Okay, I’ve done it a third time now. Yet another Italian pasta (with some Indian influences) graces this blog yet again. This combination of oregano, ghee, chilies, fresh tomato, garlic and prawns is easy and fabulous over your choice of noodles.
This recipe can be made in the time it takes to heat the water and cook the pasta, and it serves four.
1 heaping tablespoon ghee (clarified butter easily bought on Indian grocery shelves)
|Getting toward the end of these beauties...|
1 red onion, diced
2 Thai chillies, chopped
¼ cup dried oregano (buy the good stuff from an Italian grocer)
20 grates black pepper
3 cloves fresh garlic, chopped
2 cups fresh tomatoes, chopped
1 lemon, freshly juiced
salt to taste
grated Parmesan (if you dare)
Your choice of cooked pasta, although I’m recommending the squid ink linguini… Cook according to package directions.
|Play 'pick up sticks' with the oregano twigs.|
Heat the ghee in a very large saucepan. When it’s sizzling, add the onions, and cook till they become translucent and golden at the edges. Some people remove the seeds from chilies, but I don't see the point. I like my food spicy. You can use just one chili if you must, or a half, I suppose. The seeds themselves have to be quite nutritious, right?
My oregano is also a bit contentious. Don’t buy it in those little glass bottles at the supermarket. Go to a good market and buy the best. I prefer the Greek variety, as it’s stronger tasting, and I like it in its natural form, still on the branches. The oregano needs to be poured into the palm of your hand. Rub your hands together over the frying pan to warm the oregano and begin the release of aromatic oils. I try to pick out the prickly stick bits while it's still in my hand, and then again from the pan, as I am able.
|Fresh ingredients are so luscious!|
The chilies and oregano should go in once the onions are golden, and the pepper grating should happen at this point as well. You want to fry the spices a bit, before adding the garlic. Once the garlic is in, stir and let cook a minute or so, then add the tomatoes.
I’ve used lovely home grown cherry tomatoes here, which have a nice acidity. I cut the larger ones in half, but left the tiny ones whole.
Once the tomatoes are in the pan, add the prawns. Whether you’re using frozen or fresh, hover over the pan, stirring to separate them, and flip them as soon as they begin to change colour. Once they’re pink and beginning to tighten and curl, remove the pan from the heat.
Pour lemon juice over the works and add salt to taste. Drain your cooked pasta, and add it to the pan, tossing gently.
Italians traditionally disapprove of Parmesan cheese with seafood, so don’t try that if such a person is peeking at you. Otherwise, if you can sneak it in, do. Again, use only the best, usually bought in a block at an Italian grocer, and grated just before using. Do not buy it in a shiny green can.
Going for the best ingredients is the key to good eating. This recipe can be whumped up in a hurry, but it can be savoured more slowly. Having a nice glass of white wine and a few candles burning would boost the effect. It’s so easy. Why not enjoy?