Orecchiette translates to ‘little ears’ and are so called because of their shape, caused by the thumb that forms each one. They are rough on the outside so sauce can cling effectively. This simple dish is quick to put together.
100 ml fruity extra virgin olive oil
1 1⁄2 cups freshly grated Parmesan cheese
fine zest of 1 lemon
1⁄2 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 long red chilli, seeds removed, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, crushed
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
handful of fresh basil
16-20 large raw prawns, peeled with tail attached
2 teaspoons ground fennel seed
salt and freshly ground black pepper
200 grams orecchiette
Sauce: Whisk the olive oil, Parmesan, lemon zest and juice, chilli and garlic in a large bowl to form a thick sauce. Season and set aside.
Pasta: Cook the pasta in plenty of boiling, well salted water until al dente. Drain well and add to the sauce, turning to coat well.
Prawns: Toss the prawns with the fennel and season. Heat a little olive oil in a sauté pan and cook the prawns for about 1 minute each side or until just cooked through.
To serve: Fold the prawns and basil through the pasta and tip into a warm serving bowl.
Crisp fried basil leaves make a great garnish.