Sunday, 29 May 2016

Saffron Prawn Linguine

NAME: _Saffron Prawn Linguine
Want an impressive restaurant-quality dish that'll wow your guests?
This one has it all - aromas, flavours, colours, and it's delicious.


INGREDIENTS/UTENSILS:
12 - 24 prawn tails shelled and deveined
1 - 4 carrots (see NOTES)
1/2 - 1 cup peas (see NOTES)
1/8 to 1/4 of a red capsicum (see NOTES)
1/2 - 1 pkt linguine or fettucini pasta, around 250g - 350g
3 teaspoons turmeric powder
2 - 3 cloves of garlic
3 - 4 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp + 1 tsp plain cooking salt separate
1/2 tsp pepper
1/2 to 1 1/2 cups double cream or thickened cream
12 - 24 strands of saffron (see NOTES)
1/2 cup dry white wine
1/2 cup warm water with 1 chicken stock cube dissolved in it (see NOTES)
About 1/2 tsp - 1 tsp grated lemon zest (outer skin, see NOTES)


METHOD:
Start the water for the pasta with the 1 tbsp salt in it.

While the water gets to boiling stage, slightly warm the wine (baby bottle temperature, no more) and crumble/snip the saffron threads up into it, stir, and set aside. Peel the carrots and either shave thin slices off with the vegetable peeler or fine julienne the carrots in lengths about the same as the prawns. Set aside. Cut the capsicum into thin strips about the same length as the prawns, remove all
the pith and seeds, set aside. Peel and mince the garlic, set aside.

When the water boils, put in the turmeric and then the pasta and stir it round to stop sticking/clumping etc. You'll cook this until the pasta is barely cooked. ("al dente" as the term goes.)

Using a frypan/skillet large enough that the prawns can all fit without crowding, heat the olive oil to the hot but not smoking stage. Add the prawns and cook for a minute or so stirring them a few times to warm up all sides. Add the salt, pepper, and minced garlic, and keep stirring and tossing the prawns until they turn pink. Lift them out (with tongs, draining back as much oil as possible,) onto a plate and set aside. Add the lemon zest and the carrots and peas, allow to cook in the oil for a minute, then add the chicken stock and simmer while the pasta is (hopefully) still cooking. Get the liquid in the frying pan to reduce to almost nothing.

Drain the pasta and rinse for a few seconds with fresh running water. Give the pasta pot a quick wipe out and put the pasta back. Set aside.

Add the saffron and wine to the pan and allow this to reduce almost to nothing, too. Put the pasta pot back on medium heat, empty the contents of the pan over the pasta and toss them together, adding cream until the pasta's coated, and add a bit more so there's some extra liquid. Allow to simmer for about a minute or maybe two, stirring gently all the time.


SERVING:
Serve straight away while it's hot. Garnish with chopped parsley is optional.


NOTES:
* The aim with the carrots is to get about the same amount as the peas, i.e. a cupful, of tightly packed strips / julienne.
* Peas, I bought them fresh and parboiled them and froze them so I have a good supply in the freezer, but fresh parboiled peas are good in this recipe too. Note that they'd take a bit longer to cook so do parboil them well.
* I found a sweet dark red capsicum at the shop and it was pretty much perfect for this dish.
* Adjust the quantities of peas and carrots to be around half the volume of the prawns. (PROTIP: Fill a litre jug with water, put the prawns into the water {perhaps as part of the cleaning and washing process} and lift them out with tongs. Now see how much water it takes to fill the jug again, that's how many cups your prawns occupy.)
* There's a cheap version of saffron out there that has fluffy stamens with yellow, don't bother with that. The powdered versions are all cut with turmeric and carrot powders, don't bother with them, either. Real saffron is thin, dark orange to red strands. This recipe needs those.
* You really should use fresh chicken stock that you've reduced by half but I was being lazy.
* Lemon zest. Don't use anything dehydrated, don't try lemon pepper thinking it'll deliver the same flavour as fresh grated lemon zest. It won't.
* Garlic. Fresh is best, local better.


ENJOY!

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