Not much in the cupboard. Even less in the freezer. It’s crab and prawns with pappardelle pasta.

Crab and prawn pasta (18 of 21)I am a pretty well organised person. Too well organised, some might say. Often, I hear the family muttering of OCD as I arrange neat rows of tins in kitchen cupboards. I must have a list when I go shopping. I like to have it in ‘Notes’ on my phone so I can delete the items as I pop them into my trolley. Nothing left in the note means everything I need has been purchased. However, I have a blind spot. A big blind spot. My weeks’ thinking starts on Sunday (my usual blog post cooking day). As a result, I have everything planned for Sunday breakfast, Sunday’s Family Dinner and for evening meals for the early part of the following week. I do the shopping on Saturday morning. I have a dreadful habit of forgetting to get anything for Saturday evening. If I lived alone, this would not be a problem. However, I live with the Wife….

It’s usually around mid afternoon when she asks, in total innocence “What’s planned for dinner Love?”. I have resorted to “Dinner…? Oh, it’s a surprise.” Some few minutes later, I collect the car keys and bluster some excuse to go to the shops. Inconvenient as this is, it works pretty well. I get put under pressure. The Wife gets fed and there is only a small white lie between us. Last week, the wife broke her part of this unwritten contract. She didn’t ask about dinner. Not until it was too late for me to go and buy anything. I had to think and act quickly. I got lucky.

A rummage in the freezer, fridge and cupboards yielded my ingredients.

A rummage in the freezer, fridge and cupboards yielded my ingredients.

To put together Crab and Prawns in a Hot Tomato Sauce with Pasta, you will need:

  • 8-10 prawns
  • 8-10 crab toes
  • 12-16 small tomatoes
  • 1 tablespoon of tomato paste
  • Good quality olive oil
  • 4-6 cloves of garlic (2 bulbs of single bulb garlic)
  • A big handful of rocket leaves
  • A teaspoon of chili flakes

For the pasta

  • A medium egg and the yolk of a second egg
  • 110 grammes of “00” flour

To make the pasta, combine the egg and flour.

One can do this by hand. I was in lazy form and the Wife was hungry.

One can do this by hand. I was in lazy form and the Wife was hungry.

When combined, use the dough hook and beat for 10 minutes on low. Alternatively, knead the dough on a flat surface for about 10 minutes.

The dough hook is undoubtedly the lazy way.

The dough hook is undoubtedly the lazy way.

Wrap the dough in cling film and pop it in the fridge for a half an hour. Then slice the garlic up nice and small.

Don't stint on the garlic. This is a big flavour dish.

Don’t stint on the garlic. This is a big flavour dish. Note the fine slicing!

Heat some olive oil in a high sided pan and add the garlic. Get a good big pot of water on the boil for the pasta.

My, oh my, that's a lot of garlic. Mmmmm garlic...

My, oh my, that’s a lot of garlic. Mmmmm garlic…

Add the prawns and cook them until they turn colour. This will not take long. Take them out of the pot and reserve.

This cooks the prawns and adds lots of garlic flavour to them.

This cooks the prawns and adds lots of garlic flavour to them.

Next, add the tomatoes, tomato paste and chili flakes. Take some photos of the lovely colours.

I was lucky enough to have three kinds of mini tomatoes in the fridge.

I was lucky enough to have three kinds of mini tomatoes in the fridge.

Add the crab toes and turn down the heat. These are cooked already and only need to be warmed through.

Give the crab a good stir and take more photos.

Give the crab a good stir and take more photos.

The tomatoes should start to break down at this stage. This makes a bit more sauce. Roll out the pasta.

Get the pasta nice and thin. before laying it out on a smooth surface.

Get the pasta nice and thin. before laying it out on a smooth surface.

I use semolina to stop the pasta from sticking. This falls off the pasta in the cooking. I sliced the pasta into 2.5cm wide strips (pappardelle width).

Lovely thick strips of fresh pasta. The Wife will be impressed with dinner tonight!

Lovely thick strips of fresh pasta. The Wife will be impressed with dinner tonight!

Add the pasta to the boiling water.

This bit will only take two minutes. Don't hang around with the other steps.

This bit will only take two minutes. Don’t hang around with the other steps.

Turn the heat up under the sauce. Add the prawns back in. Add the rocket.

This is working out really well. Thanks be to goodness!

This is working out really well. Thanks be to goodness!

