Sunday, May 1, 2011

Prawns al Fresco

Ahhhh, I can feel Summer approaching... 

After about the coldest and wettest Winter and Spring in the Northwest, I am thrilled that the sun has been out and at last, we are warming up.  While I may be jumping the gun a bit, this meal just says summertime eating on the deck to me!

I had this dish at a funny little "Mom and Pop" restaurant with some friends.  He told me, it's the dish he always orders, so heck, why take a chance and order something else that isn't tested and true!?!  I loved it, the flavors were great, sounded relatively healthy and the ingredients some of my favorites.  I also knew it would be absolutely simple to re-create at home...

Even if you start with frozen prawns, like I usually do, this can come together in under 30 minutes, as the ingredients cook quickly and there is almost no chopping.  This recipe also includes ingredients I almost always have on hand; dried pasta, fresh spinach, sun dried tomatoes, frozen prawns and lemon.  Fresh basil could be the tricky one, but I am feeling confident that the plant I just potted on the deck should keep me in fresh basil all summer!

Serves 4
1 bag of fresh baby spinach
1/2 lb. angel hair pasta
40-60 prawns, about 1 lb
2 Tbsp olive oil
2 Tbsp butter, melted
1 Tbsp. garlic, chopped
2 Tbsp. sun dried tomatoes, slivered
1-2 Tbsp. basil
1 lemon, juiced
1/4 cup White Wine
2 Tbsp butter, cold, added to finished sauce

Boil a large pot of salted water for your pasta.  I suggest Angel Hair (Vermincelli or Capellini) as it's nice and delicate and doesn't overpower the other ingredients. Cook the pasta al dente, probably less than 3 minutes!

In a saute pan, heat butter and oil over medium high heat, add the garlic and the prawns. 

Cook until the prawns are almost pink all the way through, add the slivered sun dried tomatoes, juice of one lemon, shredded basil and the white wine.  Add a couple tablespoons of cold butter, and mix in.  If it doesn't look like you have enough sauce, you could add a bit more wine, and/or butter!

This will help thicken the sauce.  Add salt and fresh pepper to taste.

In each serving bowl, add a large handful of fresh baby spinach. 

Top with a portion of angel hair pasta and top with the prawns and sauce

 Top the pasta and spinach with the prawns and the piping hot sauce (which wilts the spinach) and serve.

Other ideas:
  • Add fresh tomatoes and saute until softened.
  • Make it GREEK- Skip the sun dried tomatoes, add kalamata olives and top with feta cheese.
  • You could use chicken, cubed, instead of Shrimp or prawns.

(If you look carefully, you can see a happy face in the dish above...)

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