Saturday, July 14, 2007

Quick Dishes: Shrimp Scampi on Angel Hair Pasta

I had my friend Steve over for dinner last weekend (as it would turn out I forgot his birthday, so the dinner redeemed myself). I was craving seafood (particularly scallops, but the selection at my health food store was limited) so I settled on shrimp scampi.

I've been making a version of this for years, though never actually using a recipe. I usually just tossed the shrimp into a skillet with olive oil (or butter) and garlic and boiled some pasta, but since I was cooking for someone I opted to follow a recipe from Rachael Ray's "365: No Repeats" cookbook.

Note: The recipe is actually grilled shrimp scampi on angel hair pasta, but I skipped the grilling part since I do not have a grill pan or outdoor grill.

Ingredients:
coarse salt
1 pound angel hair pasta
6 garlic cloves, crushed
1/2 cup fresh flat-leaf parsley, chopped (I used dried)
coarse black pepper
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
24 medium size raw shrimp, peeled, deveined (depooped), and tails removed (or just by them frozen, but fully cooked)
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1/2 cup dry white wine (I omitted this as I had no more wine, so I used a bit more oil and water in step 4)
zest and juice of one lemon
5 tablespoons cold unsalted butter (or margarine)

Directions:
1. Place a large pot of water over high heat to boil. Salt the water and cook the pasta until al dente.
2. While the pasta cooks, in a bowl combine the garlic, salt, parsley, pepper, and olive oil. Place half the garlic mixture into another bowl with the shrimp and toss to coat evenly.
3. Cook shrimp (I just heated the mix in a skillet)
4. Add the reserved garlic mixture and red pepper flakes; cook for one or two minutes or until garlic is golden brown. Add wine to the skillet and cook for another minute, then add two ladles of the pasta cooking water and the lemon juice and zest and continue to cook for two minutes.
5. Add the butter and stir until melted.
6. Add the shrimp (if you haven't already), toss to coat.
7. Drain the pasta and add to the shrimp. Toss to coat.

Makes 4 servings (total lie. Makes 6-8)

This is a fairly easy meal, especially if you're crunched for time and want to make it look like you've been slaving away at the meal all day. Serve with a fresh salad, and steamed garlic broccoli and zucchini.

For any easy dessert, get a few premade shortcakes, fresh strawberries, and vanilla ice cream. Slice the berries and toss them on top of the shortcakes and zap them in the microwave for a few seconds to warm them. Then add ice cream.

Optional: to makes this meal healthier, cut the butter in half, switch to whole wheat pasta, and use soy ice cream.

I will point out that Steve seriously devoured all of this, helping himself to seconds. He couldn't stop raving about it. I neglected to tell him he ate high fiber whole wheat pasta (though I'm sure he figured it out later) and soy ice cream. A chef has to have some secrets, right?

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