A Slight Difference Of Country
  |  First Published: April 2010

I noticed when I was travelling recently the similarities between different countries and their recipes. With only a very small difference in ingredients, both these recipes manage to take on the culinary characteristics of their respective countries.

For instance, in the Italian pasta the sauce is thickened with the use of cream, whereas the Spanish pasta uses a small amount of cornflour. Italian chilli versus Spanish paprika, white wine versus sherry. And so on.

Italian Prawns

The amount of garlic used is up to you. If you love the flavour of garlic use six cloves. If not, moderate the amount a little but remember the flavour of the garlic will be tempered by the pasta.


2 tablespoons olive oil

4-6 cloves garlic, finely grated

4-6 tablespoons fresh Italian parsley, chopped

1 bay leaf

1 red chilli, seeded and finely chopped

750g green prawns, peeled and deveined

100ml white wine

100ml cream

Freshly ground salt and pepper


(1) Heat the olive oil in a heavy based frypan over a low heat. Add the grated garlic to the pan and cook gently for a couple of minutes. Take care not to burn the garlic because the flavour can become bitter.

(2) Increase the heat to medium and add the parsley, bay leaf, chilli and prawns. Cook for a couple of minutes until the prawns are almost pink. Add the wine and continue to cook until the wine is reduced by half and the prawns are pink.

(3) Gently pour the cream into the pan, stir gently and add the salt and pepper to taste. Pop the drained pasta into the pan with the sauce and toss to coat thoroughly. Serves four people.

Peppery Spanish Prawns

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 onion, chopped

1 red capsicum, seeded and chopped

6 cloves garlic, grated

Pinch of smoked or Spanish paprika

1 cup fish or vegetable stock

2 tablespoons dry sherry

A squeeze of lemon juice

Freshly ground salt and pepper

750g green prawns, peeled and de-veined

1-2 teaspoons cornflour


(1) In a heavy based frypan, heat the olive oil over a medium heat. Add the onion, capsicum and garlic to the pan; stir frying until the capsicum is softened.

(2) Add the paprika, stock, sherry, lemon juice and pepper and bring to a simmer. Reduce the heat to a medium low and cover the pan for several minutes.

(3) Add the prawns and cook for a further minute or two until the prawns become pink.

(4) Dissolve the cornflour in a tiny amount of cold water and add to the sauce. Continue to cook, stirring, until the sauce thickens slightly. Season to taste.

(5) Add the cooked pasta to the sauce and toss to coat thoroughly. Serves four people.

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