Grilled Shrimp Scampi with Angel Hair and Garlic Bread Baguette

 

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Happy Monday! I will be doing two posts today to make up for my long absence from the blog!

Shrimp Scampi is the classic lemony, garlicy Italian delight. I hardly make shrimp, let alone Shrimp Scampi, despite my undying love for it sauteed, fried, grilled, as a dumpling filling. My husband just isn’t into shrimp; hey, to each their own.

But tonight, I¬† just really wanted shrimp. I put my needs before my husband’s (for the first time ever…ha), and it turns out that even the non-lover of shrimp enjoyed this one! We were both in absolute awe. I haven’t made this in years, but it suddenly came back to me, just like most Italian dishes I grew up making and enjoying.

This was one of those meals where every bite was just perfect. I did a lot of this by feel, so I am doing my very best with my approximation of how much I used of each ingredient. I will be sure to make it again and get the exact measurements for those of you who need a recipe to feel reassured! ūüôā

I hope you enjoy. We most certainly did! ūüôā

Shrimp Scampi with Angel Hair

1 pound angel hair pasta (or different pasta if you desire–angel hair cooks the fastest, though!)

6 tablespoons olive oil, divided (2 for shrimp, 4 for pan sauce)

1.5-2 pounds of uncooked, extra large shrimp, peeled and deveined (leave the tails on for presentation–also, keep shells if you want to make small shrimp stock)

1 tablespoon of sea salt (NOT for cooking–only for brining the shrimp!)

5 cloves garlic, minced

1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes (if you’re not into spicy, you can do 1/4 teaspoon)

2 teaspoons of garlic salt (I used the grinder from Trader Joe’s), divided (1 for shrimp, 1 for pasta)

1 teaspoon of Tastefully Simple Garlic Bread Seasoning, divided (1/2 teaspoon for shrimp, 1/2 teaspoon for pasta)

**(This seasoning is optional, but I love it! If you can’t find it, use a similar seasoning that has some or all of the following: garlic, onion, parsley, red bell pepper, chives).

1 lemon, juiced, plus 1/2 lemon, zested (make sure there’s no white, bitter pith)

1/2 cup dry white wine (I used a Chardonnay–be sure to drink the rest with dinner)

5 tablespoons salted butter (plus, I added more butter from the garlic bread butter spread–figure you’ll need a stick and a half for both)

1/4 cup freshly chopped parsley leaves

Garlic Bread Baguette

1 French, store-bought baguette

1 stick of unsalted butter, softened

1 tablespoon of Tastefully Simple Garlic Bread Seasoning¬† (If you can’t find it, use a similar seasoning that has some or all of the following: garlic, onion, parsley, red bell pepper, chives).

Directions for Garlic Bread Baguette

  1. Make sure your stick of butter is softened. If it’s not, use your microwave setting to do so (do not melt it!)
  2. Using a spatula, mix the Garlic Bread Seasoning with the butter. Let sit for 30 minutes for the flavors to meld.
  3. Cut your baguette in half and then slice the middle to make two even pieces.
  4. Once the Garlic Bread Butter flavors have melded, spread your butter evenly on the baguette. **
  5. **Note: Don’t be shy. You do not, however, need to use ALL the butter. Some of the leftover butter will be used for the shrimp scampi to finish!**
  6. Pre-heat your oven to 400 degrees.
  7. When your sauce is almost done reducing, put your bread in the oven on a baking tray. It should take no more than 5-6 minutes. Check for doneness periodically. Be sure to toast to a golden brown, but not over bake!

