Thursday, July 16, 2009

A Hidden Gem in My Recipe Box

Even though I was excited about seeing Rick last night, I have to admit that I was tired after a long night at the library the night before. I took a power nap after work, and when Rick's calling woke me up, I wasn't in the mood to do anything complicated for dinner. Rick said that he wasn't really hungry after going to luncheon at work so I started combing my recipe box for something light and easy to make. I wanted to do something with seafood as I always have a pound of frozen shrimp in the freezer, and I didn't want to have to go to the grocery store. I was looking for something new, and nothing was really appealing to me until I came to the last one in the box. Luckily, has this really cool feature that allows you to sort so I didn't have to go through all 600+ recipes. This particular recipe was added in June 1999, and oddly, I had never tried it. Sounded good...pasta, seafood, basil, garlic....and didn't sound too difficult.

When I went to the pantry, I realized that I didn't have any linguine. I called Rick, and he didn't either so despite my lack of desire to go to the grocery store, I found myself heading up to Publix. While there, I cruised over to the seafood counter and saw that bay scallops and small shrimp were on sale so I went ahead and got a pound of shrimp (already peeled and deveined!) and a half of pound of bay scallops to go with my pasta. I also decided to get a shallot, too.

Our timing was perfect as Rick and I got to my place at the same time. We picked some basil from our plants. Rick was on pasta duty while I did all the chopping. I wasn't able to crush the fennel seeds, and I really think I need a mortar and pestle. When cooking the shallot, garlic, and basil, I used pepper oil instead of plain ole olive oil. I never really measure how much I put in the pan before I saute--just enough to cover the bottom. I reduced the fennel seeds by half. The smell of the garlic, basil, fennel, and shallot that filled my condo was amazing.

After the shrimp (yep, used the whole pound) and scallops cooked for around two minutes, I added 1/2 of white wine and continued to cook until the shrimp were opaque. Finally, I added 1 tablespoon of butter to the pan. I made sure not to cook the sauce down too much. I had Rick taste it to see if it needed anything else, but he couldn't think of anything. We both thought that maybe it was a little salty. When the pasta, seafood mix and 3 cheese blend (I live by this stuff!) were all tossed together, saltiness was definitely not a problem! A little more cheese and a sprinkle of dried parsley to garnish were added when I plated it. Rick called the dish exceptional! He really liked the little bite that the pepper oil gave it.

Yep, this dish was perfect. It was simple and easy and not heavy at all. I think that next time, I may use another shallot.

Here is the original recipe.

Bon Appétit | December 1990
A shrimp and scallop pasta dish with basil and fennel.
Yield: 4 first- or 2 main-course servings

2 tablespoons (1/4 stick) butter
4 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 teaspoon dried basil, crumbled
1 teaspoon fennel seeds, crushed
1/2 pound medium uncooked shrimp, peeled, deveined
1/2 pound scallops
8 ounces linguine, freshly cooked
1/3 cup grated Parmesan
Additional grated Parmesan

Melt butter with 2 tablespoons oil in heavy large skillet over medium heat. Add garlic, basil and fennel and sauté 1 minute. Add shrimp and scallops and sauté until both are just opaque, about 4 minutes.
Place linguine in bowl. Toss with remaining 2 tablespoons oil. Pour sauce over linguine and toss. Add 1/3 cup Parmesan and toss again. Pass additional Parmesan separately.
Changes that I made:

  • used 1 pound of small shrimp
  • used 2 tablespoons of fresh basil instead of dried
  • added a chopped shallot
  • added 1/2 cup white wine
  • cooked in pepper oil
  • added butter to pan at the end
  • subbed 1/2 cup of 3 cheese blend instead of grated Parmesan

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