Every now and then a recipe comes along that truly deserves a 5+ rating in our book . . . .
. . . . and the Orecchiette with Spicy Shrimp Sauce is that recipe.
Last night we decided to do something different . . . . find an interesting recipe. . . .
. . . . adding a little of this that we like . . . . adding a little of that. . . .
. . . . making it all our way.
When the dish was finally done . . . .we took one bite . . . . and then another . . . .
. . . . we simply couldn’t believe how good it was.
It all started with us wanting to have shrimp for dinner . . . . but we didn’t want to make Barbecued Shrimp and Grits.
The challenge began . . . .
. . . . finding an interesting way to prepare it. . . . in a way we hadn’t made shrimp before.
We wanted something different . . . . but not some recipe that would take ingredients we didn’t have on hand . . . .
. . . . or a recipe that would take a lot of time and effort.
We were certain of two things . . . . we wanted a spicy shrimp recipe . . . .
. . . . and we wanted to use orecchiette.
You see . . . . we like orecchiette so much that we ordered a box of five from Amazon. For some reason we were having a difficult time finding the pasta so I go to where I always go to find things . . . . Amazon. The shipping was free for Prime members.
We peeled the shrimp, deveined them and cut them in half lengthwise. . . . then we chopped the fennel bulb . . . . and saved some of the fennel fronds to add to the dish. We picked basil from our prolific plants.
At the last minute we decided to use our deliciously sweet cherry tomatoes instead of the plum tomatoes. . . .
. . . . it was a good call . . . . the sweet acid of the tomatoes added to the overall flavor of this healthy pasta dish.
We had all the ingredients ready to toss in the pan because the Spicy Shrimp Sauce was going to go fast once the orecchiette were cooked.
The minute the Orecchiette with Spicy Shrimp was plated we were ready to sit and dine on our mouth-watering meal.
- 12 ounces orecchiette pasta
- Kosher salt for pasta water and sauce
- 2 Tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
- 1 small fennel bulb, chopped, plus 1 Tablespoon chopped fennel fronds
- 2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
- 2 Tablespoons tomato paste
- 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 1 1/2 cups cherry tomatoes, quartered
- 1/2 pound medium shrimp, peeled, deveined and sliced lengthwise.
- 1/2 cup grated Pecorino cheese
- 1 cup torn fresh basil
- Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the pasta and cook as the label directs.
- Reserve 1 1/2 cups of the salted cooking water, then drain and set pasta aside.
- Meanwhile, heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the chopped fennel bulb and 1/2 teaspoon salt and cook, stirring occasionally, until golden brown, 6 to 8 minutes. Reduce the heat to medium and add the garlic, tomato paste and red pepper flakes.
- Cook, stirring, 2 more minutes ( add a splash of the pasta water if the mixture is sticking).
- Stir in the tomato, shrimp, 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1 cup of reserved cooking water. Bring to a simmer and cook, stirring occasionally, until the tomatoes are saucy, about 6 more minutes.
- Add the pasta and cheese to the sauce and toss to coat. Drizzle with olive oil, season with salt and more of the reserved pasta water to loosen, if necessary. Stir in the basil leaves and fennel fronds.
- Plate, serve and enjoy.
- We chopped the fennel bulb in the food processor. This made it quick and easy.
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