When I go out for dinner if there's a choice of restaurant and one of them is an 'Italian' I will almost always go for the other suggestion. This isn't because I don't like Italian restaurants, I do! When we went to Italy it wasn't really possible for us to have a bad dish, but in the UK some of my most disappointing dining experiences have been with 'Italian' restaurants and more importantly pasta. One of those experiences happened recently when I went to an Italian with a group of friends from my old workplace. I may have been slightly affected because a couple of nights before Dan and I made this pasta dish, but the one that I had at the restaurant which promised a thick tomato sauce with white wine and prawns tasted purely of salt and cheese. Which actually sounds delicious now but really wasn't.
So you might be wondering, 'why have you named this post Pasta de Señorita when you're talking about Italians?' And the answer is because this is my fusion Italian pasta meets Spanish sherry and smoked paprika (a food trend I will never let die).
This is one of our go to dishes and you wouldn't believe such a quick and easy dish could pack so much flavour. But with garlic and chilli, tomato and bacon, and sherry and paprika it's a Spanish fiesta of flavour!
Pasta de Señorita
(serves 2 señoritas)
200g wholewheat pasta
160g king prawns
2 slices of smoked bacon
1 1/2 glugs sherry
2 1/2 tbsp parsley
1/4 tsp smoked paprika
2 large vine tomatoes
2 cloves garlic
1 red chilli
2 tbsp single cream
Squeeze of lemon
Step 1. Cut the bacon into strips and fry in a pan without any oil until crispy then remove from the pan. Heat a pan of hot water adding salt to aid boiling and a splash of olive oil. Once the water is boiling add the pasta, cook for the desired amount of time and then drain. I used wholewheat pasta because I like the nutty flavour it gives this dish.
Step 2. Cut the tomatoes into eighths and fry in a little bit of olive oil till the skin starts to pucker. Peel and dice the garlic and chilli and add them to the pan, cook for 1 minute until the garlic is fragrant and then add a good glug and a half of sherry (I use cream sherry as it gives the dish a more rounded flavour).
Step 3. Turn the heat down to a simmer and add the prawns (if they're not deveined you may want to do this first), cook the prawns for about 30 seconds on each side or till pink. Add the cooked bacon, paprika, lemon and half the parsley and stir it all in. Take the sauce of the heat and add the cream and cooked pasta.
Step 6. Stir, serve and scatter with the remaining parsley.
Step 7. Devour.