Friday, July 30, 2010

Garlic and Citrus Infused Shrimp with Angel Hair, Grilled Asparagus and Sweet Corn

So there was this amazing Italian restaurant called Santo Pietro's that I used to frequent when i lived in Studio City California.  My friends in Cali may remember it.  It was on the corner of La Brea and Ventura.  I worked right across the street at another place called the Daily Grill that got destroyed in the '94 Northridge was eventually rebuilt, but my days of living large in LA were winding down and that effing earthquake was the cherry on the cake.  Anyway...I ordered a pasta dish one night and was amazed to see that pasta did not have to be buried in heavy red or white sauce.  It was a true culinary moment in hindsight.  All i had ever known of Italian cuisine was of course spaghetti with meat sauce and tons of that shake on cheese stuff.  It stuck with me over the years.  This is a take on that dish.  I have jacked it up and made it my own of course.  I used whole wheat angel hair pasta instead of penne.  I have added some crushed pepper flakes to balance the sweet elements and i topped mine with finely diced and seeded tomato.  This is a very "clean" dish.  The flavors all hold their own here.  One trick i will share is grilling the asparagus before chopping it into the dish.  If you par cook it on the grill to soften it you can really just toss it in at the last minute.  

What you will need:

1/2 pound raw white shrimp out of shell ($2.50...on sale at my HEB)
1/2 red onion thinly sliced ($.60)
1 small can of sweet whole kernal corn ($.40)
1/2 pound asparagus grilled and then chopped ($1.87)
1 roma tomato seeds removed and finely diced  ($.30)
1/4 cup olive oil
juice of 1 lemon ($.22)
4 cloves of garlic
1/2 pound of whole wheat Angel Hair pasta (on closeout for $.50)

How to make it happen:

You will want to start by cleaning the shrimp and hitting it with the lemon juice and setting it aside.  I cook off my pasta before i even start the saute.  I like to shock the cooked pasta with cold water to stop it from cooking.  I like my pasta al dente, but my family does we all kinda compromise and go for kind of al dente...LOL.  Al dente, if you are not famaliar with the term, just means a firmer pasta that is not cooked as long as is traditionally the norm.  I let the pasta rest in cold water until i am ready for it.  Slice the garlic really thin and add it to the olive oil on medium heat.  I like to continuously stir the oil and garlic on medium for about ten or so minutes allowing the garlic flavor to infuse the oil.  This is the best way to pick up some huge flavor on the Angel Hair when it is tossed in.  I add the onions first and let them go for about 3 or 4 minutes before tossing in the grilled asparagus...once the asparagus is heated i add the corn and shrimp at the same time.  As you all know...shrimp cooks really fast and the corn heats just fine in that time.  All you have left to do is toss in the pasta.  It is very important the pasta gets tossed into this one...that is how it picks up the great flavor of the olive oil and garlic.  A little salad and some crusty whole wheat baquette and you got yourself one heck of a meal.  I asked the little one what she liked most and she said..."all of it!" there you have much sought after validation for a job well done.  You can rock out this little Italian throwdown for under $7 bucks....fresh and fast.  I will say i paid a bit more for the dish i used to get at Santo Pietro's...but i'm making up for it now.

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