Friday, August 28, 2009

Angel Hair Nicoise

The first cookbook I ever bought was 10 years ago, nearly to the day. I almost wish I kept the receipt, tucked behind the back jacket flap of the book just for times like this- when I'd like to know exactly the day my life changed. Donna Hay's New Food Fast patiently taught me to cook and it's still my go to cookbook.

Donna Hay is one of the better-known names in the food biz. She's a best-selling cookbook author, food magazine editor and food stylist renowned for her fresh style, easy-to-follow recipes and amazing photography. Whenever I don't know what to make for dinner, and am feeling a little low on inspiration, I take this book off the shelf, open it to any page, and I'm taken care of.

My friend Jamie came over for dinner last night. We wanted a home-cooked meal but didn't know what. After a quick scan, I settled on a recipe I hadn't made yet. It feels good to think that this isn't a risky choice anymore. Ten years ago, maybe. We made the angel hair nicoise and it was (predictably) fresh, fast and amazingly tasty food.

Angel Hair Nicoise (serves 4)

adapted from Donna Hay's recipe

400 grams (13 ounces) capellini pasta
2 tablespoons grape seed oil
16 large spot prawns, peeled
3 tablespoons fresh lime juice
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 clove garlic, minced
6 anchovies, chopped
1 1/2 cups of green or yellow beans
3/4 cup Kalamata olives, pitted
1/4 cup flat-leaf Italian parsley, chopped

In a large pot of boiling, salted water, cook the pasta according to package until it's tender.

Meanwhile, steam the green or yellow beans until tender, about 4 minutes.

While the pasta and beans are cooking, heat a frying pan over medium high heat, add grape seed oil and saute prawns for just a few minutes until they are no longer translucent and are white and pink in colour. Remove the prawns from the pan and place in a bowl.

Reduce the heat to low, add lime juice and anchovies and stir for about one minute. Drain pasta from the pot and place in the bowl with the prawns. Add beans, olives, parsley and two tablespoons of olive oil. Pour the warm dressing from the pan over the pasta and stir to combine.

Some of my other favorite Donna Hay recipes are her parmesan-crusted chicken and seared salmon on coconut spinach.

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