There a couple of little tricks to make a great shrimp and pasta dish. First, I always start with raw shrimp with the shells on. The frozen bags of shrimp come in an "easy peel" raw packaging and these are the ones I use. After gently thawing the shrimp, I peel the shrimp and make a stock of the peels by covering them with water and simmering them with parsley, a shallot and a couple of stalks of parsley. The second trick is to use the right cooking technique for the shrimp. The shrimp need to be as dry as possible. Then they should be cooked over high heat in small batches in a small amount of olive oil. If you are not careful to dry the shrimp and cook them quickly they will give off a lot of juice and will boil in their juices. This results in a rubbery and tough shrimp instead of the tender crisp shrimp you are looking for. The shrimp should be cooked on one side until slightly brown, turned over and cooked until just opaque.
With your perfectly cooked shrimp and stock, you can do all kinds of good things. For this dish, I made a sauce from tons of garlic (you can never use to much garlic in my opinion), shallots, stock, fresh lemon juice, crushed red pepper and butter. It tossed some bow tie pasta with the sauce, added the shrimp and served. It was very tasty.
Lemon Garlic Shrimp and Bow Ties
1 package frozen raw "quick peel" shrimp
1 shallot, halved
2 stalks of parsley
1 bay leaf
4 pepper corns
1/2 t. salt
2 T olive oil
2 shallots, diced
6 cloves of garlic minced
1/4 t crushed red pepper
3/4 cup shrimp stock
juice from two lemons
2 T butter
1 box fafalle (bow tie) pasta
1/2 cup of the pasta cooking water
2 T chopped parsley
salt and pepper to taste
Thaw the shrimp according to the package directions.
Peel shrimp and put peels in a small pot, cover with water, add the shallot, parsley, bay leaf, pepper and salt. Simmer for a half hour or so.
Saute shrimp in small batches in a small amount of olive oil per batch.
In the same pan as the shrimp were sauteed, cook the shallots in a bit of olive oil, then the garlic and crushed red pepper. Add the stock and reduce by half. Add the lemon juice and reduce by half again. Turn off heat and melt butter into the sauce.
Add the cooked pasta to the pan w/ 1/2 cup of the pasta cooking liquid. Cook the pasta in the sauce until the pasta is coated with the sauce. Taste and adjust seasonings. Add the shrimp and the parsley and toss together. Makes 4-5 cook size servings.
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