My pursuit for quick, tasty, and nutritious meals continues – all the more with my new job. Last week, I left home in the early hours on Monday morning, and back approaching midnight on Friday. This is my lame excuse (I know) for being slightly less dedicated to Love the kitchen. Lack of time and infrequent access to my own cooking space is quite a challenge – I am not complaining, really. I have a job I love with great people as colleagues – the only challenge is fitting life in a 24 hour day, 7 days a week.
I first conjured up this dish a week ago, and completely forgot to take a photo… so had to make it again, and what a sacrifice. I can certainly live with this kind of martyrdom, when the end result tastes as good as it does ;o).
The inspiration, as ever, comes from what I have knocking around. As I am away from home for up to a week at a stretch, it is quite difficult to always plan ahead and figure out which ingredients have a longer (and safer) shelf life than advertised. I genuinely hate to waste anything. Rocket leaves seem to regularly outlive their displayed best before date, and last weekend was no exception. Whilst I have regularly used rocket leaves in their natural raw form (typically in salads), used as a pizza topping (Parma ham, rocket, and red onion pizza), I have never tried to use it in a pasta dish (until now) and I really think it adds a new layer of taste to the dish. I am sure that baby spinach leaves would work equally well, should a substitute be required.
Equally (and since making this I did search online) vodka seems to be quite a popular addition to seafood recipes, however the recommendations I have read is to opt for the good quality spirit – and not the one better served for taking the paint off wood. If the price seems too good to be true, it normally is! The vodka certain helps to carry the flavour of the lemon rind, red chilli, garlic and red onion and absorb into the tender prawns as they cook through. Give my Prawn, chilli, vodka, and rocket linguine recipe a go one evening – I am sure you’ll not be left disappointed.
Prawn, chilli, vodka, and rocket linguine
- 250 g dried linguine
- 250 g large tiger prawns, defrosted and deveined.
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 medium red onion, finely diced
- zest of lemon
- 1 large garlic clove, finely sliced
- 1 red chilli, finely sliced (deseeded if you prefer less heat)
- 1 medium tomato, deseeded and cut into small pieces
- 2 spring onions, finely sliced
- juice half lemon
- 50 ml vodka
- 200 ml tomato passata
- 75 g peppery rocket leaves
- sea salt and freshly milled black pepper to taste
- Bring a large pan of slightly salted water to the boil, and cook until al dente. When cooked, drain in a sieve or colander, and cover with the pan's lid to keep warm.
- Using a sheet of lightly oiled kitchen paper, wipe down the inside of the pan to remove any trace of starch or salt. Then, pour in the olive oil, and return pan to a medium heat.
- Add the finely diced onion, lemon zest, and red chilli, and cook for 2-3 minutes until they have started to soften.
- Next, add the garlic and tomato, cook for a further 2 mins, then add the spring onions and cook for a further minute.
- Pour in the vodka, and when the pan's juices start to simmer, add the prawns and cook for 2-3 minutes stirring thoroughly.
- Then, stir in the passata, season with salt and freshly milled black pepper, and heat until the sauce starts to bubble.
- Add the cooked linguine a handful at a time, stirring regularly to ensure that the pasta is evenly covered with the sauce. Warm through for 2- 3 minutes, stirring occasionally then mix in the rocket leaves, followed by the lemon juice, and stir thoroughly. Heat through for a further 1-2minutes, or until the rocket leaves has started to wilt.
- Turn out into a large serving bowl, add another generous grind of black pepper, a drizzle of olive oil, and serve with a large wedge of lemon.