Way back before the turn of the century while living in San Francisco, one of our favorite restaurants was Caffe Sport, whose specialty is Italian seafood. This dish is inspired by one of their most popular menu items, “Scampi al’ Antonio”, created by Chef and founder Antonio La Tona.
Our version is bursting with two garlic flavors; piquant fresh and sweet roasted then adds enough cayenne pepper to brighten things up without burning. We’ve added just the right amount of the king of Italian cheese, Parmigiano-Reggiano, to give this white sauce a perfect creaminess and a hint of cheese without becoming an Alfredo sauce.
With this dish plan to devote more time to preparation than actual cooking, so schedule your timing to include advanced preparation of sides and accompaniments or better yet, involve a helper. Before beginning, please read the Tips and Trending section at the end of the recipe for several important hints.
Prepare this dish once and it will immediately become a family favorite!
Fettuccini and Prawns with Roasted Garlic Cream Sauce
Yield: 2 Generous servings Preparation Time: 75 Minutes Cooking Time: 30 Minutes
• 1 Pound Prawns cleaned and deveined but not peeled
• 3 Cloves Fresh Garlic, mashed
• 2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
• One Head Roasted Garlic
• 2 Cups Heavy Cream
• ¾ Cup Freshly Shredded Parmigiano-Reggiano
• 1 Teaspoon Kosher Salt
• ¼ Teaspoon Cayenne Pepper
• 1 Ounce Pine Nuts, toasted
• 12 to 16 Ounces Fresh Fettuccini
Step 1. Combine prawns, olive oil and fresh garlic in a 1-gallon zippered bag. Massage well to distribute and marinate for 1 hour in the refrigerator.
Step 2. While the prawns marinate, roast the head of garlic (click on the link in the ingredient list above) and toast the pine nuts.
Step 3. Squeeze the roasted garlic cloves out of their skins into a 2½ quart saucepan. Add the heavy cream and any olive oil that remains in the ramekin in which the garlic was roasted. Bring to a slow boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to simmer and cook while stirring about 20 to 25 minutes until the volume of liquid is reduced by ¼. During the last 5 to 10 minutes of the cooking time for the sauce, bring a large pot of salted water to boil and preheat the grill to high.
Step 4. Let the cooked sauce cool slightly then transfer to a blender along with ½ cup of the Parmigiano-Reggiano. Pulse until smooth (always use caution when blending hot liquids!) Season with Kosher salt and cayenne pepper then pulse again to blend. Adjust seasoning to taste. Let the sauce stand covered in the blender while preparing the pasta and prawns.
Step 5. Put the fresh pasta into the boiling water and cook for only 2½ minutes until al dente. Drain the pasta and return to the hot pot tossed with a drizzle of olive oil then cover to keep warm while you cook the prawns.
Step 6. Grill the prawns over high heat for 2 minutes on one side with the grill cover closed, turn over and grill for one minute more with the grill closed. Immediately transfer the prawns to a bowl until just cool enough to handle and peel off the shells.
Step 7. Plate the pasta in a shallow serving dish. Reserve 3 or 4 of the prawns and place the remaining on top of the pasta. Pour the sauce over the prawns and pasta to coat and garnish with the reserved prawns, toasted pine nuts and remaining ¼ cup of Parmigiano-Reggiano.
Serve with a mixed grill of summer vegetables (see Tips and Trending). If some of the sauce should spill over to the vegetables – what a happy accident that would be!
Tips and Trending
~ Grilling time for the prawns is based on 16/20 per pound size. Increase the time they spend on the grill if you have access to and wish to use some super-sized shrimp.
~ Toasting pine nuts takes only a few minutes over medium-high heat in a small dry skillet. Toast the nuts stirring constantly only until they begin to brown. Remove the pan from the heat the moment you notice the nutty aroma.
~ If you don’t already have one, get yourself a micro-plane. It is the best way to finely shred hard cheeses like the Parmigiano-Reggiano used here.
~ Please buy or make your own fresh fettuccini for a more pleasing texture and flavorful result than possible with dried boxed pasta. If you do use dried pasta, follow the cooking directions on the package.
~ Prepare the mixed grill during the hour the prawns are marinating. Just toss chunks of your favorite summer squashes with olive oil, sea salt and fresh ground pepper and grill just long enough to get grill marks. Keep them warm in a 200º oven until ready to serve.