Santa Barbara Prawns with Herb Pasta, Caramelized Fennel and Raisins

Yield: serves 4, Pasta makes l pound

For the pasta-

  • 8 oz. all purpose flour
  • 4 oz. fine semolina flour
  • 4 oz. chestnut flour
  • 4 oz. fresh sea urchin
  • 2 whole eggs
  • 1 Tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • Salt to taste
  • Water (if needed)

Combine all of the flours together and sift. Combine the eggs, the puréed sea urchin and the oil with the salt. Place the egg mixture in a mixing bowl and mix slowly with a dough hook. Add the flours and incorporate at medium speed until dough begins to form. Sprinkle with a little water if too dry. Once dough forms on hook, stop and remove on to a floured surface. Knead with both hands until the dough forms a ball. Allow dough to rest, refrigerated, for one hour. Cut the dough in four separate, equal parts and proceed in putting dough through the pasta machine. Pass through, folding pasta over, and repeat until silky smooth. Now roll out pasta to 1/16th of an inch into long sheets. Pass the sheets of dough through a 'Fettuccine' die and place pasta on a floured surface. Repeat with the remaining dough. Refrigerate until needed. Use the dough within two days. The sea urchin doesn't have much of a shelf life. Freeze dough if not using that day.


For the Shrimp sauce-

  • 1 pound fresh shrimp heads
  • 1/4 cup fennel
  • 1/4 cup leeks
  • 2 Tablespoons garlic cloves
  • 1 Tablespoon thyme
  • 4 Tablespoons fennel stick
  • 1 cup dry white vermouth
  • 1/2 cup Pernod
  • 2 quarts chicken stock
  • l pound butter
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Heat a heavy saucepan over high heat and add the olive oil. Allow it to get to the smoking point and add the drained shrimp heads and sear until golden brown. Add the leeks, fennel and garlic and continue to color. Deglaze with the vermouth and reduce. Add the Pernod and flambé. Reduce and add the chicken stock. Bring to a boil and add the dried fennel and the thyme. Simmer for 1 hour and strain. Reduce the liquid to 1/2 cup and strain again. Add the butter and season with salt and pepper. Keep warm.


For the garnish-

  • 4 heads of baby fennel
  • 1/4 white raisins (soak in sherry vinegar)
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • 1 Tablespoon chives
  • 1 Tablespoon Parsley leaves
  • 1 teaspoon basil leaves
  • 1 Tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 cup chicken stock
  • 1/2 teaspoon Toasted fennel seeds

Heat a heavy sauté pan over medium heat and add the oil. Cut the fennel heads in 1/2 and add to the hot oil. Roast until lightly colored and add the honey. Caramelize the fennel and add the raisins and toasted anise seeds. Add some of the soaking juices of the raisins to deglaze. Add the chicken stock and reduce to glaze over high heat. Keep at room temperature until needed.


For the prawns:

  • 16 Large Santa Barbara Prawns
  • 1/3 cup flour
  • 1 Tablespoon butter
  • 1 Tablespoon olive oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste
Heat a heavy sauté pan over high heat and add the olive oil. Season the prawns and dredge in flour. Remove all excess flour and add them to the hot oil. Add the butter and brown evenly on both sides. Cook for the total of 30 seconds per side. Remove from the pan and keep warm. To present the dish, Cook the pasta in salted boiling water until 'al dente' and drain. Heat fennel and raisin mixture in 4 Tablespoons of the sauce and add all of the herbs. Toss and glaze well in the sauce. Roll the pasta, using a roasting fork, in the center of an oval plate and arrange the prawns on top. Serve hot.

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