Sunday, April 3, 2011

Shrimp and Shells In Vodka Sauce

I had a request from my son for my Spaghetti Rosé With Sausage & Peas. The problem was I didn't have most of those ingredients on hand. So I made some substitutions. Shrimp took the place of sausage, leftover grilled asparagus replaced peas and whole wheat shells stood in for the spaghetti.

The results were good enough to please my five-year-old prince. OMG, I can't believe he's already five!!!
Shrimp and Shells In Vodka Sauce
  • 1 lb of shrimp (20 to 25 shrimp per pound), shells removed and deveined
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
  • Olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, chopped small
  • 1 1/2 tbsp minced garlic
  • 1/2 cup vodka
  • 28 oz can diced tomatoes (crushed tomatoes would work if you want a smoother sauce)
  • 1/2 to 3/4 cup heavy whipping cream 
  • 1 1/2 cups grilled or roasted asparagus, cut into 1 inch pieces
  • 1 lb pasta (I used whole wheat shells tonight but a penne would work as well)
Start a large pot of water boiling for the pasta.

In the meantime, heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a large pan over medium-high heat. Lightly sprinkle some salt and pepper over the shrimp and when the oil is glistening, add them to pan. Cook for about 1 1/2 minutes per side until just cooked through (don't overcook!). Set the shrimp aside in a bowl.

Add another tablespoon of oil to the pan. Turn down the heat to medium. When the oil is glistening, add the onions and saute for about 5 minutes or until softened. Add the garlic and saute for a minute more.

Now add the vodka to deglaze the pan, scraping the brown bits off the bottom for about one minute. Add the canned tomatoes and when it comes back to a simmer, cook for 10 more minutes. Stirring occasionally. Now add the cream and when it is back to a simmer, cook for 3 to 5 minutes more. Stirring occasionally.

Add the cooked shrimp and asparagus. Gently stir everything to combine and heat through for another minute. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Turn off the heat and set aside until the pasta is done.

Cook your pasta according to package directions for al dente.

Toss the sauce and drained pasta together in a large serving bowl and serve with grated parmesan cheese on the side.

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