Directions for Shrimp Scampi

  1. First, peel and devein your shrimp (leave tails on for presentation). **Optional, but recommended: keep your shells and make a quick shrimp stock by boiling hot water and pouring it over the shells that are wrapped in cheesecloth). Steep for at least 15 minutes.
  2. Next, add deveined and peeled shrimp to a bowl of cold water (about 3-4 cups) and add a tablespoon of sea salt (note: do not use hot or even warm water as that will literally COOK the shrimp). Swirl the shrimp around in the salt water and brine for at least 20 minutes–may do so for up to an hour.
  3. While the shrimp are in the brine and you are finishing prepping, get a large pot of water to boil for pasta.
  4. Mince up your garlic (or use a garlic press, like I do), roughly chop your parsley, and zest your lemon. Once you’re done zesting the lemon, cut in half to use the juice. Roll the lemon with the palm of your hand to get the most juice out of it.
  5. Add the pasta to a large pot of boiling salted water, over medium heat, and cook until al dente. Angel hair pasta should take no more than five minutes! Feel free to substitute a different pasta, like spaghetti or linguine, if desired, and cook to specified direction on the pasta box.  Leave the pasta in the colander and drizzle a little olive oil to prevent sticking.
  6. Once at least 20 minutes have passed, drain the shrimp and blot with a paper towel. It’s okay if there is a little bit of water left (but not too much).
  7. Add two tablespoons of olive oil, garlic salt (1 teaspoon), and Garlic Bread Seasoning (1/2 teaspoon) to shrimp. Toss to coat. If grilling, add to ungreased grill pan once your sauce is almost done reducing.**
  8. For your sauce, heat a large 12-inch skillet over medium-high heat. Add the olive oil.
  9. ***Note: I did not cook the shrimp in the pan like most people do (I wanted the grilled taste), so what is listed below is what most people will do if they do not have an indoor grill pan. If you do want to do what I did, preheat your grill pan to medium-high heat for 4-5 minutes and grill your shrimp (as mentioned later) when your sauce is almost done reducing.**shrimpgrill
  10. Once shimmering and hot, add the shrimp and saute until just cooked through, about 2 to 3 minutes. Remove to a plate and reserve. (Only for those without a grill pan.)
  11. Add the garlic and red pepper flakes to the skillet, then saute for until the garlic is fragrant, about 1 minute. Add the lemon juice and white wine and raise the heat to high. Let the liquid reduce for 2 to 3 minutes. Whisk in the butter, add a ladleful of the pasta cooking water (if you made shrimp stock, add a little bit of that as well) and return the shrimp. Remove from the heat.
  12. Drain the pasta in a colander, and add it to the skillet along with the chopped parsley and toss. Add the lemon zest and adjust the seasonings with salt and pepper, to taste.
  13. Add remaining Garlic Bread Butter (that was not used on the baguette) onto hot pasta to finish–about 1/4 cup worth.
  14. Transfer to a serving platter and serve immediately.

 

Crab and Shrimp Gnocchi with Parmesan White Wine Cream Sauce

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Happy Sunday!

Each time I think of a gnocchi, my mind immediately takes me back to Venice in 2012. My friend Cassandra and I fell in love with the pillow soft potato pasta dumpling after eating these with this Gorgonzola cream sauce. This is a pasta that we will never forget. A pasta consistency I have been trying to master since I left that splendid city–but I don’t quite have it yet. If you have never had a gnocchi, you are missing out! It is truly the perfect blend of potato and flour. Although I am a believer of all things homemade, today’s dish simply requests that you use a package of gnocchi. Making gnocchi from scratch is a pain to master, and quite frankly, is more of a winter endeavor or one made for a rainy day. Pre-packaged gnocchi are even better than typical pasta–it cooks in 2-3 minutes!

Crab and shrimp take the flavor of this dish to new heights, especially as the sauce’s base is almost Alfredo-like with heavy cream and parmigiana cheese. ¬†Feel free to switch up the seafood–add lobster or clams if you like! Seafood and cheese go really well together! I know it seems taboo, but they’re awesome together.

I made a similar dish about a year and a half ago; coincidentally, the same company I had then I am having other today! If you are looking for the same flavor profile with more lemon and added texture (the other version I’ve made of this has Panko bread crumbs), read my old post; it’s called¬†Crab Meat Gnocchi with Melted Havarti and Gruyere.

This meal is great for a quick, romantic night in or as a side dish for company. It’s intimate enough for two, and it’s elegant enough for entertaining. Bon appetit!

