Linguine al profumo di limone e mandorle from Campania
Since my last post focused on Italy as the country of luuuuurve I thought it would be appropriate to share with you guys one of the courses I cooked for Valentine’s day this year. Valentine’s day has become incredibly commercial, kitsch and above all EXPENSIVE here too, so rather than try to get a booking in an overcrowded restaurant where we would no doubt end up paying over the odds for a less than wonderful meal we decided it would be preferable to stay in, so I put on a huge spread – this was part of it, and was very much appreciated!
I love this recipe because I feel it captures the essence of what I really adore about Southern Italian cuisine – fresh mediterranean ingredients simply combined to produce an explosion of flavour… The zest of the lemon combines beautifuly with the sweetness of the prawns and the creamy almonds, and there is also a delicious play of textures with this dish.
You will need (serves 2)
20 prawns (OK you don’t actually need 20, but it was a special occasion!).
1 clove garlic
1 tbsp EVO (Extra virgin olive oil)
Zest of two large ORGANIC lemons (organic because you’ll be using the zest), and the juice of one of these.
A handful of peeled almonds
A glass of dry white wine
A handful of roughly chopped flat leaf parsley
Salt to taste
This needs to be served freshly cooked or the prawns will go rubbery, so use the time you need for the water to boil and the linguine to cook for the preparation of the sauce.
1. Prepare the water for the linguine
2. Peel the prawns, leaving 4 with their shells on for decoration.
3. Crush the garlic and brown it in the oil. Once it starts to go golden you can choose to remove it or leave it in for a stronger flavour.
4. Throw in the prawns on a low heat and ensure they are well coated in the oil. Once they start to lose their transparency, throw in the almonds to toast.
5. Your water should be boiling. Salt and add the linguine.
6. The almonds will be taking on a golden colour. Now throw in the wine and lemon juice. Simmer for 2 minutes until it begins to reduce. You can help it to thicken by skimming some of the starch off the top of the water the pasta is cooking in and adding it to the pan.
7. Just before you drain the pasta, remove the four prawns which still have their shells on and put to one side. Add the lemon zest and salt, stir and remove from the heat.
8. Drain the pasta. Stir the pasta into the prawn mixture. Serve the pasta with a sprinkling of parsley and place the intact prawns on the top of each bowl for decoration.
Voilà! A Mediterranean recipe fit for Valentine’s day in Italy… or any day you feel like a treat to be honest!
With love, from Italy