Friday, May 22, 2009

Shrimp & Pasta in Creamy Tomato Sauce

Frozen shrimp are amazing little guys to have on hand. I always keep a bag in my freezer for quick weeknight meals. The secret to amazing frozen shrimp is this: don’t buy pre-cooked frozen shrimp. It's soooo easy to cook them yourself, and pre-cooked shrimp are almost always waterlogged and flavorless when defrosted (and rubbery when cooked. Erf). DO buy frozen, RAW shrimp with the shells still on (heads are already removed and they’ve been cleaned and deveined). The shells actually protect the delicate shrimp meat's texture through the freezing and defrosting process. You can get a huge bag for about 11 bucks which will last you 3 or 4 few meals. Cheap 'n' cheerful if you ask me!

Defrost the shrimp right when you are ready to cook them. It’s so easy: place the frozen shrimp in a bowl of cool tap water and let them sit for 10 minutes or so. Peel them in the sink and discard the shells into a little plastic bag (the shells dry to a pretty stinky state so take out the garbage right after dinner!). Rinse the shrimp and pat dry with a paper towel. Easy-peasy! And they taste as fresh as fresh!

This meal is quick and scrumptious. As long as it takes for the pasta to boil is as long as it takes to prepare this dish. Beats ordering in from the diner! Have a loaf of crusty bread and a little salad to complete the meal…oh yes, and a nice chilled glass of pinot grigio. ;)
Shrimp & Pasta in Creamy Tomato Sauce

Serves 4 (or 2 with lunch leftovers :)

Ingredients:

1 pound pasta (Whole grain pasta is Flappery :))
1/4 cup olive oil
1 pound medium shrimp, peeled, and deveined
4 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, plus extra for seasoning
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus extra for seasoning
1 (15-ounce) can whole tomatoes, drained, roughly chopped
1/2 cup chopped fresh basil or oregano leaves
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1 cup white wine
1/3 cup clam juice (optional)
1/4 cup half & half (or more or less)
grated Parmesan cheese

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the pasta and cook until tender but still firm to the bite, stirring occasionally, about 8 to 10 minutes. Drain the pasta and set aside.
In a large skillet, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Add the shrimp, garlic, 1/2 teaspoon of salt, and 1/2 teaspoon of pepper. Cook, stirring frequently until the shrimp turn pink and is cooked through, about 3 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, remove the shrimp and set aside.

Add the tomatoes, 1/4 cup basil and/or oregano, and the red pepper flakes. Cook for 2 minutes, stirring constantly. Add the wine, clam juice if using, and half & half. Bring the mixture to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer for 7 to 8 minutes until the sauce thickens. Add the cooked shrimp, the cooked pasta, and the remaining herbs. Grate some parmesean over the top and toss together until all ingredients are coated. Season, to taste, with salt and pepper.

Transfer the pasta to a large serving bowl. Sprinkle with additional Parmesan cheese and a couple fresh oregano or basil leaves and serve immediately.

5 comments:

Natashya said...

I do love my shrimp and pasta, looks great!
I agree, a bag of easy peel shrimp should always be in the freezer, right next to the petits pois!

Jessica Martiele said...

This sounds almost exactly like a dish I do...and one I actually did for dinner TONIGHT! (Mine replaced the pasta with mushroom tortolini, and added some chopped up fresh asparagus...yum!) I totally agree on the shrimp, by the way...easiest thing in the world, and tastes great...so long as you buy the shrimp RAW and frozen. :) THANKS!!!

flappergirl said...

Hi Natasha! I have an embarrassing question: what is petit pois?? And more importantly, should I get some for my freezer too?

Hey Jessica! Wht a coincidence!! Mushroom tortellini sounds amazing with the shrimp! Mmmm!

Mark Rabinowitz said...

Garbage! Heavens to Betsy, no! Keep your shrimp shells in a freezer bag and make stock with them asa soon as you can, then make risotto with the shrimp stock! Yummmmm!

flappergirl said...

Mark!! BRILLIANT! (And duly noted--
Why waste a scrap of flavor? :) Thanks!!

 
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