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons of unsalted butter
  • 4 cloves of fresh garlic (minced)
  • 1 jumbo shallot finely chopped
  • 1 1/2 cups of white wine (I used pinot grigio)
  • 3/4 cup of heavy cream
  • 1/2 of a fresh lemon (should be about 1/3 cup of lemon juice)
  • 2 cups (approximately) of grated parmesan cheese
  • 15 large shrimp, peeled and deveined (do not buy precooked shrimp)
  • another 2 tablespoons of unsalted butter
  • 8 ounces of lump crab meat (I used 16 ounces thinking I love lump crab meat, but this is pricey and almost too much crab meat for the amount of pasta!)
  • 1 pound of gnocchi
  • parsley for garnish (fresh or dried)

Instructions

  1. Fill a pot with salted water and bring to a boil.
  2. Insert pre-packaged gnocchi into boiling water. Cook about 2-3 minutes and stir. Gnocchi are done when they are floating on top.
  3. Drain gnocchi and pat dry with a paper towel. Keep aside.
  4. Use two tablespoons of butter to saute shrimp that are peeled and deveined. Add salt, pepper, and optional red pepper flakes to shrimp. Shrimp should be done in about 2-3 minutes (upon turning pink and no longer translucent–do not overcook!)
  5. Mince garlic and dice shallot.
  6. Melt 2 tablespoons of butter and saute shallots for about 4-5 minutes at medium high heat. Stir to keep from burning. Add a bit of water if they are not sauteeing properly. Look for translucence in your shallots.
  7. Throw in the garlic after the shallots have been sauteed. Stir to keep garlic from burning. Cook garlic and shallots about 2-3 minutes until aromatic.
  8. To deglaze your pan, add 1 cup of white wine and stir shallots and garlic. Let it reduce a bit, and then had the other 1/2 cup.  Once it reduces about halfway, add heavy cream and lower your heat to low. Simmer for about 3-5 minutes.
  9. Next, get a mesh strainer and scoop out the shallots. Press the shallots into the mesh strainer to drain all the liquid. There should be almost no shallots left in the sauce. You may need to squeeze the liquid in a new pan.
  10. Kick your heat back to a medium high with the drained liquid. Add your parmesan cheese. Squeeze in half the lemon, carefully not getting seeds inside. Stir frequently You may add more cream if you need it.
  11. Lower the heat the low. Add the crab meat and cooked shrimp. Stir together and let heat through for about 5 minutes.¬†Tip: Make sure your crab meat is out of the refrigerator right before starting to cook so you don’t add cold crab meat to your hot pasta!

 

Yellow Curry Shrimp with Garam Masala Spiced Coconut Milk

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Happy Saturday!

Zach told me I had to make something Indian last night. I haven’t been feeling well and didn’t necessarily want to be a slave at the stove last night. How did I meet in the middle? I made my yellow curry in a hurry!

What make this so simple is that I am cooking shrimp as my protein; feel free to substitute chicken or another light fish, but shrimp complements this dish well and cooks in approximately 3 minutes.

This dish does not require anything absurdly obscure to make delicious. Yes, I used good ol’ fashioned McCormick curry powder; nothing “authentic” or specific to make you feel discouraged from making this. The optional ingredients here you may have handy, or you may not, but don’t feel the need to go out of your way. To make the sauce, you essential need curry powder, saut√©ed onion and garlic, honey, hot sauce, and coconut milk. These are all what you may already have or very accessible. The prep time is minimal, and the taste is fabulous. From start to finish, you could have dinner done in 20 minutes.¬†Because my post is all about speed, I will stop writing about how wonderful it is and let you get to it! ūüôā

