Saturday, 11 May 2013

Bloody Good Chap in the kitchen: Gamberetti al Arrabbiata

Often in life the best things are the most simple, and nowhere is this more true than with the Italian classic, Gamberetti alla Arrabiatta, combining the the sweetness of prawns with the fresh tastes of tomato and parsley. But like all good, simple cookery it is subject to so much abuse be it the use of precooked prawns or under-seasoning. 

It took me many years to come around to the delights of prawns, having been put off for so many year by having them badly cooked. We all know the feeling, when you bite into one and it has the texture of cotton wool, it’s distinctly unpleasant and not one which I would wish on anyone. The thing to remember when cooking this dish is that prawns cook very, very quickly and need very little time in the pan as they will continue to cook in the heat of the sauce. 

I have adapted this recipe from Marcella Hazan’s own but where she uses tinned tomatoes, I prefer the taste of fresh as I feel the former would simply overpower the dish. I have also omitted the garlic for the same reason however do feel free to add it according to your taste, the same goes for the chili. I personally like a bit of heat but don’t feel obliged to follow my recipe to letter should you feel differently! This is, after all, a guide rather than a dictat.

This is a rustic dish and should be served in a big dish with plenty of chopped parsley and slices of warm, crusty bread to mop up the pan juices! 


500-600g King Prawns (shelled) 
Generous glug of olive oil
2 large shallot finely chopped
5 plum tomatoes roughly chopped
2 red chili sliced
Generous handful shredded parsley
Seasoning to taste

  1. Heat oil in a frying pan over a medium heat
  2. Sweat the shallots until golden and translucent
  3. Add tomatoes, chili and parsley and simmer for 20 minutes
  4. Add prawns and cook for 1- 1.5 minutes.
  5. Empty into a tasteful china dish and garnish with salt, pepper and a sprinkle of parsley.
  6. Serve to well-sauced guests! 

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