Drain the pasta when it is still “al denté”. Add the pasta to the sauce.

Nearly there. There is nothing like fresh pasta.

Nearly there. There is nothing like fresh pasta.

Stir to combine.

A totally gratuitous stirred pasta in sauce shot. It looks lovely. I hope you agree.

A totally gratuitous stirred pasta in sauce shot. It looks lovely. I hope you agree.

Call the Wife in for her dinner….

It took a lot less time to eat than to prepare. Always a good sign.

It took a lot less time to eat than to prepare. Always a good sign.

We enjoyed this with a nice bottle of Spanish red wine. It was on hand and seemed to be a good choice. It was. I can’t remember what it was. I see Rick Stein doing this empty plate stuff on his TV shows of late. If it’s good enough for Rick, it’s good enough for me.

Note the casually placed crab toes to the side. This stuff takes thinking about!

Note the casually placed crab toe remains to the side. This stuff takes thinking about!

The Wife never noticed. She was delighted with the ‘surprise dinner’. In future, I’ll try to have my act together. I can’t get this lucky again.

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  • Disorganised, my eye. Anyone who has cupboards/fridge/freezer that well stocked is the man I want to live next door to come the zombie apocalypse. And I’m awestruck if you really made fresh pasta at the last minute. Mrs B is a lucky woman.

    • The funny thing about the fresh pasta Linda is that the more I make it, the easier it is to do and the quicker it seems to happen. I suppose it is like anything. Practice makes pasta….

      • I’d better roll my sleeves up then.

        • Do. You won’t regret it. The strong flour makes a huge difference too.

  • Ha ha – brilliant, there must have been some serendipity in the cupboard, otherwise you would have been taking the wife out for supper 🙂

    • That happened a couple of weeks prior. She was delighted and I now that when she reads this, I will be back in the dog house. Such is life!

      • You may have to make going out on Saturday a regular event in order to stay in her good books 😉

        • There could be worse things MD.

          • On the bright side you get a night off too 😉

  • The Wife is a very lucky lady! I’d be very happy if himself could throw this together on the hop. Hell, I’d be happy if I could do it! If that’s your idea of disorganised I am never letting you into my kitchen 🙂

    • Thanks Donna,
      I got lucky. That was the last of a bag of frozen Argentinian prawns and the very last of my lovely Kerry crab toes. Without them and the few tomatoes, I would have been in real trouble.

  • Disorganized, my ass. As a great cook, you will always have plenty to work with in your fridge, freezer, and pantry! Beautiful dish!

    • Mimi, I feel you are projecting your own standards on to me. That would be a mistake. I really was blessed with what was around that evening. Still, all the tins in the cupboard were in neat rows. Not that one can eat neat rows…

  • This seriously looks so beautiful and appetizing! very creative. I would be gobsmacked if himself could present me just half of whats on this plate

    • Thanks Mira,
      Very good of you to say so. I seem to be getting a lot of ‘himselfs’ into trouble with this one….
      Best,
      Conor

  • Lucky Mrs B… One of these days, I’ll discover the secret to perfect gluten free home made pasta, and on that day, I will become rich beyond the dreams of avarice and will eat it every night. Sadly it’s the very protein that makes yours so splendidly thin and elastic that makes my insides so dreadfully miserable…

  • Very impressive Conor! You have a very well stocked freezer if you are able to pull out prawns and crab toes. Love that you just whipped up some homemade pasta. Looks to die for!

    • I whipped out the last of both. Please don’t imagine my freezer full with these delicacies. It tends to be the stuff I didn’t use last week and some brown sliced bread. Not very exotic at all!

  • Lucky wife, delicious meal, I would say life is good. 🙂

    • Thanks Karen,
      I suspect that I look after her too well.
      Best as ever,
      Conor

  • You know what Folks…..One of these days The lucky “Wife” really will make a comment or 2!! But for the time being, she’s just going to rub her belly and snooze off to sleep with another smile of contentment on her face….night night 😋

    • I think she liked it!
      At least, I hope she did.

  • Thank heaven for freezers!

    • Yes Michelle,
      It saved my bacon on this occasion. I take it you are back in Gourmandistan at this stage. I hope Scotland was all it should have been.

      • We’re home. And, yes, we loved Scotland. But we’re talking about Ireland for next year if we’re able—so watch out!

        • It will be brilliant to welcome ye, if you do get here.

