Prawns Aglio e Olio

This chile pepper originated in the mountains of South America and Mexico. Because of their appearance they are often called “Manzano” which means apple chile. This pepper can only be grown in these regions at elevations above 5000′ therefore making these very rare in the US.These chiles are unique in that they are the only ones that have black seeds. They are very hot and meaty. Rocotos are chopped and used in salsas or sometimes stuffed with cheese and meat and then baked.

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2 servings of pasta (about 6 oz spaghetti)
3 tbsp good quality olive oil
3 Tbsp butter, divided
10 to 12 large prawns (US name: shrimps)
10 cloves garlic, peeled and sliced or chopped (not too finely)
2 rocotto chile, sliced or 1/2 tsp dried chilli flakes
2 Tbsp Italian flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped
sea salt and freshly cracked black pepper


(Serves 2)

Fill a pot with water (enough to submerge pasta) and about 1 tbsp sea salt. Bring the water to a boil and then cook pasta according to the timing indicated on the packet, until al dente. Drain and set aside the pasta.

Remove the shells and veins from the prawns. Add the prawns heads and shells to a small pot with just enough water to cover them (I use about 1/3 cup water), bring to a simmer for about 3-5 minutes to make prawn stock. Strain the stock and set aside.

Heat half the butter in a sauce pan. Cook the prawns on both sides and set aside.

Add olive oil to the sauce pan with the prawn juices and browned bits. When the oil is heated, add garlic and chilli padi/chilli flakes (if using). Saute till the garlic turns light brown.

Turn off the stove. The garlic will continue cooking in the hot oil on its own for a few more seconds in the hot oil, until they turn a lovely golden brown.

Add cooked pasta, cooked prawns, about 2 tbsp of prawn stock, chopped parsley and remaining butter (cubed) to the garlic & oil mixture. Stir to coat all the ingredients evenly. Season with sea salt and freshly cracked black pepper.