Note that after a little prep, this is a relatively quick cook time – not a long, slow simmered pasta sauce. Ideally it should take about as long as a pot of dry pasta will take to be ready, which makes it very light and fresh. Feel free to scale up the pasta quantities/amount of bugs and prawns to make more. Of course, this will lend itself to substitutions and variations – scallops, firm fleshed whitefish, mussels, calamari etc could be added or swapped in, a splash of dry white wine in the sauce with the tomatoes would add a little something special also. Don’t be shy about ramping up the chilli or the garlic, and never skimp on fresh herbs.
4-5 cloves of garlic, sliced
1 long green chilli, sliced
2 spring onions, white part sliced up through the firm part of the green
1 ripe tomato, diced
3 Moreton Bay bugs
1 cup fresh peas
Butter, 1 big nob (hur hur hur)
Approx. 250g dried or fresh pasta
Salt and pepper to taste
Shell bugs and prawns, put shells in their own pan on high heat with about 1 to 1 ½ cups of water and a tablespoon of butter. Allow this to rapidly boil and reduce while cooking everything else. This will form a light shellfish stock pseudo-bisque, that will significantly boost the flavour of your finished dish. If it begins to boil dry, splash in a little of the pasta cooking water to keep it going. If its not reducing enough, try using a larger surface area pan, or increasing the heat. This step could also be done in advance.
Put pasta on to cook in boiling salted water.
Sauté garlic, chilli & spring onion in a little nob (hur hur hur) of butter over medium heat until softened and beginning to colour.
Add diced tomato, sauté for a few minutes until the ingredients begin to blend. Season generously with salt and pepper. When that has all come together nicely, remove from the heat.
Add deveined prawns and bugs into pan on medium to high heat with a little butter, season with salt and pepper. When they begin to lose their translucency, add back the aromatic sauce ingredients and sauté until delicately firm. Adding some of the boiling pasta water a spoonful or so at a time will help to loosen the ingredients and form a sauce.
When sauce has nearly reached desired consistency, and the shellfish is just cooked, strain and add the pseudo-bisque, and stir in a teaspoon or two of butter to enrichen and make the sauce glossy and delicious. Drain the pasta and add to the pan. Finish with a squeeze of lemon and a scattering of fresh, finely chopped parsley. Serve with chilled rosé, crisp dry white, champagne, pet nat, ice cold beer or whatever floats your goat.