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

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Ronnie Rigoletto’s Pasta with Shrimp, Basil, and Cream; and Cajun Boiled Shrimp


Cajun Boiled Shrimp

The combination of fresh shrimp and fresh basil is unbeatable, and I am including a recipe for it below.  It is very hard to get fresh, never-frozen shrimp, and the first time I even had it was in Houma, LA, down on the bayous.  We asked our innkeeper where to eat in this small town, and he told us a local place where they only served boiled shrimp.   Hmmmm…boiled potatoes, boiled Irish dinner, boiled carrots.  Boiling anything seemed designed to leach all flavor from any ingredient.  However, boiled shrimp were fresh, pulled from the Gulf by the shrimp boats we could see moored in the slips behind the restaurant; and they were boiled in this spicy liquid. This is a pasta post, and I will get to my Shrimp with Basil recipe, below, but for now, the boiled shrimp:

* 4-5 cups water

* 2 crushed cloves garlic

* 1 lg. celery stalled, chopped

* 1 lg. onion, chopped

* 1 medium lemon, whole, quartered

* 1 Tbsp. ground fresh ginger

* 2 tsp. mustard seeds

* 2 tsp. celery seeds

* 15 peppercorns

* 5 shakes hot pepper flakes

* 2 tsp. oregano

* 4 bay leaves

* 1 1/2 Tbsp. Cajun seafood spice

* 1 1/2 Tbsp. Bay Spice

* 1 Tbsp. salt;

* 2 Tsp. sugar

- Boil liquid with all ingredients for 30 minutes

- Remove solids, toss

- Add shrimp, cook for now more than 3 minutes

- Serve (individual diners will remove shells)


Pasta with Fresh Basil and Shrimp

The key to this recipe is the shrimp stock that is made by steaming the shrimp in white wine and spices, then removing the shells, tossing them back in the liquid, and cooking until the liquid has been reduced down to 1/2 cup.  This intense shrimp flavor will give this dish the shrimp taste required to balance the fragrance of the basil.

* 1 lb. uncooked shrimp, shells on

* 4-5 Tbsp. olive oil

* 2 lg. cloves garlic, coarsely chopped

* 1 Tbsp. dry basil

* 2 lg. handfuls fresh basil, chopped coarsely

* 1/2 cup white wine

* 1 cup water

*1/4 cup half-and-half cream

* grated parmesan

* 1/2 lb. penne rigati

- Steam the shrimp for about 5 minutes or until the shells are pink in a steaming liquid of white wine and water with dried basil.

- Remove the shells; and reserve the steaming liquid.

- Place the shells back into the liquid, and cook until the liquid has been reduced to about 1/2 cup; remove shells and discard

- Sautee the garlic and the fresh basil in the olive oil until the leaves are wilted, garlic is cooked but not browned.

- Add the reduced shrimp liquid and the cream, stirring gently until fully combined

- Cook for an additional 5 minutes or so, adding the shrimp, cut into 1” pieces; add salt to taste

- Plate, pouring sauce and shrimp over each portion, sprinkling with cheese and grindings of black pepper

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