Silvia Colloca’s tagliolini with prawns and roasted cherry tomatoes – recipe
Before you file this away in the too-hard basket, let me assure you there is nothing complicated about this recipe. The pasta can be rolled by hand if a pasta machine is hard to come by, or it can be easily bought from delis and supermarkets, eliminating the need to knead entirely.
The sauce is as easy as chopping some tomatoes, mixing them with a few best friends and allowing the oven to do the rest of the work. Then all you need is some juicy prawns and a healthy appetite to scoff this down with gusto.
Tagliolini con gamberi e pomodorini arrosto (Tagliolini with prawns and roasted cherry tomatoes)
2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
2 spring onions, finely chopped
1 garlic clove, finely chopped
1 small handful flat-leaf parsley stalks, finely chopped
12 raw tiger prawns, peeled and deveined, tails intact
150ml dry white wine
Chopped flat-leaf parsley leaves, to serve (optional)
Chilli oil, to serve (optional)
For the tagliolini
400g (2⅔ cups) “tipo 00” flour
4 eggs, at room temperature
Coarse semolina, for dusting
For the roasted cherry tomatoes
600g cherry tomatoes
80ml (⅓ cup) extra-virgin olive oil
3 garlic cloves, skin on, crushed with the back of a knife
1 tbsp dried oregano
2 spring onions, thinly sliced
1 small handful flat-leaf parsley stalks (no need to chop them)
A pinch of sugar
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To make the tagliolini: Place the flour on a board, make a well in the centre and crack in the eggs and one scant teaspoon of salt. Combine using your fingers or a fork, then knead the mixture vigorously for about 10 minutes. At first it will look crumbly, but once your body heat activates the starch in the flour, the dough will change its texture, turning into a smooth, firm ball. Wrap it in beeswax wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
If you want to speed things up, you can mix the dough in a food processor in under two minutes. Process the ingredients until they resemble wet sand, then tip on to a floured board, bring together with your hands and knead for one minute. (Using store-bought egg tagliolini is absolutely fine too, by the way.)
After the dough has rested it will feel elastic and very pliable. Dust your board with semolina, then cut the dough into quarters. Work with one piece at a time and keep the rest wrapped to prevent them from drying out. Flatten the dough with the palm of your hand, then pass it through your pasta machine’s widest setting three or four times, folding the dough into three each time. Continue passing the dough through the machine (no further folding required), each time through a thinner setting until you get to the second-last setting or the sheet is roughly 2.5 mm thick. Finally, pass the sheet through the spaghetti cutter. Place the noodles on a floured tea towel, dust with the semolina and allow to dry slightly at room temperature.
For the cherry tomatoes: Preheat your oven to 180C and line a roasting tin with baking paper.
Place the tomatoes in a large bowl and add the olive oil, garlic, oregano, spring onion, parsley stalks, sugar and two teaspoons of salt. Using your hands, toss the tomatoes in the dressing until nicely coated, then tip them into the tin. Roast for 1–1½ hours or until the tomatoes look slightly sunburnt and are bursting with ripeness. Transfer to a bowl, making sure you collect all the juices – they will make your final dish sing. Discard the wilted parsley stalks, squeeze the soft garlic out of its skin into the tomatoes (discard the skin), then set aside.
Bring a large saucepan of salted water to the boil.
To prepare the prawns: Heat the olive oil in a large, heavy-based frying pan over medium–high heat. Add the spring onion, garlic and chopped parsley stalks and cook for two to three minutes or until fragrant. Add the prawns and one teaspoon of salt and cook, stirring with a wooden spoon, for one minute. Pour in the wine and allow it to bubble away for two to three minutes or until the alcohol has evaporated. Turn off the heat. Add the roasted cherry tomatoes and toss to combine.
To serve: Shortly before the cherry tomato and prawn sauce is ready, drop the tagliolini into the boiling water and stir, then cook for two to three minutes or until just done. Using tongs, lift the tagliolini directly into the tomato and prawn pan, along with three to four tablespoons of pasta cooking water, and stir the tagliolini in the sauce for one minute, or until coated in the garlic and wine juices. Serve immediately, with a generous scattering of chopped parsley leaves and a drizzle of chilli oil, if you like.
This is an edited extract from The Italian Home Cook by Silvia Colloca, photography by Rob Palmer. Available now from Plum (RRP $44.99).