One of my favourite condiments – I feel very strongly about them in general, I mean they make everything something – is a Turkish dip called Muhammara. It’s made with roasted peppers, walnuts and pomegranate. I have drawn inspiration from this and made a smoky pesto with sundried tomatoes, walnuts and lemon. The walnuts make the pesto extra creamy and this works beautifully with the pasta.

Picture of me by Paul Winch-Furness


  1. Cook the pasta in a large pan of boiling salted water until al dente. Drain and reserve some of the pasta water for the sauce.
  2. Meanwhile, make the pesto. Chuck everything into a mini chopper and add a pinch of salt. Blend into a paste.
  3. Heat the oil in a large non-stick frying pan over a medium heat. Add the prawns, tomatoes and garlic and stir-fry for 3-4 minutes until the prawns are cooked through.
  4. Add the pesto, a few tablespoons of the pasta water and the double cream. Mix everything together. Once bubbling, add the spinach cook for 30 seconds, stirring continuously, until wilted.
  5. Tip the cooked pasta into the pan and add the basil. Toss together. Divide between four bowls. Grate over a little cheese and tuck in.


Serves 4

For the pesto
80g drained sundried tomatoes in oil
30g walnuts
2 tsp Turkish pepper flakes
The juice of ½ a lemon
1 tbsp. olive oil from the tomatoes
Sea salt

For the pasta
400g Rigati or pasta of your choice
1 tbsp olive oil
180g raw peeled king prawns
200g cherry tomatoes, halved
1 clove garlic sliced
120ml double cream
60g baby spinach
A small handful of chopped basil leaves
Parmesan to serve

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Chicken Shawarma