In a Flash

  • 2 tablespoons¬†butter or olive oil
  • 1 1/2 pound peeled and deveined shrimp¬†(shoot for larger shrimp for maximum flavor)** (also they could be frozen)
  • 1 whole medium yellow onion diced finely
  • 4 cloves¬†of garlic, minced
  • 1-2 tablespoons of minced/finely grated ginger root
  • 1¬†tablespoon or more of curry powder (to taste)
  • 1-2 teaspoons of Garam Masala (optional, but I love it!)
  • 1 can¬†of coconut milk (make sure it’s full fat and from a can–you need the thick consistency)
  • 2¬†tablespoons of honey (but probably¬†if you like sweeter curries)
  • 1/4 teaspoon Kosher salt (or more)
  • 1/4 teaspoon of freshly cracked pepper (or more)
  • 1 -2 teaspoon(s) of red pepper flakes (to taste)
  • 1 bag of frozen broccoli florets** (you can use any green vegetable you like such as peas, but I like the florets with the sauce)
  • 1 lime juiced (optional, but I like it!)
  • 1 tablespoon or so of Sriracha or any other hot sauce
  • 12 whole basil leaves chiffonade¬†(sliced thinly into ribbons)
  • 2 cups¬†Basmati rice (any rice is fine, but basmati screams Indian!)

The Need for Speed

  1. First, get a cold bowl of water and put frozen shrimp in the bowl. If desired, add some salt to water. This is a great way to thaw the shrimp will retaining tenderness through a light brine. In the meantime, measure out two cups of Basmati rice and cook to directions (usually a 1:2 ratio) with salt and butter (or olive oil).
  2. Meanwhile, do your prep: diced your onion finely and mince garlic and ginger.
  3. Heat up a pan with olive oil or butter on medium high heat. Cook the shrimp about 2 minutes or so until they turn pink and are no longer translucent. Make sure you don’t overcook the shrimp! Put the shrimp aside on a plate while you prepare the sauce in the same pan.
  4. Next, add the diced onions and sauté for a few minutes. Add about a tablespoon or so of water to the pan to make the onions extra soft. Repeat as necessary (but do not add too much water!) Next, add the ginger and stir around for a minute. Lastly, add the garlic (do not burn the garlic.)
  5. Once all of the aromatics are in the pan, throw curry powder on them and stir. Cook for a minute, and then open up a can of coconut milk. Stir around to incorporate everything. Turn the heat up on the stove to medium high to let the sauce bubble up. Once the sauce is heated through, put on a lower setting. While the sauce is cooling slightly, heat up frozen microwave to directions (I did about 3 minutes). Throw shrimp and broccoli into the sauce.
  6. Stir into your sauce chiffonaded basil, honey, squeeze lime, Sriracha sauce, salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes. Stir around and adjust seasonings to taste. Right before serving, add optional Garam Masala (if you add it too early, it will lose all flavor so make sure you do it at the end.)
  7. Add rice to the bottom of a bowl and pour on top the sauce and shrimp. devour immediately.

Shrimp “Ya-Ya” Pesto and Fettuccine + More

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Happy Friday!

Tonight, I was dying to relive my recent visit to New Orleans (also known as NOLA). It is the foodie capital of the United States. NOLA blends French finesse and Creole seasonings and spices like no other. Mmm.

And while that’s all fine and good, I needed to be realistic. I was mindful of the fact that I have been teaching all day, and tutoring for three hours past 3:00. It’s the typical plight of the working woman, except I cannot simply admit that I am too busy to cook even though I actually am (maybe children will change that!)

And so, I wanted to cook NOLA quickly…and it dawned on me.

Make Shrimp Ya-Ya. . I know it doesn’t even sound like¬†a dish. But that’s because its deceptively simple title has¬†a hidden complexity. The name is simply fooling the skeptics into thinking this is nothing short of extraordinary.

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This is the restaurant’s take of Shrimp “Ya-Ya”–and I want to take it all.

Now most readers have probably heard of “pesto” and of course “Alfredo,” but it’s highly unlikely you have heard of “Ya-Ya” unless you frequent the south. It doesn’t sound fancy or classy, but it tastes divine.

So here’s what Shrimp Ya-Ya is in this highly technical mathematical formula:

Pesto + Alfredo + Crushed Red Pepper Flakes¬†= Shrimp “Ya-Ya.”

