Monday, February 15, 2010

Shrimp Scampi Pasta

Butter. I love butter. When I was growing up I refused to put the stuff on toast and opted for "I Can't Believe It's Not Butter!" Spread. I'm ashamed at who I was.

Butter sizzles in ours skillet when Matt makes one of his morning omlettes stuffed with shiitakes and Gruyere. I love fresh bread dipped in olive oil and herbs. But butter on warmed bread? I swoon. My mom taught me to always, always use all butter when making cookies and sweets, and I've never deviated. Sometimes I whip honey and butter in our mixer for a sweet heavenly spread, or gooey, rich brownies with loads of butter? Forget the Crohn's, and give me another.

Which is why my making a pasta dish (oh god, there's another one that makes me weak in the knees) with a buttery white wine sauce was pure kismet...My father's birthday was this week, and we celebrated at our place with food....and more food. My family loves food. We can put away a lot of food. My mom works with food. My dad just ordered a case load of organic, grass-fed, free-range buffalo meat from the Home Shopping Network. Need I say more?

We had this dish, with oven-roasted asparagus, a big salad, baguettes, and a rich chocolate cake to top it all off. And yes, with lick-my-fork-good chocolate buttercream frosting.

I love making pasta for company. It's one big pot of ease. Since it was also a special occasion, I threw in loads of pink shrimp, sauteed in the skillet with oil and garlic. And some peppers, tomatoes, spinach, and oh, did I mention the butter? The meal was good, but I tweaked the leftovers today to make it even better by adding more veggies. And yes, a tad more butter. I just can't help myself.

Shrimp Scampi Pasta
  • 2 lbs. raw, deveined large - extra large shrimp
  • 1 lb pasta (something thin, either angel hair or thin spaghetti)
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 2 large red peppers (sweet)
  • 1 pint grape tomatoes, halved
  • 1 15 oz. can diced tomatoes, drained
  • 1 bunch (about 5) chopped scallions
  • 2/3 cup white wine
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp pepper
  • 5 Tb. butter (BUTTER!)
  • 1 large bag fresh spinach (about 10 oz., give or take)
  • 1/2 cup shredded Parm or Romano, plus more for garnish
  • 1/2 cup - 2/3 cup fresh chopped Italian flat-leaf parsley
  • lemon, for zesting

Heat water for pasta. Add salt.

Heat a few Tb. of oil in the skillet with 2 cloves pressed garlic. Saute shrimp (in batches, if necessary) on each side, flipping once, until pink and cooked through. Set aside. Now julienne the peppers and saute for 10 minutes in the remaining oil and garlic (add more garlic to your taste), until tender. Set aside with shrimp.

Now add the additional garlic to the skillet, with wine, salt and pepper and cook on high for a minute. Now add the butter and stir until it's melted. Add the pre-cooked peppers and shrimp, and the fresh spinach and coat with the butter and wine broth until the spinach wilts a bit - about a minute.

Add the mixture to cooked pasta. Now add the diced and halved grape tomatoes, cheese, scallions, and parsley. Toss. Zest a lemon onto the pasta. Serve with additional cheese, parsley, and zest.

The spread. I deleted the unflattering photo of me, but these guys weren't so lucky.

Make this with two pounds shrimp. You won't be sorry.

The perfect ending to a good meal! Wegman's "Ultimate Chocolate Cake". Yeah, we have a history.

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