Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Lemony Wine Shrimp Pasta

Yay - a recipe of my own to share.

Ever have those days where you come home, have no clue what you want to make for dinner, and zero desire to run to the gstore, but still want something delicious? (Gah, this is beginning to sound like an infomercial!)

This happened to me several months ago. The following recipe is the result. It is a combination of tons of ingredients I tend to have on-hand, and hopefully you do too! To be honest, I'm guesstimating the portions of ingredients, because I don't usually measure. I eyeball it - and it hasn't failed me yet. Try to do the same - you'll never learn until you practice!

So here goes:

Care's Lemony Wine Shrimp Pasta
(this portion feeds 2 or 3, but like I said, I don't usually measure so make as much as seems right for your group!)

Angel hair pasta
12 large, deveined shrimp (~6 shrimp/person is a good amount)
1 large lemon (zest and juice)
3 or 4 cloves garlic, minced (then again, I love garlic... so add what seems right to you)
1 shallot, peeled and finely minced (not to be confused with scallions... a normal mix-up for Chad)
4 Tbs capers
1/2 cup dry white wine
4Tbs butter
Good olive oil
Cornstarch or flour (whatever you have handy)
Pecorino Romano cheese (Locatelli preferably... but again, I'm brand loyal)
Fresh Italian Parsley or basil (if you've got it)
Coarse salt and fresh black pepper

1. Peel and devein your shrimp. Or be cool and buy pre-deveined shrimp frozen so you can defrost as needed and use. Just make sure you peel your shrimp! (Tip for defrosting shrimp in seconds: Run them under cold water for a few seconds and peel. Store in a bowl of cold water until you've peeled them all. Then, pat dry!

2. Start boiling your water with lots of salt and about a Tbs of olive oil (to keep the angel hair from sticking). Once you get the shrimp going, toss in your pasta to the pot since it doesn't take much time to cook the thin pasta, or the shrimp! Again, just portion the pasta for your needs. I usually do a couple handfuls for the two of us. Then again we always have leftovers, so maybe one good handful will suffice.

3. In a large sautee pan, heat about 1 Tbs of butter and 2 Tbs good extra virgin olive oil over medium heat. Throw in your garlic and shallots. Give them about a minute or two to warm up (don't let your garlic burn), then throw in your shrimp. Remember, shrimp cook fast. You'll want to flip them over once you can see they've started to get pink on one side. Once they are pink, remove them from pan. Don't overcook shrimp - they'll become chewy.

4. Combine about about 3 Tsp of cornstarch or flour to about 5 Tbs water and wisk together until incorporated. You don't want clumps. I only do this step to thicken my sauce so it coats the pasta better. I suppose you don't have to do it if you don't want to. You could flour your shrimp before sauteeing them to get a similar effect. Or reserve a little bit of the starchy liquid from your pasta. Pick your poision.

5. Pour flour/cornstarch mixture into sautee pan with your shallots and garlic. Add your white wine, capers, lemon juice from your lemon (you can use half a lemon if it is very juicey), and about 2 or 3 Tbs of butter. If you have a little bit of heavy cream, you could add that too. Let it cook for a couple minutes til the alcohol burns out of the wine. Add some coarse salt and fresh cracked pepper to taste. Mix it all together into a yummy sauce. Again - eyeball it here! If it looks a little thick, add some more wine/lemon juice. Too thin? Add a bit more cornstarch ... just make sure to wisk it with water first so you don't have clumps in your sauce. Return your shrimp to the pan to heat it all together.

6. Drain your pasta and add it to the same skillet. Stir it all together so your pasta is coated with the sauce, capers, shrimp, garlic, etc.

I'm really drooling while typing this.

7. Serve garnished with fresh Italian parsley (or basil), lots of romano cheese (or parm if that's what you've got), lemon zest and extra cracked black pepper.

Share with the ones you love!

This recipe is fantastic because it really lets you use your imagination. Play around with it. Don't like shrimp, use scallops! Substitute heavy cream for butter in the sauce (or be crazy and use both)! Don't like capers, don't put them in. However stick with the combo of white wine/lemon/butter - it will be your best friend. Great flavor profile.

Now, get cookin'!

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