Sunday 6 September 2009

Spaghetti Aglio Olio Prawn

I always loved the spaghetti aglio olio from Borders cafe - it's a simple dish really, but i enjoy the taste, more so with the fresh huge prawns the pasta dish usually comes with. Borders cafe is pretty generous with their portions, and I am a sucker for portions. On a lazy Sunday afternoon, I tried to re-create the same dish with whatever ingredients I already have in the refrigerator.


Original recipe yield: Serves 2 as a main course.

Spaghetti, 1/2 packet
1 tbsp salt (or less to taste)
chilli flakes / paprika, to taste
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
Prawns, deshelled and deveined, a handful
2 tbsp basil leaves, chopped (fresh preferred) / OR the same amount of mixed Italian herbs
Red cooking wine, 1 tbsp (optional)
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

1. Cook the spaghetti in boiling water (and with a dash of salt and olive oil) until al dente. Drain and set aside. Run cool water through the spaghetti to prevent over-cooking (this helps if there is a time lapse to serving after cooking the spaghetti and if the other ingredients are not ready).
2. Dribble the olive oil into the frying pan. Once oil is heated, throw the garlic in and saute for a couple of minutes (before it gets too brown). Next throw in the herbs / basil leaves and the paprika / chilli flakes. Stir frying the herbs / spices ensures that the flavours are infused with the oil. Saute for a bit.
3. Throw in the prawns and saute. Now at this juncture, if you are not into using too much oil, yet you find the stir fried mixture too dry, and you happen to have some leftover wine (in my case I had red cooking wine), you can sprinkle a little bit over the mixture and toss well. This helps to prevent the herbs / garlic / chilli from sticking too much to the pan.
4. Add in the spaghetti and toss well. Add salt to taste. Mix well.
5. Serve with a slight sprinkle of basil / herbs and chilli flakes on the top. Tastes better and prevents the dish from looking too dull.


(a) Use larger, juicier prawns if you are a prawn lover. Duh! In my case (because I am lazy and I am sure many of you working women out there are as well), I usually have a packet of frozen cooked (or uncooked) deveined and deshelled shrimps in the fridge for my convenience. When cooking dishes like the tom yum beehoon in my previous post etc (see:, fried rice or any pasta dish, I can conveniently dethaw these prawns to use. Taste wise, it ain't too bad still pretty juicy and (tastes) fresh. It really cuts short the preparation time!

(b) I didn't have basil so I used italian herbs (mixed) which has some amount of basil, rosemary, thyme and other italian herbs for that matter. Still tastes good.

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