Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Weeknight Quickies, Part II

I was watching “Everyday Food” on PBS the other day and got a little inspiration for a quick and easy weeknight meal. I am always looking for new pasta dishes as pasta is by far my most favorite food, and such an easy food to prepare during the week. I consider myself to be a pastaholic, if there could be such a thing! The recipe shown on Everyday Food was a pasta dish with shrimp, tomatoes and fresh basil. I really liked the idea of using shrimp as an alternative to ground meat or chicken.

This recipe was very minimal. Aside from the shrimp, the sauce was really just a bit of garlic, olive oil, a can of diced tomatoes and some cherry tomatoes used as a garnish. The recipe also called for two cups of water to thin the sauce.

Although the recipe, which I downloaded off the PBS website, looked tasty and it seemed very easy to make, I thought I could use the recipe as a template and build on it without compromising the ease and convenience of this weeknight meal.

I began by sautéing some garlic and red pepper flakes, or pepperocino if you prefer, in extra-virgin olive oil. The Everyday Food recipe didn’t call for red pepper flakes, but the sauce seemed a bit spice-baron and I thought it needed a little pick-me-up with a healthy helping of red pepper flakes. To this, I added a 15oz can of diced tomatoes, about ¾ of a pound of 26-30 count (a.k.a large) shrimp, some fresh basil, and salt and pepper to season. Rather than adding the 2 cups of water the recipe called for, I decided to thin my sauce with white wine and chicken broth. I eyeballed the amounts of each liquid, but I thought wine and chicken broth would thin the consistency of the sauce to my liking, but also add a nice flavor to it. The sauce cooked for about eight minutes. At the very last minute I added a handful of sliced cherry tomatoes and served this sauce over linguine.

This was a very nice meal for midweek. The sauce had a nice kick to it from the red pepper flakes and the shrimp added a nice meatiness to the sauce making it feel hearty and healthy. I also liked the freshness and texture that the cherry tomatoes added. It was a very easy, very quick and very tasty home cooked weeknight meal.

Until next time…

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