Tuesday, February 22, 2011

family favourites

Given that much of the inspiration for my cooking comes from my family and their specific likes and dislikes, I thought I would start a series of posts titled 'family favourites.'  These are the recipes that we have cooked over and over, time and again (as we often do when we get onto something we love) and despite this we continue to savour them on every occasion. I hope you enjoy them as much as we do!

family favourite # 1 - fresh pastsa tossed with prawns, chilli and garlic

You'll need:
  • Your choice of fresh pasta - our favourite is spaghetti, but angel hair will do
  • 1.5kg green prawns, peeled and butterflied (always use more than you need as you will always lose some to the vultures in the kitchen as you are cooking...)
  • 3 x large red chillies, finely chopped (you can add more or less depending on your heat tolerance)
  • 2 x white onions, finely diced
  • 3 x cloves of garlic, smashed and finely chopped
  • 4 x punnets of mixed cherry / grape tomatoes
  • large bunch of basil, torn in pieces
  • 4 x large glugs of olive oil
  • grated parmesan + a handful of rocket to serve

  • sea salt and coarsely ground black pepper to season

Preheat oven to around 200 degrees Celsius.  Meanwhile, add tomatoes, chilli, onion, garlic basil and olive oil to a large baking dish. Season well with salt and pepper.  Bake in oven for approximately 25 minutes, or until tomatoes begin to break down slightly.  I prefer for the tomatoes to retain their structure but other people like them sloppy, either way works.  It just depends on your own preference.

Whilst the tomatoes are doing their thing in the oven, shell the prawns completely (i.e. don't leave their tails on - I really prefer to be able to dig into the end result and not have to worry about the tails), devain and butterfly. 

Then fry in a wok, with a splash of oil, salt, pepper and a squeeze of fresh lemon.

Remove tomatoes from the oven and stir through cooked prawns, slightly squishing the tomatoes as you go so that the juices ooze out.  Then add fresh pasta to a pot of salted boiling water and cook for around 2-3 minutes.

Meanwhile, set the table and crack open a bottle of your favourite vino - mine at the moment is a good pinot noir from either Tasmania (Australia) or Central Otago (south island of New Zealand). 

Once pasta is cooked, drain and toss through the tomatoes and prawns.  Reserve a splash of the water that you cooked the pasta in to help when tossing the pasta as this assists in binding the sauce and keeps the pasta silky.

Serve with a couple of rocket leaves, lemon wedge and freshly grated parmesan. 

This has to be one of the simplest dishes I have ever cooked.  Surprisingly, it is also one of my all time favourites.  Perfect for summer time, especially at the beach around the table with a large group of friends and family.

All that's left now is to clean up.  Thankfully this is a job that Dora actually enjoys... I know, this concept is foreign to me too but I am not complaining.

I would love to hear about some of your family favourites if you can bring yourself to part with the secret.

Happy eating!!



  1. Sam,

    This looks and sounds delicious! Love all the photos but also enjoy your choice of words..large glugs of olive oil is so much more fun than measuring in tablespoons. And i can always relate to "crack open a bottle of your favorite vino." I think we'll have to try this dish before our summer here in California.


  2. Hello Sam, I've only just found your blog, and I love it!
    My daughter went to school with Anna, and I've been following her gorgeous blog for some time.
    So now I have another one to add to my list. I love the prawn and pasta recipe, and can't wait to try it this weekend.
    Looking forward to your next post !

  3. Yummo, our summer pasta dish involves "Clams" and one big pot - linguine vongole! (oh and lots of pinot grigio!)

  4. We had lunch in the hinterland on Sunday and Dad had linguine vongole - it was delicious!! He preferred a glass of pinot noir, but either would make me happy!!!

  5. Hi Sam,

    I have finally worked out why I was unable to comment on your blog and wanted to tell you that I blogged about this dish over here http://sasseavenue.blogspot.com/2011/07/bits-and-pieces.html

    You have not posted for awhile??? Are you back in W.A.? Hope you are well.