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Sautéed Shrimp with Angel Hair Pasta
By Charlie Burke

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After all the preparation and cooking for Thanksgiving, simpler, lighter meals
are appreciated. We always have frozen shrimp on hand for quick meals or
impromptu entertaining, so this quick dinner was made without having to
make a trip to the store.

I prefer sautéing or grilling shrimp with their shells on because they retrain
moisture lost when cooked shelled. Shrimp are sold by “count”, meaning the
number of shrimp of a specific size in a pound, and these 9 – 12 count are
about the largest available. Certainly the best size for grilling, they also have a
moist, crunchy texture when sautéed over high heat.

Scampi, a different species found in the Mediterranean, are even larger and
customarily are cooked with garlic and white wine in Italy. “Shrimp scampi,”
then, is a misnomer meaning shrimp cooked in the manner of scampi. Most of
the time I use only the basic ingredients topped with a little chopped parsley,
but if I want to vary the recipe I use whatever variation fits the season, adding
basil and chopped fresh tomato or sweet red pepper in the summer and here
using a bit of tomato paste and red pepper flakes. Because it can be prepared
quickly, is packed with flavor and makes a satisfying yet light dinner, some
rendition of shrimp with garlic sautéed in olive oil is my usual answer to
“what’s for dinner” when nothing else has been planned.

Two servings:

10 large shrimp, or 12 ounces smaller size, de-veined but with shells on
5 medium cloves garlic, chopped
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
1 ½ teaspoon tomato paste
6 ounces thin pasta
Pepper flakes
½ cup dry white wine, such as Sauvignon Blanc
½ cup, or more, pasta water
Kosher or sea salt and freshly ground pepper

In a large pot bring 3-4 quarts of water to a boil and add 2 tablespoons of salt.
Cook pasta for 4-6 minutes. Save 1 cup of pasta water and drain pasta when it
is slightly underdone (it will finish cooking from retained heat). Return pasta
to pot and toss with a tablespoon of olive oil.

Heat a heavy sauté pan over high heat then film bottom with olive oil. When
oil shimmers, add shrimp. When the meat in the lower half of the shrimp is
just opaque, turn and cook second side until opaque. Remove shrimp to a
plate, add garlic and a little more oil and cook for a minute or two until garlic
starts to color. Do not let it brown.

Add ½ cup pasta water and ½ cup wine, a pinch of pepper flakes and the
tomato paste and reduce by one half, scraping any fond from the bottom of the
pan. Return shrimp to the pan and add pasta, stirring to mix sauce with the
pasta. Add salt and pepper to taste. If pasta appears dry, add small amounts
of olive oil and reserved pasta water until pasta is shiny. The pasta should be
moist, but there should be little, if any, sauce pooling on the pan.

Serve with a salad and crusty bread for a simple meal that will be appreciated
by family and guests. A full bodied white wine, such a dry, un-oaked
chardonnay would go well. Using this basic recipe you can vary it according
to your own taste and what’s available. Butter can be substituted for the oil or
a small amount added at the end, and a couple of tablespoons of chopped
parsley topping the pasta add color and a fresh taste.

About the author: An organic farmer and avid cook, writer Charlie Burke is the vice
president of the
New Hampshire Farmer's Market Association, president of the NH
Farm to Restaurant Connection and helps run the Sanbornton (NH) Farmers' Market.  
Along with his wife, Joanne, Charlie grows certified organic herbs, greens and berries at
Weather Hill Farm in Sanbornton, NH.  
The Heart of New England
Celebrating the unique character & culture of Maine ~ New Hampshire ~ Vermont
Sauteed Shrimp with Angel Hair Pasta
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...celebrating the unique character & culture of Maine, New Hampshire & Vermont!
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