Last Updated on May 25, 2021
Possibly the best pasta dish in the world – Prawn and Chorizo Linguine.
I can resist everything except temptation…and yesterday that temptation was an indulgent dish of Prawn and Chorizo Linguine, a simple recipe that uses just a few fresh ingredients to make a delicious bowl of goodness.
Saturday mornings for me involve a lie-in, strong coffee and a walk across Kennington Park to Oval where our local farmers’ market is in full swing. It’s a nice bit of routine for a weekend which allows me to treat myself to a sausage or bacon sarnie, browse the various speciality stalls selling organic olive oil, heritage cheeses, doughnuts and brownies and more. And, I try my best to buy my fresh fish, vegetables and meats from there. If I don’t make it, then it’s a walk in the opposite direction to Borough Market later in the week. There, temptation is bound to strike far more seriously.
The fish stall at Oval Farmers’ Market, run by Potter Street Fishmongers is rightly popular. Generally, I ask James what is fresh and local. I’ve feasted on local cod, pollack, John Dory and more, I’ve bought bags of Scottish mussels and handfuls of Dorset crab claws., Just occasionally I’m tempted by the imports though, the beautiful, plump prawns – eight for five pounds, which in this dish is plenty for two. While it isn’t the most environmentally friendly option, you only need a handful of prawns for a delicious supper and moderation is definitely part of the flexitarian lifestyle for me.
Prawn and Chorizo Linguine is one of those dishes that seems to just happen. with minimal effort. I generally have a whole chorizo in the fridge for this kind of moment and the recipe needs nothing much more than a handful of prawns, a couple of fresh tomatoes and 50 grams or so of chopped chorizo.
Linguine, I believe, is the perfect pasta for this dish. It originated in Campania, Italy and is most popularly used to make linguine alle vongole or linguine with clams. Linguine is generally used for seafood or pesto dishes and the ‘little tongues’ – something like a flattened spaghetti – seem to curl lovingly around seafood. If you don’t have linguine, then I’d suggest using spaghetti or tagliatelle for a similar result. The essential ingredients, the prawns, garlic, chorizo and tomato, can be complemented by lemon and fennel as I have done here, by chilli and lime for a zingier version or by paprika, tomato passata and shallots for an earthier richer dish. The best thing about this prawn and chorizo pasta dish is that it takes less than 20 minutes from pan to plate but tastes utterly delicious.
The recipe I am sharing uses eight prawns, 50g of chorizo, 2 tomatoes, a handful of fennel, a lemon and some garlic together with a little dry white wine and some olive oil. And, some good quality linguine. Don’t worry about whether you are using dried or fresh pasta – there are arguments for both. We don’t recommend using tinned tomatoes or tomato puree for this dish, though you could use halved cherry tomatoes if necessary.
Start this dish by preparing your prawns. You need raw prawns but you can use the shelled sort if you prefer. If you have shell-on prawns, then remove the heads, shell them and devein them by running a sharp knife down the back and removing the thin black strip. Leave the tails on four of the prawns and chop the flesh of the others into small chunks (about 1/4 cm).
Remove the skin from the chorizo and chop it into chunks too.
Peel and crush the garlic and finely slice the fennel. Chop the tomato into small chunks. I don’t skin my tomatoes because that’s where all the flavour is, but if you want a really posh version, you could consider doing so.
Once everything is prepared, you can start to cook. If you are using dried pasta, then bring a pan of water to the boil and add the pasta. Lower the heat to a gentle simmer and leave to cook for the time listed on the pan. Once it’s cooked, drain and put to one side, reserving a little pasta water for the sauce.
Now, heat a tablespoon of olive oil in a frying pan. Add the fennel and garlic and cook for 5 minutes, stirring frequently. I like to save the frothy leaves for a garnish.
Once the fennel is translucent and starting to caramelise at the edges, add the chorizo. Add a little white wine and bubble till it has reduced down.
Now add the prawns and cook them for a few minutes. Turn the prawns and just before they are fully cooked add the tomatoes and cook for a further minute. The prawns do cook really quickly and will tend to become rubbery if you add them to the sauce for too long. The tomatoes just need to be warmed through and softened a bit.
By now the pasta should be cooked. Add it to the pan together with the reserved pasta water. Mix well and serve, with two each of the whole prawns on the top of the dish and with any fronds of the fennel as a garnish. If you don’t use fennel in the dish then I’d suggest topping it with chopped parsley or a handful of rocket (arugula).
Prawn and chorizo linguine isn’t suitable for vegetarians or vegans, although you could easily make a pescatarian version by leaving out the chorizo and adding anchovies or even red peppers. Traditionally Italians do not add cheese to fish dishes so we haven’t either, but we won’t tell if you want to do so. Finally, we’ve been asked if this dish is suitable for freezing. We don’t usually bother because it takes a few minutes to put together, but if you wanted to, you could make up the sauce and freeze that to add to freshly cooked pasta. Defrost it in the fridge overnight and then warm it up carefully in the microwave taking care not to overcook the prawns which can easily go rubbery!
Want to try my prawn and chorizo linguine at home? Here’s a printable version of my recipe.
Prawn and Chorizo Linguine
- 8 large uncooked prawns I used tiger prawns. If you are using smaller prawns, you may need more.
- 50 g chorizo
- 2 small tomatoes
- 2 cloves garlic
- 1 lemon
- 50 g fennel optional
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 tbsp dry white wine
- 150 g linguine dry pasta weight
- Remove the heads and tails of half the prawns and the heads only of the other half.
- Peel and devein the prawns, then chop the ones with no tails into small chunks
- If necessary, peel the chorizo and chop into chunks
- Crush the garlic and finely slice the fennel
- Chop the tomatoes into chunks
- Heat a pan of water to boiling, then add the pasta and cook until al-dente following the packet instructions
- Meanwhile, heat the oil in a large, deep frying pan.
- Add the garlic and fennel. Season well with salt and pepper
- Cook over a medium heat until the fennel is translucent and starting to caramelise (this should take around 5 minutes). If you are not using fennel, just cook the crushed garlic for a minute or two
- Add the chorizo to the pan and cook for a few minutes till the fat starts to run.
- Add the wine and reduce down.
- You can keep this mixture warm on a low heat until just before the pasta is cooked
- 3 minutes or so before the pasta should be ready, add the prawns. Cook over a medium heat, turning frequently. Add the tomatoes after a minute and squeeze in the fresh lemon juice. Season with salt and pepper
- Drain the pasta, reserving a little of the water for the sauce
- Add the pasta to the pan, together with the pasta water. Stir well and remove from the heat
- Check the seasoning and serve garnished with fennel fronds or your choice of fresh parsley or rocket (arugula)
Looking for something different to make with prawns? We love these Vietnamese prawn spring rolls – for a great light supper or canape.
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