Spaghetti with Prawns and Chili

This simple pasta supper is bursting with flavor and color. Enjoy!

1 1/4 lbs. raw prawns
1/4 cup sliced scallions
1/2 tsp. chili flakes
2 tbs. garlic-infused olive oil
1 cup sunblush or cherry tomatoes in oil
1/2 cup white wine or vermouth
1 1/2 cups arugula
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
grated Parmesan cheese, to serve
8 oz. spaghetti, cooked according to package directions

In a large pan, fry the scallions and chili flakes in the olive oil for a few minutes, then tip in the prawns and tomatoes with their oil. When the prawns are just opaque, add the wine or vermouth and let it bubble a bit. Toss in the arugula and stir until it slightly wilts.

Drain the pasta, keeping a bit of the cooking water, and add to the prawns. Toss everything together, adding some cooking water if needed to make a sauce.

Serve sprinkled with parsley and Parmesan cheese.

Serves 4

Beef and Aubergine Fatteh

Nigella describes these as “Middle-Eastern nachos”. It is a subtly textured, richly flavored arrangement of  toasted pita bread with a meaty topping of beef and aubergine and a garlicky tahini sauce. This is meant to be put in the center of the table and shared.

4 pita breads, split oven and cut into triangles

For the topping:

1 1/4 cups Greek yogurt
5 tbs. tahini, at room temperature
3 tbs. lemon juice
2 cloves garlic, minced
1-2 sea salt flakes

For the beef:

3 tbs. regular olive oil
1 small onion, finely chopped
1 aubergine, cut into small cubes
2 tsp. ground cumin
2 tsp. ground coriander
1 tsp. Aleppo pepper or paprika, plus more for sprinkling
1-2 tsp. sea salt flakes
1 lb. minced beef

To sprinkle over:

1/2  cup pomegranate seeds
1/4 cup toasted pine nuts
1 tbs. chopped fresh mint

Heat the oven to 400°F. Arrange the pita triangles on a large baking sheet and toast for 10-15 minutes until crisp.

Beat the yogurt, tahini, lemon juice and garlic together. Add salt to taste.

For the meat, warm the oil in a heavy saucepan and cook the onions, stirring occasionally, over a medium-low heat for 5 minutes. Turn the heat down and continue to cook until soft and golden, about 4 minutes longer.

Turn the heat up to medium, tumble in the aubergine cubes and stir well. Cook for 10 minutes, stirring frequently. Stir in the cumin, coriander, Aleppo pepper or paprika and 1 tsp. of the salt. Add the beef and, breaking it up with a wooded spoon, stir until cooked through, about 10 minutes. Taste and see if you need more salt.

Sit the bowl of the yogurt mixture over a pan of just simmering water. Stir until it is slightly room temperature and has the consistency lightly whipped cream.

To assemble, place the pita triangles on a large platter. Top with the beef mixture, followed by the yogurt sauce. Scatter over the pomegranate seeds, pine nuts and mint. Sprinkle with a little Aleppo pepper or paprika and serve.

Serves 4-6

Pasta with Ham, Peas and Cream

Utter comfort food, this wonderful pasta comes together in moments and is such a divine treat.

7 oz. farfalle or other short pasta (2 cups)
2/3 cup frozen peas
2/3 cup heavy cream
1 1/4 cups diced ham
2 tbs. grated Parmesan

Cook the pasta according to the package directions in plenty of boiling, salted water. Add the peas after 5 minutes. When the pasta is cooked, drain it with the peas.

Put the dry pan back on the heat with the cream, ham and Parmesan. Warm through, then tip in the pasta and peas, tossing everything together well.

Serves 2