Monday, March 10, 2008

Pasta and Shrimp a la Lisa

Sometimes you just run out of ideas for supper don’t you? Coming up with something that 1) everyone will eat, 2) is new and different and 3) doesn’t take 2 hours to prepare is a challenge. The return of spring helps. The grill is utilized much more often. We do use it year round, but there are those days when winter storms and the wind chill factor make it a not so enjoyable experience.

I decided to experiment. Since both the kids appetites have been poor during this illness I wanted to create something creamy and cheesy, cause they both really like creamy and cheesy foods. Well if you think about it, who doesn’t like creamy and cheesy foods? I suppose those supermodels that eat a blueberry and are stuffed, they wouldn’t like creamy and cheesy.

Anyway…..I didn’t want it to be an overly heavy dish. Simple and quick. So off to the freezer, what do I have in there that can be defrosted fast??? Shrimp! I always have shrimp. One of the perks of living in the ocean state, lots of seafood available. I plopped the shrimp into some water to defrost and got started, and this is what I ended up with.

Pasta & Shrimp a la Lisa
1 pound ziti (or any other pasta that will hold on to some sauce)
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons butter
1 medium onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
½ cup white wine
1 cup heavy cream
½ cup tomato sauce
½ pound cooked shrimp
freshly grated parmesan cheese
salt & pepper

The first thing I did was to drain the shrimp and give it a toss in the old salad spinner to get most of the water out. I then cut them in half to make them bite size pieces. Set aside. Remember these were pre-cooked shrimps. I’m only going to heat them through in this dish.

While the pasta cooks, sauté the onion in the olive oil and butter. When the onions are soft and translucent, add the minced garlic. Pour in the wine, then the heavy cream and lastly the tomato sauce and let it come to a simmer. Just as the pasta is ready to come out of the water throw the shrimp in the sauce and let it cook for about 2 minutes. Add salt & pepper to taste.

Drain the pasta and add to the sauce. At this point I throw in a handful of parmesan cheese, a la Jamie Oliver. Do you watch his new show and see how much cheese he puts on stuff? Amazing! He grates it on top using a monster grater and the cheese just falls everywhere. He is so messy! Ok back to the pasta…toss and serve.

This was good! Really good. Evan, who hasn’t eaten very well at all in the last 5 days asked for seconds! The sauce was very similar to a vodka sauce but lighter. Next time I would add some chopped parsley and some fresh basil, but I didn’t want to push it with Evan. All he needed was an excuse not to eat, and sometimes when he sees herbs in a dish he call it “grass” and will refuse to eat it. So this time I wasn’t taking a chance. Next time I will.
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