My friends (the lovely Italian and Icelandic couple, S and G) have moved back to Italy some time ago. (Good for them, they will not have to endure the Dutch cuisine and weather anymore. However I would certainly miss them and their cat who has this certain personality, ehhmm). Shortly before they left, they came to my apartment with three bags full of Italian goodies that they had brought from Italy (and those that they haven’t managed to eat before the moving), namely: kilos of pasta, dried tomatoes, dried olives (which tasted excellent in the fish stew I cooked the other day!), porcinis, spices, flours and some bottles of home-made wine (made by their neighbours back home), coffee, olive oil, balsamic vinegar, other Italian condiments and much more. I accepted the bags with open arms and a big smile on my face! Who would say no to those wonderful stuffs? (The bags have been providing me and my friends with many delicious dishes in the past weeks!)

With lots of sun-dried tomatoes at hand, I have been trying to experiment with different recipes. This pasta recipe is sort of a classic that never fails to satisfy me. Buy the biggest and freshest scampi that you could afford, team it up with good quality olive oil, sun-dried tomatoes, dried chilli, garlic and a handful of basil leaves. It could not be easier than that. Delicious!

Ingredients (two persons)
200 gr spaghetti, cooked according to the package instruction, al dente (I really mean it, not Dutch style al dente, please!!)
12-18 pieces of scampis, peeled and deveined
6 pieces of sun dried olive oil, soaked in hot water until soft, well drained and cut in chunks. (Reserve ½ cup of the soaking liquid)
4 dried chilli (or 1 teaspoon of chilli flakes or as much as you could go!)
3 cloves of garlic, roughly chopped
Extra virgin olive oil
A handful of basil leaves

Heat a generous swirl of olive oil in a cooking pan over low heat, add the garlic and the chillies. (Don’t let the garlic get brown or burnt! Never never ever! It would change the taste entirely!)
Increase the heat, add the scampi and the tomatoes. Cook for one minute.
Add the pasta and the reserved soaking liquid. Stir well until the pasta is well coated by the sauce.
Check the seasoning, add salt if necessary. (Note: Some scampi are naturally salty, so please take care with that!)
Take it off the heat, add the basil leaves and serve immediately.
Add a swirl of olive oil before serving.

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