Sometimes the best things in life are the most simple and some of the best dishes are the ones with few ingredients. You don’t always need to slave over a hot stove for hours or need a shopping list as long as your arm to make something delicious.
This rule of few ingredients is a must for pizzas, but also, some of the best pastas are very simple with very few ingredients. Ravioli with burnt butter and crispy sage, simple tomato sauce pasta and even the carbonara has very few ingredients, cream, speck, egg yolk and parmesan.
Now this pasta is not only simple and easy, it is bloody good! The first time I made this dish I had a hard time convincing everyone that it was going to be good, but once we started eating the mmm’s and the m’s and the mmmmm mmmmm’s were flying around the dining table. Success, they LOVED it. We then proceeded to eat so much of it that I really did think I was going to have to be taken to hospital to get my stomach pumped or that my stomach was going to bust open and a fettuccine monster was going to kill us all.
So while I don’t recommend cooking double the amount of pasta required for 4 people and eating until you swear never to eat again, I do want you to try this dish. It’s good!
350g dried fettuccine
1 cup homemade breadcrumbs, I like to use a ciabata or sourdough
1/2 cup olive oil
1 clove of garlic
1 tsp dried chilli flakes
400g prawns, peeled, deveined and sliced in half horizontally and then in half vertically
2 small zucchinis, grated
2 tbs chicken stock
2 tbs dried mullet roe or smoked fish flakes
Salt and pepper
Bring a large pot of salted water to the boil and cool fettuccine according to their directions. Cook until al dente.
In a small saucepan melt 50g of butter and 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Add crushed garlic and chilli flakes and cook over a medium heat for a bout 2 minutes until the garlic is cooked and the chilli is releasing heat and flavour. Pour over bread crumbs and mix well until all bread is coated. Spread an even layer on a baking tray, and bake at 180°C for 10 minutes or until golden and crispy. When ready, set aside to cool slightly then add the fish flakes or grated mullet roe, mix well and then let it remain spread out on the tray to cool completely. You do not want the crumb to go soggy.
To make the pasta sauce, melt the remaining butter and the olive oil in a large saucepan. Over a medium heat, add the prawns for a minute or so just to start to poach, you do not want to cook them through, just have them start to go opaque. Remove and set aside. Turn up the heat, add the zucchini and cook for a few minutes to cook the zucchini. Add the stock. Check seasoning and leave on high to reduce slightly. You don’t want the sauce to be too salty or overpowering as the crumb is full of flavour and if they are both too much it could ruin the dish. The sauce should be silky and buttery and subtle. It will be the crumb that packs the punch.
Once you are happy with the sauce, turn off the heat, add the prawns and toss for a couple of seconds to let the residual heat cook the prawns the rest of the way.
Return the drained pasta to the pot, add sauce and prawns, toss, and serve sprinkled with the garlicy, spicy, smoky crumb.
Hope you like it as much as we do, well maybe not quite as much as we do, I don’t want anybody going to hospital!