As the mercury rises, Executive Chef at Cucina Porto at The Star Sydney, Martino Pulito is revealing a whole new menu for the summer, with a key focus on pasta dishes. Here, Martino shares his top pick and shares the recipe of a dish that is close to his heart.
I love the warmer months in Sydney- the beaches, the sunshine, the food and after heading back to my hometown in Puglia for my wedding, I came back to Sydney full of inspiration for new dishes at Cucina Porto – including an extra special dish that was served to my wedding guests: a fresh cavatelli pasta served with a creamed cannellini beans, pan-fried prawns, semi-dried tomato and rocket. Cavatelli means “little hollows” in Italian and is a pasta shape that resembles small shells. It’s typically from the south of Italy and specifically the Molise and Puglia regions. It’s a beautiful but simple pasta that is able to hold the sauce so you get great flavour in every bite. This dish represents the freshness of the local produce from around my homeland of Puglia from the fresh prawns which bring a delicate lightness to the bowl and confit tomato that provides a little bit of sweetness to balance the bitterness of the rocket. It’s then topped with a spicy crumb to give a slight tang and crunch to finish – a fabulous dish to share with friends.
To make this, you’ll need:
● 80g cannellini beans
● 100g prawns
● 10g long chillies, sliced
● 10ml brandy
● 10g butter
● 10g shaved fennel
● 10g confit cherry tomatoes
● 150g prawn bisque
● 150g tomato sauce
● 150g cavatelli pasta
● 40g baby rocket
● 5g gremolata
● Spicy crumb mix, as needed
● Lemon zest/juice, as needed
- Soak the dry cannellini beans overnight in water, then cook until soft.
- Put the cannellini beans in a blender and blend at full speed, using a bit of oil to emulsify. Season well with salt and a bit of lemon juice. Set aside.
- In a pan, sauté the chillies and prawns with a bit of oil. Add brandy to the pan to flambé.
- Add the fresh shaved fennel, tomato sauce and prawn bisque.
- Add butter and reduce slightly to intensify the flavour.
- Dip the freshly-made cavatelli pasta in boiling, salted water for three minutes. Or, if using dried pasta, cook your pasta according to the packaging.
- Once your pasta is cooked al dente, strain the water and add the pasta to your prawn mixture in the pan. Add the gremolata and rocket and combine gently.
- Adjust the seasoning and acidity with a bit of lemon juice.
- Put two spoons of room temperature cannellini on a plate and spread it to cover the bottom of the plate.
- Place the pasta on top of it, making sure that the prawns are nice and visible.
- Finish with the spicy crumb mix, and garnish with a few confit cherry tomatoes.
E presto! Or in English, “It’s ready!” But for the real deal, come and see me and the team at Cucina Porto from Monday to Sunday, lunch and dinner.