Because the catfish in the local market were much too small, I wandered off to a stall selling shrimps and prawns. And they were so fresh and enticing that I couldn’t resist buying half a kilo for tonight’s dinner. Well, to be more precise, for my husband’s and daughters’ dinner. I’m allergic to crustaceans so I bought some mussels for myself which I also prepared as a pasta dish.
As the title says very clearly, this dish is simply a variation of the basic mac and cheese, comfort food to countless people I know. With the addition of shelled prawns and baby asparagus, that’s taking comfort to a much higher level. Boil the pasta according to the package directions. Drain well. Reserve some of the boiling water which is so useful for thickening the sauce.
While the pasta boils, clean the prawns. Pry off the heads (I froze them so I can use them for a Southeast Asian soup that I’ve been dying to make but can’t eat anyway) and peel off the shells together with the tails. Take a prawn, slit the back, and pull off the black threadlike thing that runs along its length. That’s its digestive system with all its partially digested food so you don’t want to eat that. Do the same with all the prawns.
Add the prawns. When the prawns start to change color, pour in the milk and pasta water. Add the cheeses. Season with salt and pepper. By the time everything boils, the cheeses will melt, and once and the prawns will finish cooking. If you wait for the prawns to cook before adding the rest of the ingredients, your prawns will get overcooked and turn tough. It never pays to overcook seafood. Add the pasta to the sauce. Toss to coat. Transfer to a serving bowl or individual pasta bowls and serve at once.