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Sunday Stovetop: Shrimp Scampi Pasta with Feta & Olives

- Nuffnang blogger Triportreats -

Shrimp scampi pasta with feta and olives

Last Sunday, I realized how much I had missed whipping up something in my kitchen. My sister-in-law called me up and requested that I make my shrimp scampi for a get together at her place, and I was all excited to be able to flex my cooking muscles. Here's the recipe; it's super easy and I'm sure you guys will love it as much as everyone at the party.

To make the scampi you need several ingredients available on most supermarkets, nothing fancy over here... but I do have a secret weapon. I'm also not very keen on actual portioning since I usually eyeball things, so it's up to you how much or how little you wanna add on some of the herbs.

Shrimp

To make scampi, first you need some... well, scampi, otherwise known as shrimp. I like to buy the shell-on kind so that the flavors are still intact. You need to peel them but you can use the shells and head as seasoning for another dish (or for ginisa).  Buy about half a kilo to a kilo, depends how generous you want to be with the shrimp.

Linguine

I picked up some linguine pasta, and am happy that my nearby grocery stocks some good Italian brands at the same price as most local ones. I like Colavita because it's made from semolina flour; a must for good pasta. Since I'm feeding a group of 20, about two bags of pasta would be good enough.

Shallots

Most scampi I know uses just garlic, but I'm a stickler for shallots and their fragrant sweet aroma, so I like to put some in all my pasta. I probably got about 6 of the small bulbs and peel them.

Red pepper flakes

Not more than a teaspoon. It actually gives a more robust flavor and not so much heat, if added sparingly. Since I was feeding about 20 people, I put in about 1-2 teaspoons.

Italian flat leaf parsley

Flat leaf parsley is found on the herbs section of the produce aisle. I like flat leaf more than the curly parsley because its herbaceous aroma is deeper than the garnish version of the parsley. Don't use the stalks, and just have enough to yield half to three-quarters cup when chopped.

Oregano

I love herbs, and oregano gives an earthiness to the dish. Plus it works well with the flat leaf parsley. A teaspoon of the leaves will do.

Lemon is any shrimp dish's best friend. The zest of the entire lemon perks up the entire dish as well as the juice. Just make sure when you zest it that it's more yellow than white parts that are included. Don't forget to remove the seeds.

If you have some dry white wine leftover from a previous drinking session, grab about a cup of it to de-glaze the pan and give a fuller flavor to the pasta. I picked Spanish wine because... well, I drank all the others. 

And my secret ingredient: Emborg's White Cheese with Olives & Herbs

Bottled in olive oil, I use the oil to saute the garlic, also to put in the pasta water so they don't stick. This gives a bit of a Mediterranean flavor to the scampi. If you can't find this in your supermarket, some feta and Kalamata olives will do.

First off: Prep the herbs

Zest the lemon, and extract the juice. Set it aside for later.

Roll the flat leaf parsley into a secure little sausage, and finely chop them to little strips. That Santoku knife has been with me from my college days. Trusty Wusthof.

Finely mince the shallots. Now if you think I don't have the patience nor the knife skills to pull this off... we'll you're most certainly right.

I use a handy "Hand Chopper" to do the dirty for me.

In 20 seconds of pumping the chopper, I get my shallots and garlic to a perfect mince. I can't complain. You should get one too, I got mine from OXO.

Let's start cooking!

Boil a pot of water with some salt, and when it starts to bubble, put in the linguine. Time it to about 10-11 minutes of cooking, covered.

While the pasta is cooking, use some of the olive oil in the cheese & olive jar, heat it to medium, and saute the shallots and garlic for about three minutes, until the shallots turn clear and the garlic begins to brown.

Meanwhile, season the peeled shrimp with some sea salt and pepper. Easy on the salt, as the cheese and shrimp have their own brine.

When the garlic is on the verge of browning, add the seasoned shrimp.

Cook the shrimp until all the grey parts turn a light orange, which takes about three minutes. But don't overcook, because it might turn tough.

This is the color you want to achieve.

At that point, mix in the oregano, red peppers, lemon zest and the lemon juice, and mix it well. Save the parsley for later.

After mixing the herbs around for a minute, pour the wine to deglaze the pan and to bring out the flavors of the herbs. Let it bubble for a couple of minutes until the alcohol is reduced.

Photo-op

After 10 minutes, the pasta is cooked! Before you drain it, save about two or three ladles of the pasta water, which is starchy and perfect to thicken the pasta sauce.

Pour in about two ladles of the pasta water on the shrimp, and let it boil to thicken.

Add the drained linguine and let it sit for a minute so it absorbs the sauce. Don't worry if it looks runny in the beginning, the pasta will absorb it.

Dump the bottled cheese and olives and toss the pasta so the cheese incorporates and melts. This is starting to smell really good.

Finally, add the chopped parsley to the hot pasta to release its herbaceousness.

It's time to plate

And Voila! A very hearty, easy meal that you can prepare in about 20 minutes and will feed your pasta cravings. Or until I start another crazy, no-carb, no-nothing diet. Mmm!

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