Penne with Prawns, Cream & Tomato

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This is simple and not too rich. I use calvados just because I like the way it turned out once when I didn’t have brandy. The prawns here are not too many — so you can pick them out at the end and serve more to some, less to others. And there is just a little cream, to sweeten things up even more...

Ingredients

  • 40 g( oz) butter
  • 200 g(7 oz) tinned tomatoes with juice, pureed
  • 250 g(9 oz) penne
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 500 g(1 lb2 oz) raw prawns (shrimp), peeled and deveined
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled and squashed a bit
  • 2 tablespoons calvados
  • tablespoons single (pouring) cream
  • 1 tablespoon chopped parsley

Method

Melt half of the butter in a smallish pan and, when it is sizzling, add the tomatoes. Season with salt and a dash of pepper and then cook over medium heat for about 10 minutes, until it is thick.

Cook the pasta in a large pan of boiling salted water, following the packet instructions. Meanwhile, heat a large non-stick frying pan over high heat. Add the oil and the rest of the butter and, when it is sizzling, add the prawns and garlic. Over the highest heat possible, cook the prawns until they are quite bright and the undersides are golden and crusty in places. It is important that the heat is high and that you have a non-stick pan, so that the prawns fry quickly rather than boil in their own liquid. Turn them with tongs and, when they are cooked, scatter them with salt. Add the calvados and cook until it evaporates.

Drain the pasta, keeping a cupful of the cooking water. Add the tomato sauce to the prawns, along with the cream and parsley. Heat until just bubbling. Add the pasta and toss well. If it seems like you need it, add a little of the cooking water to help the sauce coat the pasta. Serve immediately with a grinding of pepper.