Sunday, February 27, 2011

Penne Pasta with Tomato Sherry Sauce and Shrimp


Sometimes a little birdy will send comic strips in the mail.  My mom birdy is the only person I've ever known to do this.  Anybody else get those?  Here was the latest...

How cute. I love food jokes.

So this recipe is from Rachel Ray.  She did hers with mushrooms (Chris was so sad when I didn't include any... sorry folks- not my fav) and lobster.  I think I'll save the lobster for Ina's luxerious mac n cheese, until then shrimp will do.  And they did JUST FINE!  Oh yummy.

Having bought the Sherry, I wanted to use it again quickly- seeing that it's more like a typical bottle of wine as opposed to harder alcohol: goes bad after a few days vs. stores well for a long time.  I also had some stock I needed to use up from the lentil soup ingredients.  So this recipe fit the bill!

Penne Pasta with Tomato Sherry Cream Sauce and Shrimp 
(inspired from Rachel Ray)

1 1/2 pounds penne rigate (see cartoon above) or pasta of your choice
3 tbls EVOO (for all you non-Rachel-ers, that Extra Virgin Olive Oil)
3 medium shallots
4 cloves garlic
1/2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
1/2 cup dry sherry
1/2 cup chicken stock
1 pound cooked shrimp
1 tsp lemon zest
1/2 heavy cream
hand full of freshly cut parsley
salt and pepper

Chop all the necessary ingredients up first, this sauce happens all so quickly.
I do love shallot.  They are criers for sure.  Such mild pleasant flavor.  And I love their color too!

Makes you want to string them up on a necklace and where 'em?! So pretty.

Cut them like you would a normal onion, keep the dicing easy.

Get your pasta water boiling.  There are so many theories on salting water, putting olive oil in the water, etc.  I say: 1) bring water to a boil , 2) add LOTS of salt, 3) avoid oil in the water especially when you want the noodles to soak up the sauce.  And with this dish, you want the noodles to wear the sauce with pride!

Cook shallots over medium heat for about 6-7 min.  Add garlic and red pepper flakes

Grab your sherry.  We've been using this cork stopper that can suck the air out of a bottle (air is what makes a wine age quickly).  We've found that this can buy you a day or two on a bottle (but not much more)... and really if it's lasting longer than that- it probably wasn't that good to begin with, right?  If it's good, drink it sooner than later.  Life's to short to keep it in the fridge.

So there's my two cents on one of our many wine gadgets.  Gotta love em.

Turn heat down and deglaze the pan with the sherry.

Turn heat back up and add stock.

Then add your tomatoes.  I LOVE tomatoes, but in my sauces I like things smaller, no chunks for me unless it's protein(I puree'd my tomatoes, but do as your wish)

Bring to a boil.

In the mean time, cook your shrimp.  Mine came already cooked, so I just seasoned them with some of the lemon zest, salt and pepper, warming them through.

When pasta is done, add your sauce, shrimp, rest of lemon zest and then heavy cream all together.  Salt and pepper well!

Cook together for a minute or two- letting everything mix well and cling to the noodles.

Garnish with parsley for pretty and to liven up the flavor.

My always "happy to help" food model.
We were ready for a hot a lunch seeing that it was 20 degrees outside.  Warm meals always combat the arctic chill.

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