29. March 2016 · Comments Off on Linguine alle Cozze con Pomodoro · Categories: Cooking, Food · Tags: , , ,

A classic hearty pasta dish. Delicious when mussels are in season.

Prep time: about 20 minutes if starting with fresh tomatoes, 10 minutes if using canned
Cook time: about 15 minutes.

What you need:
1 1/2 lb. Roma tomatoes, blanched, peeled, seeded, and chopped (or two cans of whole tomatoes, drained and diced)
3 cloves garlic, sliced thin
1/4 tsp dried oregano
1/3 cup fresh basil, cut in ribbons
1/2 cup dry white wine, unoaked
1/4 cup olive oil
2 lbs mussels in shell, scrubbed and de-bearded
1/2 lb. dried linguine
Juice from 1/2 lemon
Kosher salt or fine sea salt

What you do:

Sort and clean mussels, discarding any with cracked or broken shells, or dead specimens (shell will gape open and not stay closed when squeezed shut).

Bring a large pot of well-salted water to a boil. Add linguine and cook until al-dente, about 11 minutes.

While pasta cooks, add olive oil to a large covered skillet and place over medium-high heat. Add garlic and oregano and stir, until garlic is aromatic, but not colored. Add mussels and turn heat to high. Toss with oil and let cook 1-2 minutes, then add wine, tomatoes, and all the basil but about a tablespoon, cover, and cook for 3-4 minutes until mussels are just opened.

Remove mussels from pan to a bowl, discarding any that did not open. Continue to cook tomatoes over high heat for another 4-5 minutes, or until sauce is reduced by about half. Add lemon juice. Season with salt to taste.

Reserve a dozen mussels to the side, and remove all the rest from their shells. Drain pasta and return to pot, add sauce from pan and the shelled mussel meats and toss for 1-2 minutes over medium heat. Remove from heat and serve pasta surrounded by a half-dozen mussels in the shell and topped with a large pinch of the remaining basil.

Makes 2 hearty servings.

24. February 2016 · Comments Off on Scampi, Interrupted · Categories: Cooking, Food · Tags: , , , ,

This is one of those meals that is not only tasty as hell, but you can bang it out in less than a half hour using two pans. I took some liberties with a straight-forward shrimp scampi dish to streamline it for a quick-n-dirty, need something for dinner now prep.

Prep time: about 10-15 minutes to peel shrimp and chop herbs.
Cook time: 10-12 minutes.

What you need:
8 oz. dry linguini
1 lb. shrimp, peeled and deveined (thawed quick-frozen is acceptable)
3 tbsp. unsalted butter
2 ½ tbsp. olive oil
1 ½ tsp kosher salt
4 cloves of minced garlic (about 2 tsp. of pre-minced, but don’t use garlic powder)
⅓ cup chopped fresh basil or flat parsley (I prefer basil)
¼ cup lemon juice

Optional:
If you have time, use fresh lemons. Juice two lemons to get your ¼ cup of juice, and grate the zest of half a lemon and set aside.
Coarse ground black pepper to taste
Flaked red pepper to taste

What you do:

Start your pasta – bring a large pot of water to a boil and salt generously. Cook linguine for about 10 minutes (depending on brand) until al-dente.

While pasta is cooking, in a large skillet add olive oil and melt butter over medium heat. When butter/oil mixture foams, add minced garlic and saute for one minute. Do not brown.

Add your shrimp and season with the kosher salt. Sautee over medium heat for 4-5 minutes, until pink and just to the point of being no longer translucent. Keep the shrimp moving so they do not burn/overcook.

Add the lemon juice, parsley or basil, optional lemon zest, optional pepper(s), toss with the shrimp and heat through. Remove from heat.

By now, your pasta should be just about done. Drain and immediately add to the shrimp mixture in the skillet. Over low-medium heat, toss the pasta and shrimp together until well combined and the pasta is coated with the butter sauce. Serve into warmed pasta bowls and, if you’d like, grate/shave some hard Italian cheese (parmesan, asiago, romano, etc.) over top.