A lovely Venetian pasta recipe from Jacob Kennedy’s fantastic Bocca di Lupo cookbook which was shortlsted for Best Cookery Book in last year's Guild of Food Writer Awards.
Jacob writes: While a few other dishes in this book, I am unashamed to say, have been inspired by the inimitable Da Fiore in San Polo, Venice, this one is an attempt to replicate exactly one of their signature dishes. So great is the feeling of discovery when you find a special restaurant serving a special dish, ou somehow take emotional ownership of it. But credit where credit’s due and it clearly isn’t due to me.
Mediterranean prawns - Sicilian red, Venetian spotted or Neapolitan violet-headed - are ideal, but there are plenty of alternatives. Live langoustines would be excellent - in either case, start with about 500g shell-on weight. Second to that, buy shell-on Atlantic prawns, peeled brown shrimp meat, or in the US peeled rock shrimps. Picked crab would be excellent and, if you’re really stuck, 220g potted shrimps would work well too - if you were to omit the butter from the ingredients below.
Serves 4-6 as a starter, 2-3 as a main
120g dried tagliolini or 150g fresh
1/2 smallish red onion or 1 shallot, thinly sliced across the grain
1 medium head radicchio di Treviso (or a small radicchio, around 200g), shredded 3-5mm
200g peeled raw prawn tails
60ml white wine
200ml double cream
4 tbsp freshly grated parmesan
Melt the butter over a medium heat. Add the onion and a pinch of salt and fry for a few moments, then add the radicchio and gently sauté for 4 or 5 minutes until wilted. Add the prawns, then the white wine and let it boil for a couple of minutes until most of the liquid has evaporated. Add the cream to the sauce at about the same time putting the tagliolini in a pan of boiling, slated water. Let both pots boil until the tagliolini are still somewhat undercooked (just over half the recommended cooking time which is already very short) and the sauce just runnier than cream.
Drain the pasta and add it to the sauce; toss together over the heat for a minute until the pasta is well coated by the cream, season with salt and pepper and transfer to a baking dish about the size of a piece of A4 or a number of smaller individual ones. Sprinkle with parmesan and brown the top, either in a fiercely hot oven (on maximum) or under the grill. Serve immediately.
What to drink: Treviso often indicates a red but in this case, with prawns and a creamy sauce I’d opt for a crisp Italian white like a Soave, a Pinot Bianco or a Pinot Grigio from the Alto Adige FB
Bocca di Lupo is charming small restaurant in Soho (tucked away down Archer Street just off Shaftesbury Avenue) serving authentic Italian regional food.