Friday, August 03, 2007

Presto Pasta Night #23

For this week's Presto Pasta Night I've decided to prepare a pasta dish I had recently at a restaurant. What attracted me to the dish is that it used Cortecce, which is a pasta I used in PPN #15.

This time it's prepared in a tomato based sauce with prawns and cubes of roasted red capsicums (bell peppers) and spiked with fine slivers of fresh chilli. The result is a dish that is surprisingly light and well suited to all climes.


Cortecce with Prawns, Capsicum and Chilli
[Serves 2]

1 red onion, finely sliced
1 large clove garlic, finely sliced
1 large red chilli, finely sliced, seeds removed (add more or less to taste)
2 plum/roma tomatoes, cut in half, de-seeded and roughly chopped
1 roasted red capsicum/bell pepper, diced into small cubed
200 grams shelled raw prawns

I should note that I used local prawns which for those in the US are called large shrimp.

Remove the intestine and then cut the prawns in half widthways - then partially cut each half along the line of the intestinal tract. Set to one side.

Heat a little oil and a knob of butter in a pan and when the butter has melted add the onion, garlic and chilli - allow this to cook slowly to gently sauté the onions.

When the onions have softened and started to colour, add the chopped tomatoes. Depending on the ripeness of the tomatoes you may need to add a little tomato paste and water to help create the sauce.

Continue cooking over a low heat until the tomatoes break down. Taste and season with salt and pepper as desired.

When the pasta is almost cooked, add the prawn pieces to the onion mixture, increase the heat slightly and toss thoroughly to ensure even cooking. Add in the cubes of roasted capsicum. This shouldn't take more than a couple of minutes as the last thing you want is to overcook the prawns.

Add in the cooked pasta and mix it well into the sauce then serve into individual bowls.


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  1. This is a gorgeous pic, YOU should be serving THAT in THEIR restaurant :) Red color looks very apetizing to me, emphasises the hotness of the chilies...
    And that pasta, honesty speaking, I hve never seen that shape before... BUT! I am not Italian, so I guess my ignorance can be excused :)

  2. this looks wonderful - it makes me hungry and its only 9 o clock in the its good against a cold (me!) with the chillies.

  3. Thanks Zlamushka - i hadn't seen it either until a few months ago but there are so many shapes out there it's hard to keep track!

    Thanks Myriam - the chillies can warm you up from the inside ;)

  4. I love your choice of pasta. You always inspire me to start experimenting with different pasta shapes. I can easily see this dish becoming a staple.

  5. It does look divine. One of my favorite combos. Thanks for sharing with Presto Pasta Nights.

  6. This looks mouthwatering, Haalo!

  7. This sounds delicious! As another take on it, you could also cook it for a much shorter time, skip the tomato paste and water and just let the oil and butter be the sauce with the delicious veggies and prawns.

  8. i love this shape of pasta. they can be a little more chewy than usual but they're perfect for scooping up the sauce.

    i want to go to dinner at your house!

  9. I saw this shape of pasta at the italian market that I go to and have always been eager to try them. Ok, now I am hungry.

  10. Looks like my kind of pasta dish - prawns and chillies, two stable ingredients in my fridge. I would leave the seeds for myself and remove them for my partner. Your looks better than the restaurant version!

    p/s: Happy belated birthday to Paolo. I just discovered your other blog. The birthday dinner looks lovely, and the matching wines sounds good too.

  11. Thanks Truffle - there are so many shapes now it's a shame not to use them or at least try them

    Thanks Ruth!

    Thanks Patricia!

    You could do that Terry but I tend to prefer to cook the tomatoes for longer and extract the richness of flavour from them.

    Thanks Anna - I'll set aside a plate for you! You are right about Cortecce they do have a bite to them which is part of the appeal.

    Hi Rose - you'll have to buy them now!

    Thanks Nora - the restaurant was better since I didn't have to cook ;) It was a great night and the meal was wonderfully indulgent.

  12. This looks amazing! Makes me crave pasta for dinner...

  13. Thanks Deborah, it's always a good time for pasta!


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