh basil over the top (or dried if like me, you can’t seem to find any).
Et voilà! Bon Appétite!