Shrimp Special

Tonight was a “whip up dinner” night and so it was shrimp that adorned our plate. I made a shrimp florentine pasta dish with a garlic butter wine sauce.

There are many different species of shrimp, but generally speaking, the larger the shrimp, the tastier. In the US and Britain, large shrimp are called prawns; in India, all shrimp are prawns.

Here’s my recipe for shrimp florentine pasta with garlic butter wine sauce:

1/2 lb shrimp
1 tablespoon minced garlic
olive oil
1/2 stick butter
1/2 cup white wine
2 oz dried angel hair pasta, cooked
2 diced tomatoes, seeded
1 cup spinach
Salt & pepper to taste.
shredded parmesan cheese

In a pan, saute garlic in olive oil.
Add wine and reduce slightly.
Add shrimp and cook until slightly pink
Add butter tomatoes, spinach and cook through.
Season to taste with salt, pepper.
Toss in cooked angel hair pasta.
Serve & top with parmesan cheese.

Lasagna with a Spinach Spin!

After closing my kitchen due to all the dining out this weekend, I’m thankful for the opportunity to make something at home. Tonight, I made a Chicken Florentine Lasagna, from Cooking Light.
Florentine refers to foods that are cooked in the style of Florence… specifically egg, meat and fish dishes that contain spinach and, most often, a creamy Mornay-style sauce.

The connection between the key ingredients and the city of Florence isn’t really clear. The closest explanation comes from an unverified story about the Italian wife of France’s Henry II, Catherine de Medici. She is credited with introducing a number of Italian foods to France including Italian ices and sherbet. Supposedly, Catherine introduced spinach to the Court of France around the year 1550. To honor her Italian heritage, she decided to call any dish containing spinach ‘Florentine‘.

Our modern definition of Florentine developed in France in the early or mid- 19th century when Spinach began turning up in fancier dishes that mostly likely already had a cream sauce component.

Here is my altered version of Chicken Florentine Lasagna:

Cooking spray
6 no-boil lasagna noodles (Barilla brand)
2 tablespoons cooking oil
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 small onion, chopped
1/2 cup sliced mushrooms
1 1/2 cups shredded cooked chicken breast
1 (10oz) pkg frozen spinach, thawed, drained & squeezed dry
3/4 cup preshredded Italian-blend cheese
1 1/2 cups pasta sauce (homemade or jarred)
salt, pepper, dried basil, dried oregano to taste

– In pan, saute garlic and onions in cooking oil.
– Add chicken and spinach.
– Season with spices to taste and cook until warmed through.
– Spray bottom of 8×8 pan.
– Spread 1/4 cup sauce in bottom pan.
– Arrange 2 noodles over sauce; top with chicken & spinach mixture.
– Top with some italian cheese blend and then 3/4 cup sauce.
– Repeat layers, ending with noodles.
– Spread remaining sauce over noodles.
– Cover and bake at 375 degrees for 45 minutes.
– Uncover & top with cheese; bake an additional 5 minutes.
– Let stand 5 minutes.
– Before serving, top with mornay sauce below.

Meanwhile, prepare a garlic parmesan mornay sauce:

3 tablespoons margarine or butter
1 heaping tablespoon flour
1 cup half & half
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1/2 cup italian cheese blend

– In small sauce pan, melt margarine/butter.
– Add flour and cook until bubbly.
– Slowly add half & half and let it come to a low boil.
– Remove from heat & stir in cheese until melted through.