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Grilled Prawns with Pasta au Pistou

In this pasta dish is inspired by the Provencal Soupe au Pistou. The flavors are fresh and bright with plenty of basil. I am serving giant grilled prawns on top.

Grilled Prawns with Pasta au Pistou

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You could add extra vegetables like, carrots, celery and green beans as well as 2 more quarts of water to have a classic Soup au Pistou.

Ingredients

  • 1 small japanese eggplant, peeled and cut into ¼‑inch dice
  • kosher salt
  • .75 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, cut into ¼‑inch dice
  • 2 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 medium zucchini, cut into ¼‑inch dice
  • 2 roma or plum tomatoes roughly chopped
  • 1 quart boiling water
  • 1 (14½ oz) can cannelloni beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 bouquet garni made with 3 large basil leaves, 2 parsley sprigs, 1 thyme sprig and 1 bay leaf
  • fresh ground pepper
  • 1 pound elbow macaroni or vermicelli broken into 1‑inch pieces
  • ¼ cup whole lightly salted almonds, coarsely chopped
  • 2 cup loosely packed fresh basil leaves
  • 1 cup loosely packed fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 1 tin anchovy fillets, packed in oil
  • 4 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
  • salt and pepper
  • zest of 1 lemon, plus lemon wedges for serving
  • 8 very large prawns, shells and heads intact, or 1 pound large shrimp

Directions

In a colander, toss the eggplant with 2 teaspoons of kosher salt and let drain for 20 minutes. Rinse the eggplant well and squeeze out as much water as possible.

Heat the ¼ cup olive oil in a large soup pot. Add the eggplant to the pan and let cook over medium high heat until one side browns some. Do not stir.

Add the onions lower the heat, stirring occasionally, until they have become soft but not browned, about 8 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for 2 minutes, stirring.

Add half of the zucchini and cook until they too begin to soften, about 5 minutes. Stir in the tomatoes. Cover and cook over moderately low heat, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are very soft, about 10 minutes.

Pour the boiling water into the pot and add the drained cannelloni beans, and the pasta. Add the bouquet garni, cover and simmer gently over moderately low heat until the beans are heated through, about 5–8 minutes, long enough to cook the pasta al dente.

Season the soup generously with salt and pepper. Stir in the remaining diced zucchini. Turn the heat off and remove the pan from the heat while you prepare the pistou and grilled prawns.

Put the almonds, basil, parsley, anchovies and their oil, and garlic in a food processor. Pulse 6 or 8 times until just combined. I prefer a varied texture so there is no need to scrape the sides. But you may if you like.

Turn the machine on and add the oil in a slow, steady stream Process until nearly smooth. Transfer the contents to a large bowl. Stir in lemon zest; season with salt and pepper.

Set aside ¼ cup of the pistou for the prawns.

Heat a grill to medium-high. Toss the prawns with the reserved ¼‑cup of pistou. Grill, the prawns turning once, until cooked through, about 3 minutes per side; season with salt and pepper.

Just before serving, re-heat the pistou pasta and serve the prawns on top with a big dollop of pistou and lemon wedges.