• Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery

    A couple of weeks ago my father went to a restaurant for lunch and ordered a prawn and chorizo linguine. He loved it so much he asked the waitress if it might be possible to have the recipe. The chef wasn’t quite prepared to give everything about the dish away but was generous enough to pass on a list of the ingredients which had gone into it. And then my father phoned me! Please, he asked, would I come up with a set of instructions so that he could recreate that delicious plate at home?

    It was, of course, my enormous pleasure to have a go and Johnny and I have just enjoyed a spicy, unctuous plate of pasta for supper as a result. Unusually my fridge couldn’t yield a red chilli so I used dried chilli flakes which we thought worked really well, and packed a big punch. Of course, you can vary the amount of chilli according to your taste, or even leave it out altogether. Also, to keep things simple, I used ready cooked prawns but if you would prefer to use raw ones just cook them gently in the sauce for a couple of minutes before adding the pasta.

    This certainly isn’t a world first (these are well tried and tested combinations) and of course I have no idea how close I have got to the chef’s original, but I hope he would be pleased by my attempt to recreate his dish and either way it is a scrumptious addition to my everyday repertoire. Let’s just hope my father agrees.

    Prawn and Chorizo Linguine

    Serves 2, generously

    200g linguine, or other pasta

    ½ tbs sunflower oil

    50g chorizo, diced into .5cm cubes

    1 small clove garlic, very finely diced

    ½ tsp dry chilli flakes (or 1 small red chilli, finely diced)

    2 large or 3 medium tomatoes, skinned, deseeded and chopped

    115ml white wine

    150g king prawns

    Small bunch flat leaf parsley, chopped

    Cook the linguine according to the instructions on the packet, making sure you put plenty of salt in the water. While it is cooking, put the sunflower oil into a warm pan and add the chorizo, allowing it to cook very slowly for a few minutes so that its paprika spiked oils render out into the pan. Add the garlic and chilli and fry for a minute before adding the diced tomatoes. Turn up the heat and when it all starts to sizzle throw in the wine and allow it to bubble away until it has reduced by about half, at which point you can take it off the heat.

    By now the pasta should be ready. Strain it, saving some of the cooking water and add it to the pan along with the prawns and most of the parsley, giving it all a good toss together with some tongs so that the pasta is thoroughly coated by the tomato sauce. Taste, and season as necessary with salt and a bit of pepper and add a bit of the pasta cooking water if it’s getting a big claggy. Pile into 2 warmed pasta bowls and finish with a final sprinkling of parsley.

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