SPAGHETTI Mare e Monti directly translates to spaghetti sea and mountains, and in this case we are using prawns (from the sea obviously) and mushrooms (from the mountains), but is often made with meat as a kind of ‘surf and turf’ spaghetti.

For this dish we will use freshly chopped tomato instead of the tomato paste or puree. This will give the dish a light, fresh summery feel as we try to grasp what is left of our summer this year, whilst enhancing the delicate flavours of the prawns and mushrooms.

We are going to use the champignon mushroom, which has a lovely taste and texture but will give it the fragrance and complexity of the porcini mushroom without the price tag. Marry that alongside the king prawn (preferably de-shelled for you English) and you have an eruption of mouth-watering taste sensations.

You could even introduce some extra fresh baby Atlantic prawns into the mixture for that added depth, or even some freshly chopped chilli for that little kick with the aftertaste.

However you wish to adapt this recipe is up to you, we will keep it nice a fresh and simple for you to play with later.

Luciano tells me that his favourite way of eating this dish is sat on his veranda in Sardinia overlooking the sea with a glass of Cannonau – Sardinian red wine – in hand. His mum would cook and serve the pasta dish to him (what a chef) filled with fresh king prawns that she got from the fish market earlier that day, and wild boar. Sardinia is full of them by the way.

In Naples we have a Mare Monti starter, one side of the plate being the sea, with things like deep fried seaweed, calamari, octopus and whitebait, and the other side being the mountain, with meat like salami, bresaola, mortadella and coppa.

It’s usually a large sharing platter, but judging by the size of some Neapolitans it could be eaten as a starter. And of course it’s all washed down with wine which makes everything taste better the longer you stay at the table, which for Italians is a very long time!

That’s enough chit-chat, let’s start cooking!


• 2/3 cups water

• 15g dried porcini mushrooms

• 175g champignon mushrooms

• 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

• 2 garlic cloves - finely chopped

• 6 ripe plum tomatoes - finely chopped

• 1 tablespoon salt

• Black pepper

• 30ml white wine

• 225g shrimps or king prawns (or both)

Preparation takes 30 minutes:

• To start with we need to soak the porcini mushrooms

• In a pan, add the 2/3 cups water and bring to the boil

• When the water is boiling remove from the heat and add the dried porcini mushrooms to soak for approximately 30 minutes.

This gives you just enough time to put your feet up and enjoy the other 670ml of white wine from the bottle!