Linguine with Santa Barbara Spot Prawns

I grew up in a mixed Jewish/Catholic family, no big deal really… At least unless you had the fortune of sitting at the table with us for a holiday celebration. Because of my father’s Kosher’s restrictions our menus have always been kind of unconventional, especially at Christmas: no Cotechino, no cold cuts, no seafood, no lasagne… I know, it sounds a bit depressing. As I think about my youth, when my grandfather (he was jewish too) was alive and performing his duties of “Master of Ceremony” during our family’s Christmas Lunch, a few details pop straight to my head: his salmon appetizer station, his smile getting bigger and bigger as he opened one bottle of champagne after the other, and my aunt teasing my father with pork jokes… and my father always getting bent about it. All of it seems so far away now, I live on the other side of the world and not every year I have the luck of being able to return home and celebrate with the side of the family that lives across the Ocean. I used to be the one smuggling alcohol under the table to my youngest cousin to get him drunk, now he has grown old enough to take care of  that specific task on his own… I sincerely miss all those moments, but then I pause and I tell myself with immense joy: “But now I can cook whatever I want to celebrate my very own Christmas”.

As of now only two items made it into the menus that I will be working on this holiday season: my very favorite Pandoro cake and this wonderful pasta dish. No, I won’t be preparing a seven fishes meal, but I will make sure that most of the things I like and my favorite ingredients will be represented at the table. I will try to post all the recipes I will use this year, get ready for a month of continuos food posting to help you make this December and unforgettable and never-ending feast.

INGREDIENTI

Prep Time: 15 min / Cooking Time: 10 min / Serves: 6

1 1/2 pounds of fresh Santa Barbara Spot Prawn, deveined, shells on
2 tablespoons olive oil
3 cloves of garlic, roughly chopped
1 sprinkle of hot pepper
1 handful of fresh finely chopped parsley
1/2 cup of dry white wine
1 (28 ounce) can of whole peeled tomatoes, pelati (blended)
1 pounds linguine, best choice would be an old traditional bronze-drawn pasta
1 handful of fresh basil, torn
Extra virgin olive oil, for serving
1

Slice the back of each prawn with a knife to expose the pulp and set aside.

2

Heat the olive oil in a large skillet. Saute the garlic and red pepper flakes until fragrant, about 1 minute.

3

Add the parsley and the prawn; cook them on both sides until the color turn from dark grey (uncooked) to a vivid pink (cooked), then add the white wine, and stir well until the alcohol no longer has the sharp wine smell, about 1 minute, you don’t want it dry.

4

Remove the shrimp to a casserole dish with the sauce. Remove the shells from 2 prawns and chop into bite size pieces. Stir in the tomatoes and the chopped shrimp and simmer for about fifteen minutes.

5

Bring a pot of salted water to a boil and cook your pasta according to the directions on the box, and, as always, to make sure you achieve a proper "al dente" texture, drain it about 2 minutes before what indicated.

6

Move the pasta in the saucepan and stir in the sauce for less than a minute on a medium-high flame, then move it into a serving platter and organize the prawn on top of it. Serve dressed only with some fresh basil, a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil and one final sprinkle of crushed hot pepper.