People always complain about cooking for one. They whine about having to fuss too much just for their lonesome. So if you’re living by yourself, you’re probably thinking “I have no one to impress. Why should I even bother.” Hold that thought. I’m about to change your mind.
Right – so there’s no one else to impress… doesn’t that also mean there’s no person there to judge you if you’ve completely butchered that coq au vin? Indeed. It’s the perfect time to experiment with food.
Okay, fine. For the sake of full disclosure, I don’t actually live at alone. I currently live with my brother but in my defence, I see said brother for less than 3 minutes a day. Sad but true, so I think I’d qualify. Back to cooking for one!
We all know that cooking at home can be way healthier and cheaper than most other places. And not only is it highly gratifying when you’ve made yourself a big ol’ bowl of some random 10-minute-pasta recipe you’ve found online, but you also sharpen your cooking skills. Masterchef, here we come.
Okay, now for the really deep stuff:
Cooking for one is so much more than just a chore you have to do to get fed; it’s about learning to love your own company. It’s liberating when you finally allow yourself to truly enjoy the quiet of just one. Yes, there is a time and a place to be surrounded by loud people but tonight is not that night. Tonight, it’s just you- and you can do whatever you want. Read a book, watch silly movies on Netflix and laugh like a hyena at the TV, sit in a warm tub with bubbles… all whilst eating that very yummy dish from Taste.com that you’ve lusted over for months. You deserve to savour every forkful of it. Why shouldn’t you make an effort for YOU?
So what if you’re in a baggy shirt, old trackies, and the daggiest fluffy socks anybody has ever laid eyes on. The makeup has been washed away, the uncomfortable bra- finally off, and your hair is in bun that resembles tumbleweed…
But who cares? You’re comfortable, you’re happy, and you’re eating this phenomenal meal meant just for you.
- 120g prawns, with the shell
- 1/4 cup white wine (or chicken/veg stock) *
- 2 tbsp semi-dried tomatoes, sliced lengthways **
- 2 cloves of garlic, finely minced
- 1 tbsp lemon juice
- 1 tbsp fresh parsley, finely chopped
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 75g-110g dried pasta, depending on how hungry you are
- Optional extras: lemon zest, chilli flakes
- Wash and peel your prawns, keeping only the tails attached. Set the shells and heads aside for later use. Trust me on this one. Shells and heads make for an unrivalled depth of (prawny) flavour in your dish, and no - you will not have to eat them.
- Proceed to devein your prawns. Yes, this means running a small, sharp knife along the back of the prawn to expose a dark vein. Remove this vein and throw it away.
- Bring a pot of water to the boil and salt it lightly. Then cook your pasta until al dente and drain it immediately.
- Heat a 1/2 tbsp of olive oil in a pan over medium heat. Add your saved prawn heads and shells to the pan, pressing down lightly with a spatula to release the juices. Do this for about 2 minutes and then remove the shells and heads, leaving any liquid or browned bits at the bottom of your pan. This is flavour - it must be saved!
- To the same pan, add the other 1/2 tbsp of olive oil, minced garlic and the deveined prawns. Cook for about 2 minutes until your prawns are just cooked. You'll know when your prawns are done when the flesh turns vibrant white/orange. Remove the prawns from the pan and set them aside.
- Now, add your sun dried tomatoes to the pan and give it stir.
- Carefully pour in your white wine to deglaze the pan. The wine should sizzle immediately on impact with the hot pan and start to evaporate quite rapidly. Stir the wine around gently to help lift the garlicky prawn juices that have stuck to the bottom.
- Lastly, add in your drained pasta, fresh parsley, and lemon juice. Turn to coat your spaghetti in the sauce. Add a small pinch of ground sea salt and some freshly cracked black pepper, to taste.
- Twirl your strands of pasta into a whimsically high pile on a plate. Top with your prawns, drizzle any remaining sauce over the top and finally, sprinkle over a little extra fresh parsley for that pop of green we love so much!
- * Any alcohol in the white wine will be cooked out, leaving only a delicate hint of wine. However, if you do not wish to use wine, feel free to substitute for chicken or vegetable stock instead.
- ** Semi-dried tomatoes can be found in your local deli and are often marinated in olive oil and herbs. I used a semi-dried tomato marinated in basil and olive oil in this recipe.