Monday, July 16, 2012

Angel Hair Pasta with Shrimp and Roasted Tomato Sauce

There is something about a classic Italian tomato sauce that just wows me, but ever since I had that first taste of authentic Italian pasta cooked right in the heart of Pisa, I have not been able to get that same beautiful taste here.

Don't get me wrong, there are some wonderful Italian pasta places to go to here, including my favorite Pietro's, but restaurants here still tend to use canned tomato pastes and purees instead of making tomato paste from scratch.

And I have also shared some tomato based pastas using fresh tomatoes, but still, I was looking for my holy grail of tomato sauces. And after quite a fair bit of experimenting, I think I found my special tomato recipe.

It actually makes use of roasted tomatoes, and the flavors of roasted tomatoes are just so incredible, I wondered why I never thought of that before.

To begin, chop a couple of full tomatoes into cubes, about an eight of a tomato size. Season generously with olive oil and salt. Salt will bring out the flavor of the tomatoes really well.

In an oven of about 140 deg C, roast the tomatoes for at least an hour, preferably, an hour and a half until they wilt. You will be able to smell the beautiful roasted tomato aroma as they cook.

In another pan, cook about a dozen regular prawn heads until they are wonderfully aromatic and add in a knob of butter. Strain the prawn oil and set aside.

Chop the peeled prawns into cubes and cook the prawns for about a minute or so in the same pan that will still have the residue oil and add in some chopped basil for a nice aromatic.

Remove the shrimp and set aside. Chop some garlic and cook the garlic until they are fragrant. Add in the roasted tomatoes until they are soft and melt into the pan to make a sauce.

Add in some chicken and prawn stock and let it reduce for a few minutes. Add in some basil butter to emulsify the sauce and give it a nice texture. Next, put back the cooked shrimp and mix.

To finish the sauce, add in some grated parmesan and freshly chopped basil and turn off the heat. Add in the angel hair pasta and toss to mix well with the roasted tomato mixture.

To plate, simply place the angel hair pasta into a nice serving plate and garnish with some parmesan and a basil leaf or two.

There you have it. A tomato based pasta that is close to how I remember when I had it in Italy more than a decade ago. It will be surprisingly and naturally sweet without the tangy and acidic tomato flavors you get outside in restaurants.

Deliciously yummy!


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