Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Spaghetti al Limone With Blistered Tomatoes, Shrimp & Bread Crumbs

Spaghetti al Limone With Blistered Tomatoes, Shrimp & Bread Crumbs Recipe

There is this restaurant that opened up in 2012 and I would have to say if my life depended on it and I had to make the declaration, I would crown it my favorite new discovery of the year. It's the kind of place we were eager to go back to and never did. We really wanted to and we tried, but they are so unaccommodating. Can you believe we can't just show up on a Friday or Saturday night and get a table? We can't even call a week prior to get a table. Planning one month prior scores us a reservation at 5:30 or 9:30 {this isn't New York, we are all home in our jammies by 9:30}. Aren't we in a recession? I don't know, I can only conclude that we are not planners and they have some nerve. Nerve: offering a menu that makes you want to order one of everything and then realizing that everything you taste surpasses your expectations; nerve: attracting such crowds. 

Well, driven by sheer determination, we planned ahead and got a reservation. We ordered a beer {he} and a glass of wine{me} and sampled some amazing small plates and entrees. Every bit as good as what we experienced during our initial pilgrimage. 

And then I had a Eureka moment. Bread crumbs. I spied it on the ink squid with blistered tomatoes dish and  realized that that could be part of the final chapter of MY pasta dish.

My pasta dish is something I have been working on for quite some time and have never mentioned it before because it was a work in progress. It started out with whole grain pasta, mixed in with a simmering sauce of olive oil, butter, garlic, white wine and blistered tomatoes. Each time I made this dish it was OK, but not good. I challenged myself to make it good - good enough so that I would not utter the words - this is good but next time I would...{fill in the blank}. Those next times included upping the ante on garlic, adding lemon juice and lemon zest and continually increasing those quantities, and then finally...adding bread crumbs.  Bread crumbs {only homemade} were the missing link - that crispy, well seasoned extra something that made this dish exactly what I always wanted it to be. 

This is an easy recipe that produces a clean, refreshing, light {for the pasta world} dinner. I was happy with this version, enough to actually share it with you - all of you fellow garlic and lemon fans. Enjoy.

Spaghetti al Limone With Blistered Tomatoes, Shrimp & Bread Crumbs

12 oz whole grain spaghetti, cooked al dente and drained
1/4 c pasta water
1 slice of whole grain bread {I like the very dense Ezekiel brand}
olive oil
sea salt and freshly ground pepper
2.5 T butter
1/2 medium sweet yellow onion, chopped
2 T minced fresh garlic, or more to taste
2 T dry white wine
zest of 2 medium size lemons
juice of 2 medium size lemons
1 pint cherry or grape tomatoes, cut in half
20 oz of raw jumbo shrimp, cleaned, tails removed and cut into thirds
finishing salt and crushed red pepper {optional}

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

To make bread crumbs, remove and discard the crust from the slice of bread. Tear the bread into small pieces and pulse in a food processor briefly to get a fine consistency. Toss with 2 t of olive oil. Spread bread crumbs in a single layer on a baking sheet and give them a dusting of salt and pepper. Bake for 3 minutes and stir. Return to oven for a few minutes and remove when the bread crumbs are a nice golden brown. Set aside.

Heat butter and 3 T of olive oil in a large saute pan. When butter has melted, add onion and saute, stirring often until it begins to soften, about 3 or 4 minutes. Add the garlic and stir, letting it cook until it becomes fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add wine, lemon juice, lemon zest and 1/4 t of salt and 1/4 t pepper. Cook for 30 seconds. Reduce heat to medium-low and add tomatoes.

Stir and cook covered until the tomatoes begin to blister, about 15 minutes.

Add 1/4 c of reserved pasta water and then place the shrimp on top of the tomatoes and cook covered

until shrimp is just cooked through {this was 4 minutes for me}. 

Add pasta to the pan and toss well.

To serve, divide the pasta between 4 plates and finish by sprinkling bread crumbs on top. Serve with finishing salt, a pepper mill and crushed red pepper on the side. {I know artistes frown upon this but it's a free county and everyone has the right to adjust seasonings to suit their taste}.

Serves 4.

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Source: Jill Crusenberry

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