I have to admit that I have a love/hate relationship with shrimp. I love to eat them but I hate to clean them…it grosses me out.
Okay, now that you have full disclosure – I hate cleaning shrimp. I wear rubber gloves. Sometimes I close my eyes. I even have a little red shrimp cleaning tool. But by golly, by the time I’m done with those little slimy things – they’re clean and good to go!
Make sure you get FRESH shrimp…firm and not too fishy smelling is your best bet. On top of my shrimp anxiety, I have a husband that is a SHRIMP SNOB. Seriously. He was stationed in Key West during his time in the Navy (many moons ago). As a side job, he would work in a shrimp factory. He only eats GULF SHRIMP. (big baby!)
Yesterday, I went to the store for shrimp and they only have shrimp from Thailand. I sat by the seafood counter for what seemed forever in trying to decide whether to buy anything but GULF SHRIMP. The guy at the counter saw my anxiety and suggested I buy the ‘other’ shrimp and take the label off. Okay – I’ll give it a try. I could feel him shaking his head as I left the counter.
Enough about my shrimp issues. Here’s an easy, delicious recipe for you.
The Line Up:
12 oz. fresh shrimp (you can pick where you want your shrimp to come from)
2 tbsp. chopped fresh garlic (I prefer fresh in this recipe)
8 oz. pasta (I used whole wheat)
1 cup or so cherry tomatoes (add or more or less to your taste)
1 1/2 – 2 cups of fresh spinach
1/2 tsp. crush red pepper (more if you want it kicking!)
1/4 cup EVOO (extra virgin olive oil)
fresh Parmesan cheese (please don’t pull out the green can!)
Prep the shrimp by cleaning….you know, pulling off the tails, getting rid of that little black line….ugh. I roughly chop the shrimp to make it bite size.
Chop the spinach lightly (not too fine)…
Slice the cherry tomatoes in half so the seeds don’t pop out when someone bites into them.
Start the water for the pasta. I always throw in a bit of EEVO and salt into the water.
This is a two-burner-at-the-same-time recipe…
Throw in the pasta…
While the pasta is boiling (remember to stir occasionally along the way). Check it after a few minutes for you don’t want it totally al dente yet.
Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium high heat. Put in the garlic and red peppers (I add a shake of salt too) and cook until garlic just starts to darken. Turn off the heat while you tend to the pasta.
Before draining, take one cup of the pasta water out and hold for the last steps. This is a trick I learned this year and love it! (more later)
While pasta is draining, turn the heat back on under the garlic to medium.
Add shrimp and cook until slightly pink…
Once the shrimp is starting to turn pink, toss in the cherry tomatoes and saute until they start to soften. You don’t want them mushy.
Keep the fires going and throw in the pasta…
Here’s where you add a bit of the reserved pasta water and perhaps another shake of olive oil to keep things moist and not sticky.
Stir the pasta gently in with the shrimp and tomatoes until both shrimp and pasta are cooked.
Neither should be mushy.
Add the chopped spinach and integrate into the pasta.
I stir it in until it starts to wilt and remove from the heat.
I like the spinach not completely cooked and wilted.
Top with Parmesan cheese…
It is so totally worth the anxiety!
P.S. He couldn’t tell it wasn’t Gulf Shrimp…heh, heh.