Saturday, December 10, 2011

Spicy Shrimp Awesomeness!

Things you always double: Mushrooms, Red Pepper Flakes and now Shrimp. I did double the red pepper and it was the perfect amount. What I did not do was increase the amount of shrimp (or decrease the amount of pasta). Other than wishing for a little bit more shrimp this dish was spot on! I did not put in the fennel fronds because it taste like grass but the basil was pretty clutch. It does make a ton so be prepared for leftover or adjust the amount.
FYI: Orecchiette is just the shape of the pasta, sort of a semi-formed shell. Any type of pasta that is good at "grabbing" sauce would be fine. But saying "spicy shrimp orecchiette" sounds super fancy!
2nd FYI: Just had some for breakfast and it was even more amazing since soaking up the sauce and flavor overnight. Delicious.
Spicy Shrimp Orecchiette
(adapted from Food Network Magazine)
Kosher salt
12 ounces orecchiette pasta
1 cup reserved pasta cooking water
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
1 small bulb fennel, chopped, plus 1 tablespoon chopped fennel fronds
2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes (I doubled to 1/2 teaspoon)
1 large tomato, chopped
1/2 pound medium shrimp, peeled, deveined and roughly chopped 
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
1 cup torn fresh basil
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, 6 to 8 minutes.
3. Reduce the heat to medium and add the garlic, tomato paste and red pepper flakes. Cook, stirring, 2 more minutes (add a splash of water if the mixture is sticking).
4. Stir in the tomato, shrimp, 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1 cup of the reserved cooking water. Bring to a simmer and cook, stirring occasionally, until the tomatoes are saucy, about 8 more minutes.
5. Add the pasta and cheese to the sauce and toss to coat. Drizzle with olive oil, season with salt and add more of the reserved pasta water to loosen, if necessary. Stir in the basil leaves and fennel fronds.

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