Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Weeknight Dinner: Shrimp and Pasta Primavera

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Lately I have been in the mood for shrimp.  This is pretty weird since I prefer really nice fish filets to shrimp, but, a craving is a craving.  And, since it wasn't a craving for extra ice cream, or something like that, I indulged.  I immediately thought of pasta primavera because I have such fond memories of the dish growing up.

My mom loves pasta primavera and I remember (I must have been 10-12 years old) for one of her birthdays, my dad decided we were going to make all her favorite foods.  He was off from work, or it was a Saturday, so Mom was banned from the kitchen and we got started.  Dad did the hard stuff, like thinly slice the vegetables, etc.  We also made oatmeal chocolate chip cookies, a recipe Dad had from Famous Amos.  I was in charge of mixing the cookies together. 

What Dad didn't know...what none of us knew, is that the recipe made 9 dozen cookies!!  I just remember Mom walking in to baking sheet after baking sheet filled with cookies!  I'm not sure where they all went, although I'm sure we didn't have a problem eating them.  But, I remember being scared to try this pasta dish that we had never had before.  And then, it was SO GOOD.  Dad has his mom's way of adding, subtracting, and making a delicious dish without ever looking at a recipe.  I hope I inherited some of that. 
Shrimp and Pasta Primavera (adapted from here)
Serves: 4
2 cloves garlic
1 yellow squash
1 green bell pepper
3 large carrots
10 asparagus
1/4 cup olive oil
1 pound shrimp (30-40 count size)
1 box thin spaghetti
8 ounces cherry tomatoes
1 cup white wine (we used Riesling)
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese*

Mince the garlic.  Then, chop the squash, bell pepper, carrots, and asparagus into small bite-sized pieces.  Heat olive oil in a very large skillet.  When the oil is hot, add the garlic and saute about 2 minutes.  Then, add the shrimp and let saute about 5 minutes on each side (until fully cooked).  Remove the shrimp and add the vegetables to the hot skillet, cooking about 10 minutes, until tender.  Start the pasta, according to package instructions in a pot.  Add the white wine and cherry tomatoes, and also return the shrimp to the pan.  Let cook 5 minutes, and add in the drained, cooked spaghetti.  Let simmer together 15 minutes, until fully combined.   Plate and top with freshly grated Parmesan cheese. 
*While it is true I like shortcuts and money savings, the freshly grated cheese here is key.  It tastes way better and the sharpness that you can't find in that powdered stuff, is what really makes the dish go from good to WOW! 

I adapted this recipe from the Culinary Passport, a blog that I loved last year.  When it stopped getting updated, I was crushed!  It seemed like such a novel concept to me, deliberately cooking authentic international dishes. 

I'd like to start researching more cultures and their food habits.  Of course, that would also mean I'd have to travel more.  Lately, I have been itching to get all over the world.  There is something inside of me that is eagerly anticipating the time when I can travel the world and really explore different ways of life and cooking on this planet. 

For now, I will have to stick to transporting myself there through culinary creations!

Until the next time my oven is on...

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Welcome! I'm Dani (aka the Growing Foodie), just a girl balancing her career and passion for all things edible in NYC. I hope you'll join me in my adventures in life, through food. (Click for More)
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