It’s a creamy pesto that is served with hot, steamy garlic French bread and a few Gulf shrimp. The shrimp are delicious–no doubt. But my favorite part of the meal is mopping the sauce with the garlic bread. I refuse to leave one bit of sauce, so I always ask for extra bread like a good Atkin’s dieter does. ¬†And if you are ever in New Orleans, please go to the restaurant in which this dinner was inspired by; it is Zach and I’s favorite low key bar,¬†Le Bayou. They make delicious hurricanes to wash these down, too. Please order two or three for me, okay?

Now the only difference with my dinner tonight is that I added a starch: I wanted pasta. Grits would go well with this (but not if you’re in a hurry–grits are for when you’re watching grass grow) for a southern flair–any starch! If I had French bread available, that would be my go to–dip all that sauce until it is inevitably gone.

Now feel free to modify this recipe and break it down. Use the pesto and Alfredo exclusively when you’re feeling like making something simple. Pesto is great as a spread for sandwiches–so if you have extra, put it aside! Alfredo can’t be stored like pesto, but it comes together so quickly that you’ll be able to make it any time.

Shrimp Ya-Ya Pesto and Fettuccine (Serves Four*)

*-Could easily be modified for two or one!

Now let’s go solve the equation that I’ll likely be too selfish to divide…(insert cheesy puns from this point forward)

The Right Angle (Alfredo Sauce)

1 tablespoon butter

1/4 cup heavy whipping cream

6 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese

3/4 teaspoon minced garlic

1‚ĀĄ2 teaspoon chopped fresh parsley

1‚ĀĄ8 teaspoon crushed red pepper (optional)

The Hypotenuse (Pesto Sauce)

2 cups fresh basil leaves

2 tablespoons pine nuts (pignoli)** (If you don’t have any in your area, you can substitute with another nut like walnuts, but I believe it’s best to leave it out if you have a nut that is not in the same family)

2-3 cloves of garlic (just don’t kiss anyone)

3-4 tablespoons olive oil

1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese, but honestly, probably more

The Legs (Shrimp)

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

1 pound extra jumbo shrimp, peeled and deveined

2 teaspoons crushed red pepper

Pasta

Half Box of Fettuccine** (only if you want pasta–if you want traditional Shrimp Ya-Ya, just prepare sauce and shrimp.)

Make the sauces:

PESTO (make this first)

  1. Rinse basil leaves of any dirt (if freshly pulled from a garden.) In the a food processor or blender, add basil, pine nuts, and garlic, and pulse to combine.
  2. While the mixture is pulsating, add 2 tablespoons  of extra virgin olive oil in a steady stream, and process until a smooth paste forms.
  3. Add 2 tablespoons Parmesan and salt, and process 30 seconds more. Add cheese to taste.
  4. Use a spatula and put pesto on the side in a bowl.

ALFREDO

  1. In a medium saucepan, melt butter over medium heat. Add cream, and simmer for 5 minutes.
  2. Add Parmesan and garlic, stirring until cheese melts. Stir around and do not burn the garlic!
  3. Remove from heat, and let thicken. Add parsley and red pepper, if desired. The red pepper flake is spicy, but it’s necessary for the NOLA distinction. Also, if you’re afraid of spice–no worries; the cream will offset it.

Boil the water** (only if you’re making pasta): Salt the water generously. Throw in a half a box of fettuccine and¬†stir to keep pasta from sticking.

Check Your Work (Final Steps):

  1. Get shrimp out–if frozen, thaw in cold running water, if fresh, leave them out.
  2. In a large nonstick skillet, heat remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil over medium-high heat.
  3. Add shrimp and season with salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes lightly–cook until pink and firm.
  4. Remove the shrimp for a minute and place aside.
  5. Following, stir in red pepper flake, pesto mixture, and Alfredo. Cook until sauce is slightly thickened. Top with remaining 1/4 cup or more of Parmesan. Lower the heat if necessary to thicken.

***Drain pasta when al dente (about 12 minutes), and lightly toss strands of fettuccine in sauce with tongs. Plate and serve shrimp on top,and put more straight pesto in the center for color and flavor. Just remember, if you are making this with pasta, it will have a less creamy appearance, but will still be equally delicious. Eat immediately.

Enjoy your weekend, and stay tuned for Monday! ūüôā