    • Michelle, I’m saving Conor’s recipe to finally get to using the crank machine you sent. Hope you had a lovely vacay.

  • What an amazing meal! I always love crab and prawns, and then the homemade pasta!!! Yum

    • Thanks Julie,
      In truth, the homemade pasta is the making of this little meal. So easy to do, yet so delicious.
      Best,
      Conor

  • I’d eat any one of your last-minute meals Conor. Wifey was probably not upset by this “surprise” meal at all. It’s a seafood pasta delight!

    • Thanks Kathryn,
      We got lucky with it. The pasta made it.
      Best,
      Conor

  • That looks delicious! I like that you gave the recipe for the pasta. I have both a Kitchenaid and a new pasta machine that is trying to get me to take it off the shelf 🙂

    • Thanks Rosemary,
      I have been getting more and more comfortable with ‘whipping up’ some pasta at short notice. Practise really helps. I was a nervous Nelly starting off. I am not in the very comfortable place yet but, I am improving. Give it a go. What could go wrong?

      • Thanks for the encouragement Conor. I don’t know, I really want that pappardelle. Maybe DHL 😀

  • Conor, I was under the impression you were up for Best Food Blog next week, but now I see just how modish you are (empty plate shots a la Rick Stein) I’m wondering if it’s the fashion gong you’re after? And on that note, will you be dressing as a Flapper for the Awards?

    • The dress code for Thursday has me all agog! I don’t own a double breasted suit. I am thinking of perhaps coming in totally formal attire so as I look like a 1930s film actor.
      On second thoughts, perhaps not. It’s the flapper dress for me!

      • I’m in a quandary myself, Conor. I’ll be coming straight from work (as in sure will you), which limits me somewhat. The last time I attended a Board Meeting in a bustier, it was like they weren’t listening to a damn word I was saying.

  • This looks amazing Conor. My husband wants to load me in the car to drop by for a serving. I was looking at the photo where you add the prawns to the garlic, and I kept thinking what is that thing on the left? What is that darn thing? Then it turns out that I seem to have one of those too. Time for a new wooden spoon Conor! That sure had me laughing when I figured out what I was looking at. Be well ^..^

    • The truth exposed Barb. A well worn, slightly burned wooden spatula. I love it because I have grown old with it and it sits well in my hand while clearing the bottom of the pots. I hate a new wooden spoon. They take for ever to bed in.
      I hope you are feeling good and that your recovery progresses as you deserve.
      Best,
      Conor

      • My husband and I had a go around over one burnt spoon in the kitchen. He won. Feeling better every day. BW…^..^

  • That’s some top notch pappardelle ‘svuotafrigo’ (svuotare = to empty). Unusual choice of wine with seafood, although I can see why it worked with the spicy tomato sauce.

  • Amazing. I can’t believe that your idea of a quick meal because you are focused on Sunday is HOMEMADE PASTA with admittedly quicker seafood and tomatoes, but all so fresh and flavorful. This is a meal that I’d die for. Michelle of Gourmandistan sent me the same hand crank pasta maker that you have, but I haven’t used it yet for fear of not knowing how. You make it look pretty doable. I’m saving this. Also, if you ever find yourself in need of an OCD challenge you’re welcome to tackle my cabinets. I need a professional organizer. Lovely as always.

    • Hi Amanda,
      I’m afraid the OCD only goes as far as my own kitchen. Michelle is a lovely person. I strongly suggest getting strong flour starting out knowing you will fail. It only gets better and better from there. It takes a while to get comfortable with the pasta machine. But, it is so worthwhile.
      Best,
      Conor

  • I am so envious that you have a fridge stocked with seafood! I don’t think that has ever happened to me, good seafood is so hard to get here. But I may have to get some to make this pasta now. I love my pasta roller, it means that even last minute meals where you didn’t plan ahead still taste delicious and look elegant!

    • Hi Amanda,
      I think pasta rollers are like bread makers. They are considered to be a great idea but are rarely used by most. In the case of the pasta roller, this is a pity.

  • When my husband retires, I am determined to start him blogging and let him take over the kitchen. I will only enter it to wash up having being fed. He was a dab hand at cooking in our pre-farming days.
    Tell Mrs B to hold onto you tight! 😉

    • You are a great inspiration Lorna. The kitchen is great fun (bar the washing, cleaning and so forth). She does hold on tight, God bless her!

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