Get that fishy feeling with a simple seafood feast

Di Curtin shares a quick pasta dish, with fresh peeled prawns
Get that fishy feeling with a simple seafood feast

Fusilli with Garlic Prawns and Cooleeney Cheese by Di Curtin.

WITH Ash Wednesday just gone and Good Friday looming in the not too distant future, fish and seafood is once again highlighted on the menu.

This was the food of the fasting, in traditional times, when a small meal was allowed each day and meat was most certainly off the agenda.

Back then, the eating of fish and seafood was forced upon people by religion or finances, particularly popular with the poor who lived near the sea and had means to catch their own food. But today, it’s a lifestyle and taste choice for many, becoming ever more common in the weekly food shop.

Your local fishmonger is a good place to start for the best and freshest seafood. Whether you’re into a nice fillet of cod or some beautiful peeled Dublin Bay Prawns, you’ll find the pick of the catch on the fishmonger’s slab. These guys know their stuff, so filleting and prepping your seafood ready to cook is a total breeze for them. 

Some supermarkets also have good fresh fish counters. Particularly those in coastal Cork. From Ballycotton to the Beara peninsula, you’ll find great fish in this great county. Not forgetting the superb fish stall at O’Connell’s in the English Market and now in Dunnes in Bishopstown too.

I’ve used fresh peeled prawns for a quick pasta dish which is slightly different to other seafood pastas. There’s no cream involved here, but you do use lots of butter and a little of the pasta cooking water to make the sauce. Some soft and creamy Cooleeney cheese finishes things off as a luxurious extra!


Ingredients (Serves 4)

350g fusilli pasta 

75g butter 

2-3 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed 

350g raw peeled large prawns, defrosted if frozen 

Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper 

Few leaves of fresh basil, torn 

1 tbsp fresh parsley, finely chopped, plus extra to finish 100g Cooleeney cheese, in chunks


  • Cook pasta in boiling salted water with a splash of olive oil added until just al dente.
  • Turn off heat and leave pasta to sit in the cooking water while you prepare the prawns.
  • Melt a knob of butter from the amount given in a non stick pan over gentle heat. Add garlic and cook till soft but not browned.
  • Add prawns and cook till beginning to turn pink. Add the remaining butter gradually over low heat as the prawns cook, stirring.
  • Drain pasta, reserving liquid.
  • Add drained pasta to prawns in the pan with tablespoons of pasta water one at a time, stirring.
  • Add enough pasta water to make a moist but not wet sauce, melded with the butter. Bubble gently and stir as you go. It should end up with a moist and slightly sticky texture.
  • Season and add herbs and Cooleeney if using and cook till cheese is slightly melted.
  • Sprinkle with extra chopped parsley to serve.

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