October 13, 2013

Shrimply Irresistible!

We keep seeing those Buitoni pasta commercials, advertising an easy date night dinner of shrimp scampi.  The guy rips open the bag of pasta and shrimp and dumps it into a pan, and voila!  "Homemade" date night dinner, lit candles and all.  After much joking about having Buitoni shrimp scampi for dinner, we decided to make our version of date night shrimp pasta.  Shrimp primavera was definitely our inspiration here, despite it being Fall.

The most time consuming part is cleaning the shrimp, and even then, you can just buy shrimp that are already shelled and cleaned.  But if you're like us and buy the shell-on shrimp, you'll need to peel and devein your shrimp.  At the very least, take out the main vein on the back side.    Just run a paring knife down the back, run it under some water, and you're done.  No one wants to eat shrimp poop!

While Justin was cleaning the shrimp, I got to chopping up some onion, garlic, and tomatoes for our sauce.  We had a couple small beefsteak tomatoes and some yellow romas from our share, but you can use whatever you have on hand.  We just let them cook down and release their juices.  If you have grape or cherry tomatoes on hand, as an alternative, throw them on a backing sheet and pop them in the oven to roast.  Once they start to pop, pull them out, and then just smash them with a potato masher for a nice, roasted tomato sauce.

But back to our sauce.  We poured a little white wine, Italian sauvignon blanc to be exact, into the pan to deglaze it, and get all those tasty bits off the bottom of the pan.  Don't forget to cook your pasta while your sauce is cooking.  The shrimp don't take long to cook up, so toss them into your sauce when your pasta is almost al dente.  Since we still wanted some bit to our asparagus, we threw them in with the shrimp.
When your pasta is done, reserve some of the starchy cooking liquid.  Justin wanted to be absolutely sure the pasta was done, so he threw some on the cabinet...it was done!
Once your shrimps are nice and pink, add in a bit of the pasta water and give it a good stir, before tossing in your pasta.
Give it a good toss so all of the pasta is coated in your sauce.  We topped ours with some fresh chopped parsley and basil, and some parmesan cheese.  And to accompany our pasta, we threw together a Fall salad of mixed greens, apple, toasted walnuts, blue cheese, and a cranberry balsamic vinaigrette.
Date night dinners can still be easy without coming from a bag!

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