Capellini Pasta with School Prawns

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Fast food in Summer

It’s hard to become bored with pasta, given all the wonderful shapes, names and colours available. Walking down the long pasta aisles of that famous Italian grocery shop in Melbourne is a step straight back into the supermarkets or alimentari of Lucca, Siena or Roma. Even my Italian visitors are impressed. Reading all the names on offer- little beards, little worms, bridegrooms, ribbons and shoestrings, priest stranglers, corkscrews, smooth or lined pens, partridge’s eyes and melon seeds, just to name a few- excites my culinary imagination and sends my mind into a spin. Capellini ( thin hair) pasta is very fine, though not cut as finely as Angel’s Hair, and is the perfect carrier for light dressings or gentle sauces such as seafood. It is sold in packets of nidi or nests which usually cook in around 3 minutes. Fast food never tasted so good.

Some of the main ingredients
Some of the usual suspects

Capellini con Gamberini, Pomodorini e Basilico- Capellini Pasta with school prawns, cherry tomatoes and basil.

Note: there are no numbers or weights given. Choose the quantities that go with your needs. I usually serve 100 g of pasta per person for a main meal dish, but serve less of the finer cut pasta, letting the ingredients have more limelight. Everything in this dish is kept small, denoted by the suffix ‘ini’ after all those nouns in the title, to go with the thin pasta.

  • Capellini Pasta
  • vine ripened cherry or baby Roma tomatoes, halved
  • garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • chilli flakes
  • EV olive oil
  • a few handfuls of local school prawns, cooked and peeled
  • tiny basil leaves, Globe or Greek
  • salt, pepper.

Boil a large pot of water for the pasta and add ample salt. Meanwhile, in a large frying pan, add the olive oil ( don’t be mean as the oil is part of the sauce) and heat, then add lots of finely chopped garlic and the chilli flakes to taste. Toss around for 1 minute, then add the halved cherry tomatoes until the split. Take off the heat.

Cook the pasta nests for the required amount of time then drain.

Return the frying pan to the heat, add the prawns to the garlic oil, toss about on a high heat, then add the drained pasta, the basil leaves and season. Amalgamate while heating through. Serve in warmed large bowls, with some good oil on the table.

School prawns are usually sold in Australia pre-cooked. They come from trawlers at Lakes Entrance, Victoria and are the sweetest prawns available, despite the amount of peeling to be done.

I have set myself a challenge this week: to complete all my semi- drafted recipes and half written posts.There are usually about 10 or more in the queue and most just fall by the wayside. Mr Tranquillo calls me the post pumper! It won’t last.

24 thoughts on “Capellini Pasta with School Prawns”

  1. Delicious! Pasta and prawns are a match made in heaven. I used to buy green Lakes Entrance school prawns at Prahran market, deep fry them in the shell then munch them like chips, heads, tails, shells and all. The best chips to enjoy with a beer.

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    1. Most of my family can’t do the shell thing, despite my attempts at training them. These little cooked school prawns turned up at the market for $15.00 a kilo, fresh off the trawler. After scoffing a heap with aioli, beer and pool swims, the remainder became available for this dish.
      Although I am a keeper of all sorts of by- products, I threw out the shells- no prawn brodo for tonight’s risotto!

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      1. I do mourn for all the uneaten pasta and crusty bread that might have been in my future, but it could be worse. I had two perfectly ripe fresh figs today and that is a wonderful thing 🙂

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  2. You grabbed my attention with your very first words, Francesca, for I could never “get bored with pasta.” My favorite Italian market here has literally a supermarket aisle-and-a-half that is all pasta. Love to see the expressions of uninitiated friends when they first walk into it. And this pasta is one that I know that I’d love. Few ingredients, easy to prepare, and a delicious meal is the result. Perfetto!

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    1. Sounds like you have an impressive Italian market similar to ours. As there has always been a strong Italian presence in Melbourne, these markets are a necessity. Now everyone likes to go along and be a little bit Italian for the day.
      Si`, una pasta semplice e` una gioia.

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    1. It is hard to imagine that Julie. I think if I had to name my favourite vegetable, it would be the tomato- so versatile. Do you grow them just for yourself?
      Yes it was fab chatting yesterday and such a surprise- just lovely. xx

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  3. We rarely eat pasta. Not beacuse I don’t like it and not because of the carbs (ha – what are they?!) , we just don’t seem to have it. Then we do and we’re mad for it. 3 nights in a row! Such are the vagaries of our diet.

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