A bright green pesto pasta, adorned with brightly colored red and orange fresh prawns. Not only is this a feast to your eyes, but it is also a feast for your mouth; the distinct taste of the prawns complimenting the smooth pea taste of the pesto, with a little squeeze of lemon juice to give it some finesse.
To make this dish, we used ingredients that were fresh from the local wet markets, ensuring freshness and a good price value. They offer a wide range of vegetables, fruits, meats and seafood, providing both ingredients that are traditional to local Hong Kong dishes, and those that are not. Shopping at wet markets will give you infinitely better results than if you limit yourself to supermarkets, as supermarket frozen foods will never yield the same freshness that you can appreciate from foods from the wet market. They are also normally locally or seasonally produced, therefore not only reducing the cost of each ingredient, but also your overall carbon footprint.
To make the prawns, the shrimp were first washed, then they were beheaded (don’t worry, they were already dead!). We then took off their shells, leaving on the tails, then took out their intestines by cutting the backs. They were then fried with a little bit of oil and garlic, until beautifully red and curled up.
If you really don’t want to go through this fuss, or are too squeamish to handle raw seafood, supermarkets should provide already cooked shrimp in the frozen section. But really, doing it all yourself is 10 times more rewarding.
Pea Pesto Pasta with Prawns
For the prawns:
- 150g of prawns, raw
- 2 teaspoons of olive oil
- pinch of salt
- 1 clove of garlic
For the pesto pasta:
- 150g of peas, fresh or frozen
- 1 clove of garlic
- 35g grated parmesan
- 1 tsp of salt
- 1/4 tsp of pepper
- 2 1/2 tsp of olive oil
- 400g of pasta (penne)
- juice from half a lemon (optional)
- a handful of chopped parsley
- Wash the prawns, then cut off their heads and discard them.
- Peel the prawns by cutting through the back of their shells, then peeling them off, leaving the shells on the tails on.
- Make a small slit on the back and the front of the body, then take out their black intestines and discard.
- Meanwhile, heat the olive oil (for the prawns) in a small saucepan and finely mince the clove of garlic.
- When the oil has heated, place the garlic and prawns in and fry, until the prawns have turned a bright red color and have curled up. Take them off the heat and leave aside.
- Heat a large pot of salted water for the pasta. When it comes to the boil, tip in your pasta and cook according to the packet’s instructions.
- To make the pesto, tip the peas, garlic, salt, pepper and Parmesan into a blender. Blend until just combined, then gradually add the olive oil in until it forms a smooth paste.
- To serve, combine the pasta, prawns and pesto in a large bowl, add the chopped parsley and drizzle the lemon juice if wanted.