Tuesday 10 May 2011


Pasta can make a hearty and delicious meal in no time. When I'm busy and pressed for time, pasta is my reprieve. I'm sure it is for a lot of people, too. 

I wanted to make something flavourful but light. After checking the ingredients I've got, I decide to make a cioppino type sauce with prawns. Celery, fennel and chilli are the main flavours of the tomato sauce that I served with spaghetti. A simple mixed leaf salad and breadsticks completed the scene.

Yield: 4-6 portions


600 gms. whole shell-on medium prawns
2 tbsps. olive oil
2 medium onions, chopped
1/2 red finger chilli, chopped
4 cloves of garlic, crushed
1/2 tbsp. ground fennel seeds
1 tbsp. paprika
1 tin of crushed tomatoes
1 tbsp. tomato paste
1/4 c. sherry or marsala wine
1 tbsp. sugar
2 stalks celery, sliced diagonally
1/2 sweet red pepper, cut into strips
1/4 tsp. ground black pepper
1 tbsp. butter or butter flavoured alternative
450 gms. dried spaghetti


Saute the chopped onions in the olive oil until soft and translucent. Add the garlic, chilli, fennel seeds and paprika. Stir for a minute before adding the crushed tomatoes and tomato paste. Bring to a boil and simmer for 3 minutes or until the liquid has reduced and the mixture thickens. Fill the tomato tin with water or fish stock. Add to the mixture together with the sherry or marsala and the sugar. Simmer for 20 minutes. 

Prepare the prawns. Trim the antennae and the sharp parts of the prawn head. Peel the body but leave the head and tail intact  (keep the prawn shells in the freezer for later use in stocks). Devein. 

Cook the spaghetti until al dente. When the sauce has simmered for 20 minutes, add the celery and sweet pepper. Simmer for 2 minutes before adding the prawns then simmering for another 2 minutes. Serve over the cooked spaghetti.

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  1. Adora, this is my kind of sauce. I love the simplicity of it but I can imagine this rich in flavor, too. One of the best pasta dishes I've ever tasted was similar to this--my husband and I enjoyed it in Italy during our honeymoon. You've just transported me to that wonderful time with this post. :-)

  2. Leaving the prawns' heads on will make this spaghetti very flavorful -- Good Culinary Thinking Adora! I like that twirling of the pasta on the last photo; getting pretty stylish there hah.:) Thank you for the share. Ray

  3. What a simple yet so flavorful recipe, Adora! Love it!

  4. mmmmm! That sounds yummy good!

  5. Pasta with prawn sauce - one of my favorites - I love your touch of marsala wine here. Great recipe!

  6. Lovely dish....I like the spicy sauce. The hotter the better in our house. ;)

  7. Yummy! The prawns and spaghetti look mouthwatering! Delicious post!! :)


  8. Adora, I bookmarked this recipe. This looks so delicious! My husband is not a big fan of spaghetti, but I'm sure he will say yes for this pasta. I know it! Thank you for the recipe!

  9. Hi Adora, your spaghetti is definitely a YUMYUM! Nice to know u! :D

  10. Can I just stay here and look at these photos:)) Looks amazing!!! Crazy delicious!!!:))
    Thanks for sharing!!!

  11. I love this cioppino style sauce! Sounds super tasty!

  12. It was always a hit...awesome version..love d gorgeous click..
    first time here...very interesting space ..great clicks..
    happy to follow u..:)
    do stop by mine sometime..
    Tasty Appetite

  13. Hi Adora!

    Great recipe. Making it for dinner for a second time this evening. It was delicious the first time around!

    I made a few slight variations to try and pump it up a bit.

    First, I sauté a whole chopped fennel with some salt, pepper and brown sugar. I then used half to cook in the sauce, and half I mix through the pasta to serve.

    I buy whole shelled prawns and peel them, and then use the shells in the sauce to infuse it.

    I also roasted some cherry tomatoes and red bell pepper with garlic, salt and pepper for an hour. Diced the bell pepper very fine and tossed both through the pasta to serve.

    Its delicious! Try it if you feel like a slight change.


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