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Shrimp Fettucini and a few words about pasta

I had our literary group to my house for our book review and luncheon today and decided to serve them one of my favorite dishes -- Shrimp Fettucini.  I got the original recipe from my friend Barb, who is one of the best cooks I know.  Since getting the recipe, I have cut back on the oil and butter, and I sometimes substitute chicken for the shrimp if my guests don't like or are allergic to shellfish--just cut it into chunks and cook with the veggies, or panfry it separately, cut it up, and add just before serving.  I also add vegetables to the basic recipe, like today when I added asparagus (doesn't asparagus just taste like spring to you?)  It's a very adaptable recipe, and always delicious.

So here's the basic recipe -- enough for 8-10 people, depending on what else you're feeding them:

Shrimp Fettucini

1 Cup olive oil
1/2 stick (4 Tbsp) real butter
1 lb fresh mushrooms, sliced
16 green onions, chopped
12 cloves garlic, pressed or diced
2 lbs large shrimp (I get frozen raw shrimp, already peeled and deveined, but you can use fresh)
14 oz brown rice fettucini (or regular pasta for you wheat-eating people)
1/4 Cup fresh lemon juice
2 tsp pepper
shredded parmesan cheese (you can use grated, but shredded looks and tastes better)

Prepare the pasta and have it dried and waiting between two clean kitchen towels.

This cooks pretty fast, so it's best to have everything chopped (veggies), thawed (shrimp) and ready to go before you begin.

Put on a kettle of water to boil (will be used with pasta later).  Heat the oil and butter over medium to low heat.  You don't want it so hot that the garlic browns.  Saute mushrooms, green onions, garlic and any veggies you're adding in the oil/butter mixture.  Add shrimp and cook until it turns pink.  Sprinkle with lemon juice and pepper.  Taste and season with salt if you think it needs some.  Transfer to serving bowl.  Warning:  don't cook the shrimp too long--just until it's pink--or it will be rubbery.  That's why I use raw shrimp.  If you use pre-cooked shrimp, it gets rubbery just heating up in the sauce.

Put dried pasta into a colander, pour boiling water over it to reheat and unstick it.  Drain and put into a serving bowl; pour a little olive oil over it and toss to keep it from clinging together.  Serve immediately. 
The shredded parmesan can be served in its own little bowl so each person can take as much as they like.

For my luncheon today I took the tails off the shrimp (this was a group of ladies, after all), but if you like to get up close and personal with your food you can leave them on, necessitating putting the shrimp in your mouth and pulling the tail off with your fingers while you're eating them (I admit that 9 times out of 10 I leave them on :).  As you can see in the picture, I used a combination of brown and white mushrooms today, and added the asparagus mentioned earlier.  That little pile of yellow stuff in the picture is the pressed garlic.  I served it with a green salad.  Doesn't that make a pretty plate?

I love pasta!  Since going wheat free, I've tried about every kind of pasta out there in wheat-free-ville:  corn pasta, quinoa pasta, spinach pasta (which turned out to have wheat in it--no wonder it was so good!).  Both the corn and quinoa pasta tended to dissolve in the water or fall apart after cooking, tasted funny to me, and had a weird mouth-feel.  Finally I found Tinkyada Pasta Joy brown rice pasta.  It's a little pricey, but worth every penny -- it cooks, tastes, and feels just like pasta should.  When I serve it to guests, they never suspect that it's not the real deal.  And it comes in quite a few shapes -- spirals, shells, elbow, fettucini, spaghetti, fusilli, and penne.  There is a caveat, though.  For perfect results, you have to follow the cooking instructions exactly, (timing, rinsing with cold water, drying) which is a little more work than wheat pasta, but worth the results.  I've also discovered that if I'm going to put in into the sauce I've made (i.e. mixed into spaghetti sauce or when making macaroni and cheese), it helps to cook it 2 or 3 minutes shorter than the time given because it cooks a little getting heated up in the sauce.  Here's a picture of what the packaging looks like so you can find it where you live.  They also have a website.  If you love pasta, you'll love this!

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