Courgette and Prawn Pasta with Tomato Foxtrot Bisque

This is the sort of recipe that will appeal to people who do not mind dealing with details and a series of steps.  It is not at all ‘difficult’ but it does require a little patience, and I don’t know about you but I really don’t relish the chore of removing the gut from each prawn but there is no getting out of it, I’m afraid! — hence not the sort of recipe to be tackled when you’re in a hurry-up mood.  That, and it requires very fresh and lovely tasting prawns (frozen won’t do).  Said seafood doesn’t come cheap but because it is spread out into a pasta sauce, you can exercise a little good husbandry and not break the bank.  That is what makes pasta sauces so very ‘democratic’ — the sauce acts like a conveyor of the expensive food item and so the quantity needed per person boils down to being very reasonable. 1 Look at these beauties!2 And here were the courgettes …. le zucchine.3 And here they are at home in my kitchen.4 PART I – Cleaning and trimming and chopping and what have you … 5 The first thing to do is to peel the prawns … and keep the heads and shells.6 Put the peeled prawns in a bowl after you have removed their gut.7 And now it’s time to toast the prawn shells and heads.  Just plop them into a saucepan and turn the heat on fairly high …8 Have some tomato sauce handy …9 Also have some boiling water handy.  So to recap: the prawn shells are cooking, you have some tomato sauce to hand, and you also have some boiling water (in the green kettle).10 After cooking the shells for a few minutes, add some boiling water, enough to cover them say.11 Then add the tomato sauce.   This is not normally how one would make a bisque but then that would have taken far too long.  So I decided that, necessity being the mother of invention, I would invent a new bisque approach. I am calling it the Tomato Foxtrot Bisque.12 Let it cook on a fairly high heat for at least 14 minutes.  I tasted it after a while and added a pinch of sugar and a good sprinkle of salt.13 In the meantime … trim the courgettes.14 Chop the courgettes …15Open the packet of pasta … 16 Get your pasta water boiling … PART II – COOKING 17 Sauté some garlic in olive oil … do not allow it to go brown, just golden.  And then remove it if the sight of it offends you … or keep it if you don’t mind.18 Sauté the courgettes in the garlic-scented olive oil — tossing frequently and only for a few minutes, enough to take the “raw” out of it.  Then add the peeled prawns.19 Cook the prawns for very little … otherwise they end up being rubbery.  Cook them until they turn pink (about 3 minutes?).20 Then set both courgettes and prawns aside. You can start cooking the pasta …. PART III – Bringing the sauce together Just to recap.  The courgettes and the prawns have been cooked together.  The Tomato Foxtrot Bisque has been simmering away, and has reduced by about one half.  And the pasta has been put into the boiling water to cook. 21 Pour the bisque into a large saucepan.  Use a sieve to catch the prawn shells and use a ladle to press hard on these shells, to make them release their juices into the saucepan.  Then, obviously, throw them away. 22 When the pasta is almost cooked — i.e. when it’s still quite hard and needs a couple of minutes in order to become al ‘dente’ — remove it from the boiling water and place it into the saucepan with the bisque.23 Add some cooking water …24 And cover with a lid, turning the heat up very high.25 Remove the lid and finish off the sauce with one last ‘press’ of the prawn shells ….26 Taste the pasta … it’s the golden rule in the kitchen: taste, taste, taste.  And if, as in this case the pasta was still not done … add a little more cooking water and wait for it to reach the precise ‘al dente’ point.29 I added some courgette flowers at this point — it doesn’t do much to the flavour, it was more for embellishment.30 And when I was sure that the pasta was just right … i.e. tasted some of the pasta …31 I added the previously cooked courgettes and prawns.32 I can see that I had added some chopped parsely to the sauce too …33 Toss and mix, mix and toss …35 Turn the heat off.  Drizzle a little olive oil …36 In the serving bowl. The pasta cooked this way is far far tastier because it has been allowed to “absorb” the seafoody scents of the bisque, the sweet acidity of the tomato sauce, the oiliness of the garlic, and the pretty tones of the courgettes with their dash of green.  Oh — and not forgetting the most obvious super-ingredient: excellent olive oil.  It is always amazing to me how a good olive oil can transform any ingredient into transports of delight.37Serve and enjoy.

About myhomefoodthatsamore

Community celebration via food, wine and all beautiful things.
This entry was posted in Basic Techniques, Fish and seafood, Herbs and plants, Primi (first courses - usually a pasta or risotto) and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Courgette and Prawn Pasta with Tomato Foxtrot Bisque

  1. I said this before… it is amazing watching you cook! From the market to the table. Gorgeous!

  2. Karen says:

    This sounds fantastic and I’m sure it was. Oh to be able to buy courgettes with their flowers still attached.

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