Prawn and courgette tagliatelle with Pesto Genovese
You may know that my husband is also a keen cook and truth be told, he puts a lot more effort into his cooking than I do my baking. I invited him to share this recipe of a delicious tagliatelle he made after we returned from Tuscany a couple of weeks ago. Don’t you think it’s time he started his own food blog now?
I have always wanted to make fresh pasta but not having a pasta machine always dissuaded me. Recently, I made some before our holiday in Italy to help me decide if homemade pasta tasted better than fresh supermarket ones and more importantly, whether a pasta machine was worth buying. Conclusion? Making pasta by hand takes a little getting used to but it definitely tasted better than those from supermarkets. This clearly warranted the investment in a pasta machine! Imperia is a popular brand so I bought the SP150 model from Italy, lugged it home, only to find out that it was 25% cheaper from Amazon UK! (Note to self – do more research next time.)
This recipe is based on a brilliant prawn, tuna bottarga (cured roe) and courgette pasta dish that I had in Tuscany. My new pasta machine made light work of the dough and as it was quicker and more consistent, the pasta didn’t dry out and cooked more evenly. As I didn’t have any bottarga, I made a pesto to give the dish a richer flavour. The ingredients all take very little time to cook so ensure that you have everything ready before you start.
For the egg pasta
The ingredients for pasta are flour, semolina (durum wheat flour) and eggs. The flour gives the velvety texture and the semolina provides bite. This recipe uses equal parts of flour and semolina, but the semolina can be reduced or replaced completely by the flour according to preference. There are also various grades of flour and semolina, use any plain flour that is labelled pasta grade, particularly the extra fine ‘00’ farina di grano tenero flour. The best semolina is the semola di grano duro but this may be rather hard to find. I used Doves Farm Organic Pasta Flour and Whitworths Semolina in this recipe.
- 100g pasta flour
- 100g semolina
- 2 eggs
- Combine the ingredients and knead for 8-10 minutes – according to Jacob Kenedy’s The Geometry of Pasta, the dough should have as much spring as a relaxed muscle in your forearm.
- Wrap the dough in cling film to prevent it from drying out and rest for at least 30 minutes or just before cooking.
- Cut a third of the dough and keep the remainder in the cling film.
- Roll the dough out into a sheet of desired thickness using a rolling pin or a pasta machine, flour the sheet generously and cut it into noodles. Continue with the rest of the dough a third at a time.
For the Pesto Genovese (adapted from The Geometry of Pasta by Jacob Kenedy and Caz Hildebrand)
Traditionally, pesto is made with equal amounts of Parmigiano Reggiano and Pecorino cheeses but I have only used Parmigiano Reggiano here.
- 20g fresh basil leaves
- 40g Parmigiano Reggiano
- 20g pine nuts
- 40ml extra virgin olive oil
- 5g unsalted butter
- Use a food processor to blend the basil and cheese into a smooth paste.
- Add the pine nuts, olive oil and butter then blend again, ensuring that the pine nuts are not too finely chopped. Season with salt and pepper, and set aside for half an hour.
Assembling the dish
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 clove garlic finely sliced
- 14 tiger prawns
- 1 courgette sliced into ribbons (using a vegetable peeler)
- 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 1 tbsp toasted pine nuts
- In a large frying pan, cook the garlic in the olive oil on a medium heat.
- As the garlic starts to colour, add the prawns when they turn pink on one side, turn them over and add the sliced courgette.
- Cook the tagliatelle in plenty of salted boiling water for 1-2 minutes, then taste to check it is cooked. Drain and tip into the frying pan, reserving some of the cooking water.
- Season with salt and pepper and toss the tagliatelle with the other ingredients quickly. If the pasta is too dry, add 3-4 tablespoons of the cooking water.
- Serve with 1-2 tablespoons of the pesto Genovese, a generous glug of extra virgin olive oil and toasted pine nuts.
Yields two generous portions for a main meal
Photos by thebountifulplate