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Wednesday, 2 May 2012

King Prawns in a Prosecco & Cream Sauce

Prosecco is a delicious, dry sparkling wine from the cooler, Northern regions of Italy (tipically Veneto and Friuli Venezia Giulia) that in my opinion has little to envy to his more popular cousin the champagne. Italians tend to drink it as an aperitivo (pre-dinner drink) or during a fish meal. A fish dinner accompanied by few glasses of prosecco definitely comes high on the list of my favourite things in life, and it inspired the idea for this dish: juicy king prawns in a creamy sauce delicately flavoured by the prosecco and fresh garlic, with crunchy zucchini slices sautéed in parsley and olive oil, on a bed of fragrant basmati and wild rice. If you are planning to make an impression on a special someone, I suggest you invite them for dinner and make this dish as one of the key elements of your plan of seduction :-)

INGREDIENTS (for two people)

  • 16 king prawns (you can use fresh or good quality frozen ones)*
  • One courgette
  • 125 gr of mixed basmati and wild rice
  • Two tablespoons of chopped parsley (it has to be fresh, dried one won't work as well)
  • A glass of prosecco 
  • 150 ml of double cream
  • Three cloves of fresh garlic (if you can't find it, use two cloves of regular garlic)
  • Two knobs of butter
  • Olive oil
  • Salt 
  • Pepper
* Note: If you are using frozen prawns for this recipe, you can chuck them in the pan straight from the freezer, there is no need for you to defrost them first. 

This dish is very quick to put together and needs to be eaten as soon as it's ready, so ensure your guest (I am keeping it singular here as he/she is supposed to be a special someone, as mentioned!) is seated at the table, with a nice glass of prosecco to keep them company for the short time it will take you to cook them up this feast. 

Soak your rice in a bowl of cold water for 10 minutes, then rinse it well. This can be done in advance and it will allow you to get rid of the starch and ensure the end result is a fluffy bed of rice. Place it in a pan, cover it with cold water, put the lid on and gently bring it to the boil. Simmer it for 15/18 minutes (check the cooking instructions on the packet), then drain any water that has not been absorbed by the rice and leave it to stand (still covered with the lid) until it's time to plate up. 

In the meantime, slice up your zucchini in batons, making them all roughly the same size, so they cook evenly. Heat a little olive oil in a pan, then add in a finely chopped garlic clove and a tablespoon of parsley and keeping the heat low, sauté the zucchini batons until they are cooked but still retaining a bit of a bite (it will only take 5-6 minutes). 

Next, your prawns! Take a large, heavy bottomed non-stick frying pan and melt the butter in it, at gentle heat. Crush the two cloves of fresh garlic (or one clove of regular garlic) and let it fry in the butter for just one minute, then add in the prawns, the prosecco and turn the heat up. Let it bubble for a couple of minutes, while the alcohol in the prosecco evaporates, then add the cream and one tablespoon of parsley to the pan. Let the sauce reduce for an additional three/four minutes, just the time it will take the prawns to turn pink. 

Season the sauce with salt and pepper to taste, then spoon the rice on the plate, arrange the prawns on top, drizzle the sauce all over the rice and prawns and finish off with the lovely green courgettes scattered around the rice. Don't keep your special someone waiting any more than necessary and serve your dish immediately, of course accompanied by plenty more prosecco. 

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