Perfect for a mid-week dinner, impressive yet simple, from MasterChef Ireland 2011 winner Mary Carney


  • 2 tins of italian tomatoes
  • 1 dessert spoon of tomato puree
  • 1/2 glass of wine
  • 2 finely chopped shallots
  • 3 dessert spoons of good quality fine capers – rinsed
  • 500 g (7 large prawns per person) of good quality locally sourced prawns (if possible) – shelled and deveined
  • 100 ml cream
  • sea salt
  • handful of chopped flat leaf parsley
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • olive oil
  • sufficient linguini for four people


  • Heat a good glug of olive oil in a wide frying pan, large enough to hold two tins of tomatoes.
  • Fry shallot on a low heat until translucent.
  • Add tomato puree and fry for a few minutes – this softens the flavour and cooks the tomato. Raw puree is harsh so this is an important step.
  • Increase the heat and add the wine. Reduce until almost all of the liquid has evaporated.
  • Once the liquid has reduced add the tins of tomatoes, a good pinch of sea salt, sugar and capers and simmer for 10 minutes.
  • Meanwhile add the linguini to a pot of boiling salted water and cook according to the packet instructions.
  • While the pasta is cooking, place a frying pan on a medium high heat and fry the prawns for 2 minutes on each side or until cooked through.
  • Once prawns are cooked add to sauce, along with cream and stir to combine. Taste the sauce and adjust the seasoning adding more sugar, salt and pepper as necessary.
  • Drain the pasta once cooked, pour over sauce and toss until combined.
  • Divide the pasta between four plates and serve with a sprinkling of chopped chives and parsley.


Mary's tips: You can add more or less cream to this dish depending on how rich you would like the sauce. I try to keep the cream content at a minimum to make it healthier. Sugar is the hidden ingredient in so many tomato dishes. Be careful not to add too much but a little really does enhance the natural sweetness and flavour of the tomatoes. 

family dinners italian masterchef ireland mains entertaining