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Thursday, May 26, 2011

Nice and Easy Spaghetti and Shrimp

A friend who is a good cook complains, "I'm too busy to cook. I get home from work and tell my family let's go out or order in."

Personally I feel the same way. I'm very happy when I open the refrigerator and see take out containers filled with Vietnamese lemon grass chicken, broken rice and bbq pork chops with pickled cabbage.

But sooner or later I hunger for a home cooked meal. I crave freshly prepared comfort food. Most of the time I don't want to spend a lot of time in the kitchen, so I want an easy to make meal. Salads are easy to make, but so are pastas.

At our farmers market, one of the vendors has a good supply of fish. Just recently he started carrying shelled, deveined shrimp, big fat ones. I bought a couple of pounds for an easy to make Sunday dinner. Sauteed and tossed with pasta, they are delicious.

Spaghetti and Shrimp

To build out the flavors, other ingredients can be added to this easy to make dish. Check out the variations below.

Yield: 4 servings

Time: 30 minutes

Ingredients

1 pound shrimp, washed, shelled and deveined
1 pound spaghetti
2 cloves garlic, peeled, finely chopped
2 tablespoons yellow onion, peeled, finely chopped
1/4 cup Italian parsley, washed, dried, leaves only, finely chopped
3 tablespoon sweet butter
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon Kosher salt
1 cup pasta water
Sea salt and black pepper to taste
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan

Instructions

To help with timing the dish, make the pasta first.

Bring a gallon of water to boil in a large stock pot. Add kosher salt and pasta. Every five minutes use tongs to stir the pasta to keep it separated. Place a strainer in the sink along with a heat-proof cup to capture 1 cup of pasta water. In ten minutes or until the pasta is al dente (firm to the bite), strain the pasta and reserve the cup of pasta water.

Return the pasta to the still hot pot. Add 1 tablespoon sweet butter and 1 teaspoon olive oil, season with 1/4 teaspoon each, freshly ground black pepper and sea salt. Stir well with tongs. Lay a piece of aluminum foil over the top of the pot to help the pasta retain heat.

Leave the shrimp whole or cut into bite sized pieces. In a large chefs pan, heat 1 tablespoon olive oil and saute the shrimp until lightly pink. Remove the cooked shrimp from the pan. Add the garlic, onion and parsley and saute over a medium flame until lightly browned. Stir well to prevent burning. Add 2 tablespoons sweet butter, 2 teaspoons olive oil and 1/2 cup pasta water.

Simmer, reduce and taste. Add sea salt and pepper if needed.

Add the cooked pasta and shrimp. Stir well to coat with the sauce. Add small amounts of pasta water if more liquid is needed.  Toss well and serve with grated Parmesan.

Variations

Add 1/4 cup home made roasted tomato sauce to the saute.

Sprinkle 1/4 cup toasted bread crumbs on the pasta before adding the grated cheese.

Toss the pasta with 2 tablespoons finely chopped, crisp bacon.

Add 1/4 teaspoon pepper flakes for heat.

Saute 4 shiitake mushrooms, washed, thinly sliced with the garlic, onions and parsley.

Saute 1 cup corn kernels with the garlic, onions and parsley.

Instead of shrimp, use lobster or scallops.

1 comment:

Donna said...

Trying this dish over the Memorial Day Wkend. Love how you often pair my 2 fav foods on the planet: Fresh Seafood & Pasta. Made several of your clam & pasta combos with great success. Your receipes are both undaunting and De-LISH. Thanks! Sign me woman who previously was cooking impaired.
Donna from the Eastern Shore, VA