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Cuisine Quest: Stella's chef shares his secret to great fettuccine
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2009, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

Deidra Meibos raved about the red pepper fettuccine with prawns and pancetta at Salt Lake City's Stella Grill, 4291 S. 900 East.

"It was some of the best pasta I have had," said the Salt Lake resident. "It had the most amazing roasted vegetables, especially the eggplant. Could you get the chef to share his secret?"

There's really no tricks involved, Chef Steve Hamburg said. "We really try not to manipulate our food to much," he said. "That is to say, we just try to do simple preparations and let the ingredients do the rest."

Hamburg makes the pasta by hand, and uses vegetables that are in season. In the summer, the pasta is likely to have a light lemon sauce. In the winter, it will probably be creamier. As for the eggplant, it's just sliced, drizzled with olive oil and grilled.

One more thing: When purchasing shrimp or prawns, pay attention to the numbers on the front of the package, which refers to the number of shrimp per pound. For example, 16/20 count means there will be 16 to 20 shrimp per pound. Lower counts contain bigger shrimp and higher counts have smaller ones. Terms like "colossal," "jumbo" or "extra-large" are just marketing tools.

Requests » Karen Lewis is looking for a candied popcorn recipe, similar to what was sold at the now-closed Nucrisp Popcorn store on 2100 South in Salt Lake City. "It had a buttery glaze, more of a toffee taste, than caramel flavor," she said.

Joyce Gibbons would like a recipe for a naan, an Indian flatbread, which can be made in a regular oven.

Send requests or responses to reader requests to kathys@sltrib.com" Target="_BLANK">kathys@sltrib.com or Kathy Stephenson , c/o The Tribune, 90 S. 400 West, Suite 700, Salt Lake City, UT 84101.

Stella's red pepper fettuccine with prawns and pancetta

Red pepper fettuccine:

2 cups semolina

2 cups all purpose flour

2 teaspoons salt

1 egg

1 cup roasted red pepper puree

Prawns and vegetables:

1 large or 2 medium eggplant, sliced

Olive oil

3/4 pound pancetta, cubed

3 cups zucchini, diced

11/2 cups sweet onions diced

2 pounds prawns (16/20 count), washed and peeled

3 tablespoons roasted garlic puree

1/4 cup lemon or lime juice

2 cups chicken stock

3 cups tomato, diced

4 tablespoon unsalted butter, diced and cold

Salt, to taste

Pepper, to taste

Parmesan cheese, grated for garnish

For the pasta, mix semolina, flour and salt in a bowl. Add egg and red pepper puree. Using a mixer, food processer or a wooden spon hand, mix until well combined. Knead dough until a smooth texture forms. Cover with a towel and let dough relax about one hour. Run dough through a pasta roller and cutter, or roll thin and cut by hand into thin fettucine strips.

Fill a large pasta pot with well-salted water. Bring to a boil over high heat. Add pasta. Cook until pasta is just tender or al dente. Strain but do not rinse.

Slice the eggplant, drizzle with 1 to 2 teaspoons olive oil. Grill. (Eggplant can also be roasted in the oven until browned). Cool eggplant slices and dice to make 3 cups.

Add 1 teaspoon olive oil to a cold, very large pan. Heat to high. Carefully add pancetta and brown slightly on all sides. Add zucchini and onions, and brown slightly. Add prawns and roasted garlic. Cook stirring gently to coat all with garlic. The garlic will stick, but watch the bottom of pan so it doesn't burn.

Add citrus juice and lightly scrape the bottom of pan to lift the browned residue. Cook mixture until citrus juice is reduced to about 1 tablespoon. Add stock, eggplant and tomato. Bring to a boil. Just before the prawns are fully cooked, remove from the pan. Place on a tray or plate.

After removing prawns, add cold butter and a couple pinches salt and pepper to the sauce. Continue cooking until sauce is reduced to desired consistency and taste. Taste and adjust salt and pepper as needed. Add pasta and prawns back into the pan. Toss to finish cooking prawns.

Place on platter and garnish with Parmesan cheese.

Servings » 8

Source » Steve Hamburg, chef Stella Grill

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