Monday, November 28, 2011

Spicy Shrimp Orecchiette

I hope everyone had a fantastic Thanksgiving. We had a great time up north with my family for the holiday. We were really lucky and they were having "mild" weather so it wasn't as big of a shock but still required a sweater. I will even admit it was nice to have the crisp fall air and be able to go for a hike in the woods with my family. I absolutely love this holiday and all of the cooking and family time. Another part of traveling that I enjoy is getting a chance to read a bunch of magazines on the plane rides. I of course had a few food related ones in my mix and found a bunch of recipes to try upon our return home.

This recipe was delicious, with a little heat but not too much if you are worried about it being overwhelming. The shrimp provides a great source of low fat protein and was a nice change from all of the turkey we had over the weekend. You could even add in some diced zucchini, squash or spinach. I might add some in with the left overs tomorrow.

Spicy Shrimp Orecchiette
Serves 4

Kosher Salt
12 ounces orecchiette pasta
2 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 small bulb of fennel, chopped, plus 1 Tablespoon chopped fennel fronds
2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
2 Tablespoons tomato paste
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 large tomato, chopped
1/2 pound medium shrimp, peeled, deveined and roughly chopped
1/2  cup grated parmesan cheese
Fresh basil, torn

1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the pasta and cook as the label directs. Reserve 1 1/2 cups cooking water, then drain.

2. Meanwhile, heat 2 Tablespoons olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the chopped fennel bulb and 1/2 teaspoon salt and cook, stirring occasionally, until golden brown, about 6-8 minutes.

3. Reduce heat to medium and add the garlic, tomato paste, and red pepper flakes. Cook stirring 2 more minutes (add a splash of water if mixture is sticking). Stir in the tomato, shrimp, 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1 cup of reserved cooking water. Bring to a simmer and cook stirring occasionally, until the tomatoes are saucy, about 8 more minutes.

4. Add the pasta and cheese to sauce and toss to coat. Drizzle with olive oil, season with salt and pepper ( add more reserved pasta water to loosen if necessary). Stir in the basil leaves and fennel fronds (optional). Divide among plates.

Source: Food Network Magazine

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