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“When Only Shrimp Will Do”

My dad has mentioned several times how shrimp used to be strictly a Sunday dinner type of meal growing up. Obviously, over the years the price of this delicious crustacean has come down dramatically, making it a wonderful weeknight option. This recipe takes less than a half hour, including the prep and the results are wonderful. Don’t forget the pinch of red pepper flakes. They really bring this dish alive. Makes 4 servings.

Ingredients

  • 1-1/2 pounds asparagus, trimmed and cut diagonally into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 1/2 cup oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes, drained & chopped (reserve 2 tablespoons oil)
  • 5 large garlic cloves, diced
  • 1/2 cup fresh basil
  • 1-1/2 pounds peeled raw shrimp
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1-3/4 cups chicken broth
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 2 teaspoons tomato paste
  • 12 ounces penne pasta
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 cup grated Romano cheese (If you don’t have Romano, use 3/4 cups Parmesan)
  • Salt & fresh ground black pepper to taste

Instructions

  1. In a large skillet over medium heat, saute asparagus in the reserved sun-dried tomato oil for 5 minutes or until tender. Transfer asparagus to a bowl.
  2. Add tomatoes, garlic, 1/4 cup of the basil, shrimp, oregano and pepper flakes to the skillet and saute until the shrimp become opaque, around 3 minutes. Then add this to the asparagus on the side.
  3. Add chicken broth, wine and tomato paste to the skillet and boil until thickened, around 5 or 6 minutes.
  4. Cook the pasta according to the package instructions. Drain and return the pasta to the same pot.
  5. Add the asparagus and shrimp, sauce the remaining basil and the cheese to the pasta in the pot.
  6. Toss over low heat until warmed and the pasta is coated completely by the sauce.
  7. Add salt and pepper to taste.

*Wine Recommendation: A light French Chablis goes wonderfully with this meal, taking away some of the heat from the red pepper and perfectly accenting the nuttiness of the shrimp. Look for a low-priced ($10-$15) Chablis from the Loire Valley.

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