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March 22, 2013

Creamy Shrimp and Spaghetti

Creamy Shrimp and Spaghetti
I like a dish that's quick to prepare, easy on the wallet and flat out delicious. Mr B likes a dish that's hearty, chock full of sweet shrimp and lots of garlic and arrives at the dinner table right when he does.

Mr. B isn't the sort that slowly realizes he's hungry. Rather, it hits him with a quickness and then he hits the kitchen just as swiftly and roars, "I'm hungry! What's for dinner." And like any wife who wants to enjoy a reasonably peaceful evening without any drama, I know there isn't much lead time between when he utters these words until it gets flat out ugly. This dish saves both Mr. B and myself from that old frying-pan-over-the-head trick.

Creamy Shrimp and Spaghetti

8 ounces of thick spaghetti
3/4 pound of shrimp, cleaned, deveined and split in half vertically
1 cup grated parmesan cheese (or, more to taste)
1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon olive oil
red pepper flakes
1/3 cup chopped green onion tops
1/3 cup chopped parsley

3 cloves of garlic, pressed
Salt and fresh ground pepper

3 cups reserved pasta water

1. Boil spaghetti until al dente; remove from heat and drain in a colander. Reserve 3 cups of the hot pasta water and set aside.
2. Heat olive oil and butter on a large pan and cook until foamy.
3. Add red pepper flakes to the pan and cook for 30 seconds, then add the shrimp and garlic and cook until just pink. Remove from pan and set aside.
4. Add the pasta to the pan and using tongs, loosen the strands of spaghetti. Add 1 cup of the pasta water and cook until water is almost evaporated. Repeat with remaining pasta water. Add the shrimp back to the pan when you add the last cup of pasta water.
5. When shrimp are heated though and pasta is hot and water is almost gone, turn off the heat and add the parmesan cheese. Remove pan from heat and stir in the cheese.
6. Add parsley and green onion tops; stir to combine.
7. Mound into warmed pasta bowls and top with salt and fresh ground pepper.
8. Serve with additional parmesan cheese.

*Make sure to turn off the heat before adding the cheese. You want the cheese to melt into the remaining water to make a sauce; if you leave the pan on the heat, you could have a stingy mess.
*Cooking the spaghetti in the reserved pasta water creates a creamy sauce by further breaking down the starches in the pasta.
*Instead of adding the shrimp, you could use any combination of cooked vegetables, or even shredded, leftover chicken breast.

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