April 5, 2007

a light shrimp pasta version

Holy Week has always been observed in the Philippines where I grew up Catholic. When I was young, we were not allowed to play or be noisy especially during Holy Thursday and Good Friday. Every Friday of the Lenten season, more fish, seafood and vegetables are consumed due to the required fasting and abstinence from meat. During this time, my mother cooked traditional food which I grew up associating with Holy Week. One was a clear soup with fried dried fish and sliced gourd for the vegetables and the other was a sweet porridge with coconut milk, toasted and cracked mung beans and sticky rice served as a mid-day snack. Even with the food restrictions, the Lenten season has always been a good time to be creative in the kitchen and to come up with tasty meatless dishes, like this light shrimp version. The idea for this dish was actually inspired by one of my favorite pasta dishes from Macaroni Grill. If I remember right, the name of the dish is Gemberetti Noci E De Pino. Quite similar but this is much simpler and faster to make with a just a few key ingredients, minced garlic, fresh lemon juice, chopped tomatoes, peeled jumbo shrimps, capers and spinach leaves. I actually run out of pine nuts, which could have been a great addition. For the shrimps, nothing can beat the convenience of using frozen EZ peel kind which you get from the grocery. Saute the garlic and tomatoes in olive oil with one tablespoon butter and add the shrimps. It only takes a few minutes to cook the shrimps, so at this point, the lemon juice, capers and spinach may be added. Season with salt and pepper and simmer until shrimps are done and spinach has wilted. Serve over hot fettucine or angel hair pasta. Sprinkle with grated parmesan cheese just before serving. A very light and lemony pasta dish.

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