• Serves 6 people

  • 75 gm fregola (see note)
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 4 anchovy fillets
  • 1 onion, finely diced
  • 1 fennel bulb, finely diced
  • 1 carrot, finely diced
  • 1 celery stalk, finely diced
  • 1 garlic clove, finely chopped
  • 6 basil leaves, plus extra to serve
  • ½ bunch thyme leaves
  • 1 tbsp tomato paste
  • ½ tsp each dried chilli flakes and fennel seeds
  • 200 ml vermouth
  • 12 black mussels, scrubbed
  • 12 green tiger prawns, peeled (heads and shells reserved), intestinal tract removed, tail intact
  • 6 Balmain bug tails, peeled (heads and shells reserved)
  • To serve: extra-virgin olive oil
  • Prawn stock
  • ½ tbsp olive oil
  • ½ onion, coarsely chopped
  • ½ carrot, coarsely chopped
  • ½ celery stalk, coarsely chopped
  • ½ tbsp tomato paste
  • 50 ml brandy
  • Pinch saffron threads
01   For prawn stock, preheat oven to 190C. Place prawn shells and bug shells in a large roasting pan, roast until brown (15-20 mins). Meanwhile, heat oil in a large saucepan over medium heat, add vegetables, stir frequently until brown (3-5 minutes), add tomato paste, stir frequently until thick (2 mins). Add roasted shells, deglaze with brandy, add enough water to cover shells by 1cm (about 2 litres), bring to boil. Reduce heat to low, cook until infused (30 mins). Strain through a fine sieve (discard solids), season to taste, add saffron, set aside.
02   Cook fregola in a saucepan of boiling salted water, stirring occasionally until tender (8-10 mins). Drain, refresh and set aside.
03   Meanwhile, heat oil in a large saucepan over medium heat, add anchovies, stir occasionally to break down (2-3 mins). Add vegetables, garlic and herbs, stir occasionally until soft (5-7 mins). Add tomato paste and spices, stir often until thick (2-3 mins). Deglaze with vermouth, reduce liquid by half (2-3 mins), add prawn stock, bring to the boil, reduce heat to low and simmer until vegetables are tender (15-20 mins). Add seafood, cook until pink and just cooked through (3-4 mins). Stir through fregola, divide among bowls, scatter with extra basil leaves, drizzle with olive oil, season to taste and serve immediately.
Note Fregola is a Sardinian pasta made from coarse semolina. It is available from David Jones and select delicatessens.
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