Nicholas Balfe's date night prawn pasta

Luxury London

4 June 2020

This recipe is taken from the new Lockdown Kitchen cookbook byNicholas Balfe, the founder and chef director of Salon, Levan and Larry’s. Profits from every sale (75% of the cover price) will be donated directly to StreetSmart, an organisation that is working with restaurants to raise funds for charities that support homeless and vulnerable communities.

4 June 2020 | Luxury London

"Sometimes it’s all too easy to turn to pasta as an everyday meal, but we tend to try to only have pasta once a week. Often that will just be a really simple dish with the kids in mind, for example homemade pesto and some broccoli on the side, but now and again we’ll splash out with something that feels a bit more special. This is a good one for a lockdown date night as the prawns make it feel a bit more fancy, but it’s quick and easy to prepare so you’re not spending the whole time cooking and cleaning up.


For the pasta

Make your own pasta if you have the time, inclination and a pasta machine. Alternatively, use good quality shop-bought.

200g 00 flour
2 whole eggs
1 egg yolk
Semolina flour for dusting

For the sauce

50ml olive oil
1 shallot or half a red onion, very finely diced
2 plump cloves of garlic, very thinly sliced
200g raw shelled prawns
Sea salt and black pepper
A pinch dried chilli flakes
65ml (half a small glass) white wine
200g cherry tomatoes
Zest and juice of half a lemon
A knob of butter
A handful basil leaves


First, make the pasta. In a food processor, pulse together the flour and egg until it forms a coarse crumb. Transfer to the work top and knead it all together until it forms a dough. As you knead, you will notice the dough becoming more springy and elastic. After about 10 minutes, wrap it in plastic wrap and set aside to rest for at least an hour. Cut the dough into quarters, take one piece and leave the rest covered. Roll the first piece of dough out first with a rolling pin, then using a pasta machine. After the first roll through the pasta machine, fold the dough in thirds, then turn it 90 degrees and roll it through machine again – this helps it stay nice and springy. Keep on rolling through the machine until you reach the second to last thinnest setting, then roll through the tagliatelle attachment if you have one, or cut into ribbons by hand.

Get a large pan of salted water on to boil. Get a skillet or frying pan medium hot with plenty of olive oil. If you are using dried pasta, get it on to boil now. Add the shallots and garlic and sauté with a pinch of salt until beginning to soften – about 3 minutes.

Add the prawns, season with salt, pepper and chilli flakes, stir everything to combine, and leave to sizzle for another couple of minutes before turning the prawns over, which by now should have turned pink. Add the cherry tomatoes and leave for another minute.

If you’re using homemade/fresh pasta, get it in to boil now and cook until al dente, 1-2 minutes.

Add the white wine turn the heat up and let everything bubble away for at least another minute while you grate in the lemon zest. When the pasta is cooked, lift it out of the water and into the skillet pan with prawns etc. Add a knob of butter and squeeze of lemon and stir everything to combine.

Add a little of the pasta water if you want the sauce wetter. Check the seasoning and adjust if necessary, before folding through torn basil leaves. Serve immediately with the rest of the white wine.

The Lockdown Kitchen cookbook is priced at £9,