Sweet Shrimp Scampi

I had a girls night out planned for dinner, but before leaving, I quickly made one of my husband’s favorite dishes…. shrimp scampi. The only issue was that I was out of white wine. As a result, I improvised and used some sherry instead. It added a nice sweetness and actually enhanced the dish.

Scampi is another word for langoustine. This word is used in the US as a description of shrimp broiled with butter, lemon & garlic.

Here is my altered recipe for Shrimp Scampi:

1 lb large shrimp, butterflied
1/2 cup butter or margarine
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup sherry or white wine
1/3 sliced bell peppers
juice of 1/2 a lemon
2 oz angel hair pasta, cooked

In a pan, melt butter with garlic.
Add shrimp and sherry or wine.
Cook shrimp until 1/2 way pink.
Add bell pepper and cook through.
Toss in cooked pasta and lemon juice.

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Chateau du Chevre

Today I initially planned on stuffed chicken breasts but the beautiful weather caused me to be a little lazy. As a result, I opted to make a simple pasta dish where I threw together shrimp, asparagus, farfalle & chevre or goat cheese.

Chèvre cheese is cheese made from goat’s milke (chèvre is French for goat). In regions where domesticated goats are kept, many kinds of goat’s milk cheeses are produced. France produces a great number of goat’s milk cheeses, especially in the Loire Valley & Poitou. There are several varieties, including Montrachet and cabecou, which is soaked in brandy. Chevre is usually vacuum-packed, though many connoisseurs seek out the more perishable but tastier paper-wrapped cheeses at specialty shops. Chevre also goes very well with white wine.
Here’s my recipe for Farfalle with Shrimp, Asparagus & Chevre:

2 oz dry farfalle, cooked
2 oz goat cheese
2 tablespoons butter
2 cups of asparagus, steamed & chopped in 1″ sections
1 lb shrimp, cooked
chopped parsley (optional)

Toss cooked asparagus with butter in pan over medium heat.
Add cooked farfalle & shrimp.
Add goat cheese and heat until melted.
To serve, top pasta with crumbled goat cheese.
Garnish with chopped parsley.

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.

Adding Spice to a Chilly Night…

It is yet another cold blusterous day in Chicago… so what better way to warm up the belly with some heat! Tonight I made my version of a cajun shrimp & pasta dish.

Cajun cuisine originates from the French-speaking Acadian or “Cajun” immigrants in the Acadiana region of Louisiana. It’s considered a rustic cuisine that was developed out of necessity usually involving a main dish, rice and vegetables. There is a common misconception outside of south Louisiana that Cajun food is hot and spicy. An authentic Cajun dish will usually have a bit of a “kick” but will not be eye-wateringly hot.

Cajun cuisine is sometimes confused with Creole cuisine, and many outside of Louisiana don’t make the distinction. Creole is more city – urban, cosmopolitan, and inspired by the Spanish, Italian, and African influences of New Orleans – while Cajun dishes have more of a French influence, filtered through common (to Louisiana) ingredients and techniques.

Here is my recipe for Cajun Shrimp & Pasta:
(as you can see, I’m getting better at food porn!)

1 lb raw shrimp, peeled & deveined
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 small onion, chopped
1 cup of sliced bell pepper strips
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/4 paprika
1 tablespoon dried parsley
1 bay leaf
pinch of thyme
salt & pepper to taste
1/2 can tomato sauce
2 tablespoons tomato paste
penne pasta
shredded italian cheese blend for garnish

— Prepare pasta according to directions on package.
— In bowl, season raw shrimp with all the seasonings; set aside.
— In a shallow pan, saute garlic and onion in some cooking oil.
— Add shrimp and cooked it it starts to turn pink.
— Add tomato sauce and paste. Stir.
— Season with salt & pepper to tastes.
— Add bell pepper strips. Cook through.
— When pasta is cooked & drained, add to pan.
— Toss to combine. Plate & garnish with cheese.