June 25, 2012

Shrimp and Pasta in a Creamy Tomato Sauce

My mom was visiting this week, helping keep my son entertained during the two (long) weeks between school and camp. Thank God. I'm pretty sure only grandmothers have the patience to play six straight hours of pirates.

my basil plant
As usual, I had a list of favorite dishes I was going to ask her to cook. But before she took over the kitchen, I wanted to make her at least one nice meal.

I found this recipe in one of my newer cookbooks, The Pioneer Woman Cooks, by blogger Ree Drummond. I haven't tried many of the recipes yet, but I've got lots of them tagged. 

This dish is shrimp and pasta in a creamy tomato sauce. The technique and ingredients are simple and straightforward. It's the little details that bring home the flavor, infusing every bite of pasta and sauce with the flavor of the shrimp.

My mom loved it. She was excited to be eating a dish that I was going to be blogging.

I was happy too. The next night I sat down to a bowl of chicken curry.

Set a pot of water to boil for the pasta. Peel and devein the shrimp and pat it dry.

In a large skillet, heat butter and olive oil. Add the shrimp and sprinkle with a little salt and pepper.

Cook until the shrimp is just opaque on both sides. Remove the shrimp and place it in a bowl.

In the same skillet, add more butter and olive oil. I still had some shrimp juice in the skillet so I boiled it down a bit before adding the butter and olive oil. Add the onion and garlic and cook until the onion is tender. 

Now add the wine and reduce it down.

Then add the tomato sauce.

Add the cream and give everything a good stir.

While the sauce is simmering, pull the shrimp out of the bowl and place them on a cutting board. If any liquid has collected in your shrimp bowl, add it to the sauce. It is going to add a ton of shrimp-flavored goodness. Chop up the shrimp.

Thinly slice your basil.

At this point, turn the heat down under the sauce as low as it will go and add your pasta to the boiling water. When the pasta has about a minute left to cook, turn up the heat a little and add the basil to the sauce.

Stir in the shrimp. Yes it tastes as good as it looks.

Then toss in the pasta.


Shrimp and Pasta in a Creamy Tomato Sauce

Recipe barely adapted from The Pioneer Woman Cooks

3/4 lb penne pasta
1 lb shrimp (you're going to chop up the shrimp later, so no need to buy large, expensive shrimp)
2 Tbsp butter
3 Tbsp olive oil
1 small onion, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup white wine
1 8-oz can tomato sauce
1 cup heavy cream
1 Tbsp fresh basil

1.    Set a pot of water to boil.

2.    Peel, devein and rinse (under cool water) 1 pound of extra large shrimp. Pat dry.

3.    Heat about 1 Tbsp butter and olive oil in a skillet. Add the shrimp and cook for a couple minutes until just opaque. Do not overcook them. Remove shrimp from the skillet and transfer to a bowl.

4.    In the same skillet, heat remaining butter and olive oil. (If there's some liquid from the shrimp left in the skillet, boil it down a bit before adding butter and olive oil, so that it will flavor the entire dish.) Add the garlic and onion and sauté, stirring occasionally, until the onion is translucent and completely tender.

5.    Add the wine and let it evaporate for a few minutes.

6.    Add tomato sauce and then heavy cream. Stir well until combined. Turn heat down to low and let simmer.

7.    Add your pasta to the boiling, salted water.

8.    In the meantime, put the cooked shrimp on a cutting board. Add any shrimp liquid that's collected in the bowl to the sauce (more flavor!).Chop the shrimp into bite-sized pieces and set aside.

9.    Thinly slice the basil.

10.  When the pasta is about a minute away from being done, raise the heat under the sauce to medium. Add in the herbs and the chopped shrimp. Add salt and pepper to taste.

11.  Finally add your cooked penne pasta and give it a good stir.

12.  Serve immediately.

Serves 4

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