The Chili Garlic Prawn Pasta with lemon butter sauce recipe is a deceptively simple but fragrant pasta dish with the citrussy flavors of ripe lemon peel and tart juice enriched with butter that is perfect for a quick meal. The light sauce is thickened by the pasta water, butter and lemon juice.
This chili garlic prawn pasta recipe first appeared in the January 2018 issue of Swirl Mag and was the second course of a three course meal with the theme ‘Covered but Naked’.
The simplicity of the cooking methods as well as the ingredients come together to create a quietly spectacular meal that you wish you didn’t have to share.
The sauce has a creamy quality from the pasta water, lemon and butter emulsification, without using a drop of cream. It coats the pasta without making it heavy and gluey. I have made this Chili Garlic Prawn pasta using home made prawn stock as well as store bought fish stock. The difference is negligible if you use a good quality fresh or concentrated store bought version.
You can use any type of long thin pasta like spaghetti, linguine or fettuccine / tagliatelle. I was lucky to get fresh tagliatelle and used that but you could use dry pasta instead.
The equally simple but very moreish Macerated Strawberries and Mascarpone Cream with Balsamic vinegar is a dessert in same ‘Covered but Naked’ Italian theme. If it’s Winter where you are and you want something more substantial than a light pasta meal, why not try this Cape Malay Sugar Bean Bredie.
Chili Garlic Prawn Pasta with lemon butter sauce
Prawn stock - You may skip this step and use ready made stock
- Prawn shells
- 1/2 onion chopped
- 1 small carrot chopped
- 1 small stalk celery chopped
- 1 bay leaf dried
- 1 clove garlic sliced
- 2.5 ml salt
- 750 ml water
Garlic Chili Prawns
- 750 grams tiger prawns cleaned and deveined, and shells used for the stock
- 2.5 ml dried chili flakes
- 2 garlic cloves grated
- 10 ml lemon juice
- 15 ml extra virgin olive oil
- 60 grams butter
- 2.5 ml salt adjust to taste
- 250 grams fresh tagliatelle
- 500 ml hot water
- 500 ml prawn stock made above or substitute with ready made stock
- 2.5 ml salt adjust to taste
- 1.25 ml black pepper, freshly ground adjust to taste
- 1 lemon juice and grated rind
- 5 ml parsley finely chopped
- Edible flowers and herbs
Making the stock - You may skip this step and use ready made stock
Remove the head and all the shell aside from the tip of the tail from all the prawns.
Add the fresh prawn shells to a medium sized stock pot with the chopped vegetables and aromatics.
Bring the pot to the boil and then reduce to medium low and simmer for 30 minutes.
When the stock is done, strain out all the vegetables and aromatics. Reserve 500 ml of the stock for use in making the pasta and freeze the remainder for later use.
Cooking the Pasta
In a large pot bring the water and stock to the boil and add salt if it tastes under seasoned.
Add the fresh pasta and boil for 4 minutes. If using dried pasta, cook according to the package instructions, until al dente.
Strain the pasta over a bowl and reserve at least 125 ml of the pasta cooking liquid.
Cooking the Prawns
Massage the garlic, chili flakes and lemon juice into the prawn flesh. Season with salt.
Heat the olive oil in a high rimmed pan and add half the butter, then mix together.
Add the prawns to the pan and cook on each side for one minute only.
As soon as the prawns are cooked add the pasta and 60 ml of the pasta liquid then swirl around to coat all the pasta in the buttery spicy broth.
Add the remaining butter, the grated lemon rind and lemon juice to the pasta and allow to cook through. Add the remaining pasta liquid if required.
Check the seasoning and add salt and pepper if required.
Plate the pasta and garnish with chopped parsley and edible flowers and herbs.
- You need at least 500 grams prawn flesh so with the shells it will weigh around 750 grams whole fresh prawns.
- Ask your fishmonger to devein and shell the prawns for you. Use the shells for the homemade prawn stock.
- If your fishmonger does not clean and devein the prawns, do this before making the stock.
- The pasta cooking and prawn sautéing will happen almost simultaneously so it is important to be organized and have everything ready and at hand.
- You may substitute 500 ml ready made fish or seafood stock for the homemade prawn stock.
- You may substitute 150 grams dry tagliatelle, linguine or fettuccine for the fresh pasta.
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