There is no doubt that Melbourne is a foodies’ heaven with a café culture that’s on par with the world’s coolest cities. Thanks to café king Stuart McKenzie, owner of Collingwood’s South of Johnson, we can now all delight in preparing our favourite café dishes at home. His cookbook ‘All Day Café’ is sure to become a cooking bible for everyone who loves entertaining friends. Stuart generously shares his recipe ‘Linguine with prawns, chilli, and garlic’ with us. A bit of advice – make plenty! This dish is so good, it’s guaranteed to fly off the plate.
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 small onion, diced
1 tablespoon minced garlic
20 raw tiger prawn tails, shelled and butterflied
4 roma (plum) tomatoes, diced
1 bird’s eye chilli, thinly sliced, or 1 teaspoon chilli flakes
100 ml dry white wine
2 tablespoons chopped basil
Extra virgin olive oil, to serve
Cook the pasta in a large saucepan of boiling salted water, following the manufacturer’s instructions. Drain and keep warm.
Heat a large frying pan over high heat. Add the butter and oil, then add the onion and sauté for 3–5 minutes, or until translucent.
Add the garlic and prawns and sauté for 1 minute, or until the prawns begin to change colour. Add the tomatoes and chilli and sauté for another minute, or until the tomatoes begin to break down. Season with sea salt and freshly ground pepper.
Pour in the wine, then add the cooked linguine and toss to coat the pasta in the sauce. When the sauce is bubbling and the pasta is heated through, add the basil and toss to combine. Serve drizzled with a little extra virgin olive oil.
The tomato, onion, garlic, chilli and white wine base for this sauce can be used as a starting point for a number of other pasta dishes. You could use tuna, salmon, scallops, calamari or mussels instead of the prawns, depending on your mood and what’s best at the market on the day. Or use all of the above for a truly decadent seafood marinara.
Images and recipes from All Day Café by Stuart McKenzie (Murdoch Books, RRP $39.99). Photography by Armelle Habib