Tuesday, May 3, 2011

The way to a woman's heart - Chilli and Garlic Prawn Spaghetti

During the Masterchef process we had a few media obligations that we had to fulfill.  Women's magazines, Newspapers and radio stations asking you typical questions about who inspired you to cook, and what is your favorite meal.

One of the common questions was what do you cook your wife when you want to butter her up.  Well my wife and I have been together for 11 and a half years now.  During that time she has seen me develop from someone who liked to cook to someone who is all out obsessed with food.

So it's fair to say that I've also attempted to put together a few fancy dinners for her to celebrate birthdays or anniversaries or to make up for my misgivings that all us men seem to carry with us no matter how hard we try.  It's also fair to say that she has had to consume a few disasters as I work out a new technique or practice cooking my saltless curries.

Now despite the creation of some magnificent multiple course food adventures for which I gave up my creative heart and soul it turns out that a much simpler, more basic meal has become the go to, time to please the Wife, dish.  I'm still trying to work out if it's because it's tasty or because it only uses a few dishes though!!

For the prawns try to buy the ones already shelled.  It doesn't matter if they're frozen or not.  The quality will probably be the same.  Most prawns available are thawed from frozen when you purchase them in any case.

Adjust the amount of chilli to your taste.  A good way to test how hot your chilli's are is to cut the top of the chilli off and lightly press the flesh of the chilli against your lip.  The more the tingle the hotter it is.

Chop your garlic about fifteen minutes before you intend to use it. This allows the oils and enzymes in the garlic to activate providing you with more flavor and more health benefits!

Chilli and Garlic Prawn Spaghetti

Simple food cooked well = Satisfaction

Serves 2
Prep Time 15 Minutes
Cook Time 15 Minutes


3 Cloves garlic chopped finely
1-2 Red Chilli chopped finely
1/4 cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil + 1 Tbsp
200g thawed Prawns
200g Spaghetti
Handful of Parsley
Lemon to serve


  • Shell the prawns if required.  Place in a colander and rinse under cold running water.  Place on some paper towels and pat dry
  • Marinate the prawns in 1 Tbsp Olive oil combined with 1/3 of the garlic and chilli for 30 minutes.
  • Boil the jug for your pasta water.  Use a big a pot as you can.  Pasta needs space to cook properly.  Ideally you want to be able to place 3 litres of water into the pot.  Make sure the water is at a rolling boil THEN add the salt (it takes longer to boil if you add salt first).  You need to add a lot of salt.  The water should taste like seawater.  I use at least 1tsp for every 1L of water.
  • Once the water has returned to a rolling boil cook your pasta as per packet instructions.
  • Place the 1/4 cup EV Olive oil in a heavy based frying pan and put onto a low heat.  Add the remaining chilli and garlic.  Cook very very slowly for around 8-10 minutes.  The idea is to gently cook the chilli and garlic while infusing the flavor into the oil at the same time.  You do not want your garlic to go brown as it will become bitter.

Gently simmering Chilli and Garlic
  • Drain the Pasta and place back into the pot.  Add the Infused oil, garlic and chilli.
  • Place the frying pan back onto a high heat.  Season your prawns with salt and pepper then add to the pan. Cook for about 3 minutes turning once until the prawns are crisp but tender.  Try one if you have to!  Try two!!
  • At the last minute add the chopped parsley. Stir to combine.
  • Add the cooked prawns to your pasta dish.
  • Combine and then serve with a lemon wedge for those that like things with a bit of tang.  

It works really well with Seifred's 2010 Sauvingon Blanc.  I can't promise it will get you extra favors with the loved one, but I can promise you that it is quick and easy, and it tastes good!

What meal do you cook when you want to show that special someone that you care?


  1. Curry! Thai for quick and easy because I can make better than restaurant quality from packaged ingredients (cheat!) or Indian when I have time. I love blending spices and rolling flatbreads, mmm...

    PS can really tell the difference between photos from your iPhone and the camera - which is surprising given the small size of them on the page

  2. Well considering my inablility to cook curry I guess someone in the family had to be good at it!!

    Yeah, Iphone is for those moments where I can't wait to eat it so I just take a quick snap. Should use the 'real' camera more often though!