"Whenever I go into a restaurant, I order both a chicken and an egg to see which comes first"

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Pasta Seafood and Cream Recipes

Most  of these recipes call for cream, which gives a richer sauce with more consistency and a creamy texture. I have suggested penne for all the recipes – they seem to be the best for cream sauces; but you can also use tagliatelle, although they require more sauce.  Rigatoni are also good, but a little to much air for the sauce.  I like penne rigati (thin ridges on the pasta), but plain penne are fine too.

Penne with Salmon, Mint, and Cream

Image result for images penne with salmon a la creme

This has always been one of my favorites.  It is simple, elegant, and delicious.  First it tastes good – the combination of salmon, tomato, and fresh mint is unusual; but all of the ingredients work well together.  Second, it looks great – the dark red of the tomato sauce gets a more amber tone with the salmon; the mint and black olives give contrast; and the sprinkling of grated Parmesan brings it all together.
* 1/4 can Red Sockeye salmon
* 1/2 cup cream (or Half-and-Half)
* 1/2 cup whole milk yoghurt (you can use low fat yoghurt, but the whole milk is creamier and you avoid the chance of separation during cooking)
* 1/2 can tomato paste (low salt)
* handful of fresh mint
* 1 Tbsp. dried mint flakes)
* 2 tsps. dried oregano
* 3 Tbsp. olive oil
* 5-6 lg. pitted olives, quartered (or chopped)
* 1 lg. clove garlic, chopped
* 1/2 lb. penne
* 2-3 Tbsp. freshly grated parmesan
- Sautee the garlic in the olive oil for about 3 minutes.  Do not brown. 
- Add the mint and oregano leaves, sautee for about 30 seconds, or until well mixed
- Add the salmon, stir, and mix well, cook for about 2 minutes
- Add the cream, yoghurt, tomato paste and chopped olives
- Cook over low heat for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.  The color of the sauce should be even
- Serve over the tagliatelle; sprinkle chopped fresh mint leaves and grated parmesan; and finish with ground pepper.

Penne with Crab and Red Pepper

Image result for images penne with crab

There are not too many recipes that call for red pepper, and I am not sure why.  It gives a very high flavor to the sauce, and when cooked with cream, gives a pink/red sauce that is appealing.  The addition of paprika gives additional color and taste.  The fresh basil complements the red pepper. All the above combine nicely with the crab.  This is a simple and delicious dish.
* 1 1/2 cups crab meat (I recommend buying fresh, local crabmeat.  While the canned, pasteurized variety from Indonesia or Thailand is fine, local crabmeat (we are lucky to be near the Chesapeake in DC) has a real, distinct crab flavor and fragrance).
* 1/2 lg. red pepper, cut into 1/2” pieces
* 1 medium bunch fresh basil, chopped
* 3 lg. cloves garlic, chopped
* 3 Tbsp. olive oil
* 1/2 cup sherry (Amontillado is best.  You don’t want anything sweeter)
* 1/2 cup cream or half-and-half
* 1/2 cup sour cream
* 1 tsp. paprika
* 2 Tbsp. freshly grated parmesan
* 4-5 sprigs parsley, stems removed
* 1/2 lb. penne
- Sautee the garlic in olive oil for about 3 minutes moderate heat, then add the red peppers and basil, sautee for another 3-4 minutes until peppers are getting soft
- Add 1 cup of the crab to the mix and sautee for an additional 5 minutes, moderate heat
- Add paprika, and sherry and continue cooking and stirring for 2-3 minutes
- Add the cream, sour cream, and stir. If the mix is too thick, then thin slightly with whole milk.  It is important to stir constantly because the sour cream can cause separation.  If you are concerned, leave out the sour cream.
- Cook over low heat for about 5-8 minutes.  The sauce should be well mixed with an even color, with all the ingredients well blended.
- Serve over the penne, and sprinkle the remaining 1/2 cup of crab meat over the top
- Sprinkle with grated parmesan, ground pepper, and garnish with parsley

Penne with Red Pepper

This is a variation of the above recipe, but without the crab and the basil.  It results in a sauce with much more of a red pepper taste.
* 1 lg. red pepper, cut into 1/2” pieces
* 3-4 Tbsp. olive oil
* 1 lg. clove garlic, chopped
* 1 tsp. paprika
* 1/2 cup half-and-half
* 1/2 cup sour cream
* 2-3 Tbsp. sherry (add more to taste)
* 2-3 Tbsp. grated parmesan cheese
* 1/2 lb. penne rigati
- Sautee the garlic and red pepper in the olive oil until the pepper is soft
- Add the sherry and cook for a few minutes until the alcohol has evaporated
- Lower the heat to a minimum, then add the cream and sour cream and stir well.  It is important to stir constantly and over very low heat to avoid separation.  The sour cream adds a very nice taste, but it can cause separation.  If you are concerned, leave the sour cream out
- Cook over moderate heat for about 5 minutes or until the cream has a pink/rose color
- Add the parmesan and stir constantly until the cheese is completely blended into the sauce, and immediately turn off the heat.  Again, the low heat and constant stirring is important to prevent separation
- Serve with a sprinkling of parmesan cheese and freshly-ground pepper

Penne with Shrimp and Cream

Image result for images penne with shrimp a la creme

This is one of my favorites of all the seafood cream sauces.  It is a variation on the crab recipe above, but the intense shrimp flavor comes from the reduction of the wine steaming liquid into which shrimp shells have cooked rather than from the shrimp themselves.  The shrimp need to be steamed only slightly and reserved, then added at the last minute.  Delicious!!
* 1/2 lb. medium-large uncooked shrimp, shells on
* 2 cups white wine for steaming the shrimp (can be ordinary wine, but not chardonnay)
* 1 cup water
* 1/2 cup cream or half and half
* 1/2 cup sour cream
* 2 tsp. dried basil
* 1 lg. clove garlic, chopped
* 2 Tbsp. olive oil
* 2 Tbsp. grated parmesan cheese
* 4-5 sprigs parsley, stems removed
- Place the shrimp in a steamer, over which you have poured the wine, water, and basil
- Steam the shrimp until done (the shells have turned pink – do not overcook). Remove the shrimp and leave the liquid in the steaming pot
- Remove the shells from the shrimp and toss back into the steaming liquid.
- Boil over medium heat until the liquid has reduced to 1/2 cup. This should take about 20 minutes or so.  You don’t want more than a half-cup, because it will make the cream sauce watery.
- Sautee the garlic in the olive oil until done, not browned.
- Add the cream and sour cream, and stir in the parmesan cheese very slowly and gradually to avoid separation
- Add the reduced shrimp stock even more slowly, almost like making hollandaise sauce, a think drizzle into the cream sauce, stirring continuously.
- Cut the shrimp into 1” pieces and place in the sauce.  Do not cook, just warm them to the temperature of the sauce
- Serve over the penne, sprinkle parmesan cheese, ground pepper. Garnish with parsley.

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