Yes, it sounds strange. And wrong. For all your life, you’ve been taught that fish and cheese is not a good marriage. And when it comes to something so delicate and unique as prawns, it gets even worst. No cheese, no cream, no butter. Nothing but extra virgin olive oil, maybe some lemon zest and – if you’re very brave – some basil or parsley.
But since cooking is all a matter of bravery and a touch of recklessness, today I want to break all the rules. Yes, I’m going to use prawns AND cheese. In the same dish. Try to stop me if you can.
It’s a rainy morning in Venice, and the fish seller has a wonderful variety of shellfish. Prawns are among my favorite kinds of crustaceans, so I’ve decided to buy some of them. I’m going to meet my dear friend Sara for lunch. I think that prawns are the perfect ingredient for two gourmandes as we are.
The secret of this simple pasta dish is balance. Prawns are sweet and salty at the same time, so you’ll need a sour element – but not too sour to balance their flavor. Datterini tomatoes confit play this role. They give a touch of sourness to the dish, still keeping their sweetness. For the creamy side, I’ve decided to use stracciatella. This cheese has a very mild flavor and an interesting texture – imagine strands of mozzarella soaked in cream. Yes, it’s THAT good.
You’ll love it. Plus, it’s the perfect dish if you want to stun your guests with almost no effort. In fact, you can prepare the basic ingredients in advance, then put together the dish at the last moment.
Spaghetti with Stracciatella, Datterini Confit and Prawn Tartare (4 servings)
4oo gr. spaghetti
250 gr. Datterini tomatoes
250 gr. Stracciatella cheese
extra virgin olive oil
1 tbsp of colatura di alici (optional)
LET’S DO IT!
First of all, let’s prepare the datterini tomatoes. The confit technique takes time. You can cook them in advance, even the day before. Cut them in half and place them on a baking tray, with the cut side on top. Sprinkle them with fresh thyme, sea salt, sugar, black pepper and some drops of oil. Bake them at 120° (248°F) for about two hours, or unless they are dried out.
Now it’s time to clean the prawns. Remove the shells and the heads by pulling and twisting. Use a sharp knife to create a slit down the back of the prawns to remove the vein. Clean them with a dry paper towel and cut them thinly to have a nice tartare. Season the prawn tartare with black pepper, olive oil and some lemon zest. Add some salt, if needed.
Bring the water to a boil, then add a tbsp of salt and the pasta. Cook the spaghetti following the instructions on the package, keeping them al dente. When they’re ready, drain them and cream them in a large pan with some oil and a tbsp of colatura di alici. Add the datterini tomatoes and keep stirring. Now you’re ready to serve.
Create a nest on the plate with the spaghetti. Put a tbsp of stracciatella cheese inside each nest, then add a tbsp of prawn tartare. You can give a final touch by adding some black pepper, lemon zest and some drops of the best extra virgin olive oil you can find!