Chilli Bacon and Prawn Spaghetti with Balsamic Vine-ripened Tomatoes

I made this dish a while ago and as with many recipes, I decided to change it a bit here and there, combining two I’d found that were very similar. The end result was just as I had imagined, a light meatiness with a touch of zing from the chilli and lemon, with the fresh basil rounding it off nicely. The oven roasted vine-ripened tomatoes adds a delicious depth that a tin of tomatoes just can’t offer. Fresh or frozen prawns will work, but I always think fresh is better, just remember to shell and clean them properly as there are a few bits of the prawn that you might not find very tasty and can make you rather ill.

Having said all that about using fresh ingredients, I opted for a dash of sweet chilli sauce instead of the red chilli as my little family aren’t at the stage of enjoying real chillies just yet.

Served with a fresh green salad with lemon and olive oil dressing, this works well as a tasty weekend lunch or a light evening meal.

Chilli Bacon and Prawn Spaghetti

Enough dry spaghetti for 3 – 4 servings (you know how much you’ll need and just adjust the rest of the ingredients accordingly)
300g vine-ripened tomatoes
6 Tbsp olive oil
2 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
3 fat cloves garlic, chopped
200 g streaky bacon, diced
300 g raw prawn tails or prawn meat, cleaned and shelled
½ red chilli, seeded and finely chopped, or 1 Tbsp prepared sweet chilli sauce
finely grated zest and juice of 1 lemon
½ cup torn basil leaves, plus extra for garnish (or parsley if you prefer)
salt and freshly ground black pepper
½ cup freshly grated parmesan

  1. Preheat the oven to 200°C. Place the tomatoes in an ovenproof dish, drizzle over half the oil and the balsamic vinegar. Scatter over the chopped garlic and roast the tomatoes in the preheated oven until they are bursting.
  2. Meanwhile, cook the pasta in salted boiling water until al dente. Drain the pasta, reserving half a cup of the cooking liquid.
  3. Heat the remaining oil in a heavy based frying pan and cook the bacon until golden, add the lemon zest, chilli (or sauce) and sizzle for 30 seconds.
  4. Add the prawns and stir-fry over a medium heat for 2 – 3 minutes until they change colour.
  5. Add the roasted tomatoes, garlic and delicious balsamic-olive oil juices, pasta, lemon juice, salt, pepper and reserved pasta liquid to the pan with the prawns.
  6. Toss for a minute or two to coat the pasta. Sprinkle with the basil (or parsley if you prefer) and give it a quick stir.
  7. Sprinkle over the grated parmesan and remaining herbs. Serve immediately with a fresh garden salad.

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