People often ask me which countries cuisine is most like Japanese. My answer is always Italian. Both cultures keep a close eye on seasonal offerings, have a firm grasp of regionality and are inspired to cook from quality produce. As a professional chef I have worked in both Japanese and Italian kitchens, and for me a meal always starts at the markets.
Although it is not ideal to visit the Sydney fish markets on Easter Saturday I did manage to buy 6 of the best green tiger prawns I have found in over 20 years. A shipment of fresh QLD calamari had just arrived so we had the beginnings of a great meal.
Here is my recipe for Chilli Prawn and Calamari Tagliatelle told in the Italian way.
Pasta Recipe: Chilli Prawn & Calamari Tagliatelle
Preparation time: 10 minutes
Equipment: Oigen cast iron pot
Clean the prawns and calamari and get a pot of water on for the pasta. Take 3-4 chillies and some coriander from the garden and dice some garlic.
Add diced coriander stems to the garlic and the leaves in a separate bowl. Slice some tomato flesh and open and open a dry white from the North Country.
Slice the chillies seeds and all but make sure you don’t go to the bathroom until after washing your hands.
Cook the pasta and rinse lightly to cool slightly. Toss with a little olive oil and set aside.
Put a generous amount of good olive oil in a heavy pot. I use a cast iron nabe pot to cook all my pasta at home, it’s the best and that’s why I use it everyday.
Add garlic and coriander stems followed closely by the seafood. Add the tomato and some salt and cook until the prawns just change colour.
Add a splash of wine, yes the one you will be drinking – there is no such thing as ‘cooking wine’.
Add chillies, coriander leaves and a little more olive oil and cook for 15 seconds more. Divide the seafood evenly into two bowls and set aside (we don’t want arguments). Throw the pasta into the cast iron pot with another splash of olive oil and salt.
Toss the pasta in the pan juices and transfer to two pasta bowls. Top with the seafood and a little more olive oil.
Lunch is served.