Recipe: Spaghetti with Slow Cooked Tomatoes & Prawns

It was the day after my cousins wedding and I was tired. I had had an extraordinarily busy week and lots of rich food, and I found myself craving something fresh, comforting and healthy. My sister and I surveyed our options and thought – take away – as neither of us had the energy to cook. Thoughts of rich creamy Indian food quickly persuaded me that I should though. My tum couldn’t take anymore.

I love staying at my sisters house. It’s lovely to be home with family. They’re amazingly hospitable, even as I laze and graze, and it’s lovely to see my tiny 14 month old niece. There’s also her lovely garden with herbs and salad growing a plenty.

We agreed I’d cook and I surveyed the larder. Prawns, small juicy tomatoes, parsley & thyme from the garden, white wine and spaghetti. Fresh bright flavours, tastes of the sea and comfort. The deal was done.

I started with 8 small tomatoes, bigger than cherries but about half the size of normal tomatoes, they were full flavoured and juicy, a rarity these days. It seems a lot of effort but I skinned and desseded them, I hate spending time over food only to find myself picking tomato skins out of my teeth. Chopped into eighths, I put them to the side to await their fate.

I finely chopped a fat clove of garlic, sauteed for 30 seconds or so, taking care that it didn’t brown and turn bitter. I added the tomatoes and some thyme leaves from the garden, about a teaspoons worth and a small finely chopped red chilli to draw out the tomato flavour and add a little heat. Checking the flavours, it was clear that some balsamic vinegar would balance the sauce and draw out the tomatoes sweetness without it becoming too sweet.

I cooked them slowly over a very low heat for an hour, resulting in a jammy rich tomato sauce. A little too thick, I added a glass of Pinot Grigio from the fridge, unusually medium dry, I worried that it wouldn’t work, but it loosened the sauce and soothed the tomatoes intensity.

The tomato base was ready so I focussed my attention on the prawns and the pasta. I boiled the salted water and put the pasta on to cook. When there was just a few minutes left, I added the prawns, they take very little time, and overcooking them results in a rubbery slug which you don’t want luxuriating in your lovely laboured sauce.

A generous sprinkling of parsley lifted the sauce and added a freshness. The pasta was al dente and ready to be dressed. The sauce had thickened again and benefitted from a splash of the pasta water. A quick and thorough stir of the pasta and sauce and we were ready to eat.

It was everything that I wanted and needed. Comforting, fresh and healthy. I was happy as a clam as I nestled in front of the television and savoured every bite.

What do you turn to in the kitchen at times like this?



Written by Niamh
Cooking and travelling, and sharing it all with you.