Every shade of red is often considered the color of passion am I right?! For this reason, I have decided to celebrate my Valentine this year with this recipe with sweet delicious red prawns and a glossy and intriguing beetroot and shellfish sauce.
When it comes to choosing the pasta, I am a spaghetti person so it was very easy to opt for the Spaghettoni del Leone by Rustichella d’Abruzzo. Their thickness gives them an amazing texture when cooked directly in the sauce, even if not fully ‘al dente’ they still retain a great bite.
The beetroot extract used for the dish can be either bought from the store or extracted at home from simply boiled beetroot. If you want less hassle you can even swap it for a couple of teaspoons of beet powder added to the stock.
The sweetness of this sauce is well balanced by the tangy ginger that gives depth and balsamic notes to the dish. I hope you like it.
Preparation Time: 45 minutes
Cooking Time: 30 minutes
250g of Spaghettoni del Leone
1 small red onion
250ml of beetroot extract
80gr of fresh ginger
1 bay leaf
180gr of frozen red prawns
Basil leaves to garnish
1 lemon for the zest
20gr of unsalted butter
4 tbsp of extra virgin olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste
Start by preparing the stock.
Remove the heads from the prawns and peel carefully. Remove the prawns’ intestines by pulling the long black vein along with the tails. Use the prawn’s peelings to create a quick prawn stock. Sweat the chopped onion with olive oil and a pinch of salt. Add the prawns’ heads and cook on medium heat for 5 minutes. Now add the chopped ginger and cook for 5 more minutes making sure to crash the prawn’s heads to release all the juices and flavor. Now cover with water (just enough water to cover the prawns) and simmer for 15 minutes. Pass through a fine sieve and put it back into the pan. (For 250 gr of spaghetti you need about 1.5 lt of stock, but you can also add water if needed).
Drop the spaghetti directly into the stock and cook as if it was a risotto. Add the beetroot extract and stir as you go and add more stock/water if it is drying out too much. Do not season at this time as by reducing the stock will get more flavourful.
When the pasta is cooked the water/stock should be absorbed and look like a sauce.
At this stage dress the prawn’s meat with olive oil, salt and pepper, and a little lemon zest. Mix well and let them sit for 5 minutes outside the fridge.
Remove the spaghetti from the stove and add butter and a drizzle of olive oil, stir, and toss with energy to emulsify the fats and season to taste. Plate immediately, top with the prawns, and garnish with fresh basil leaves and lemon zest.
Recipe by Danilo Cortellini