Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Shrimp and Angel Hair Alfredo

Alfredo sauce- oh, how I love thee.  And with responsibly sourced, high quality shrimp, properly cooked pasta, and a smattering of fresh snipped chives, it becomes positively divine.  Believe it or not, it's a quick and easy dish. 

Let's just start off by saying that I am terrible at writing recipes.  I make certain things really well off the cuff, and when I need to share what I did, I have to guess.  Please don't hate me if this doesn't come out amazing when you make it.  Let me know if something's completely off and I'll make it right.

Second, my Alfredo sauce is done differently than traditional recipes.  I use a roux, a sauce-thickening mixture of cooked butter and flour, to give it body, instead of the 42 pounds of cream and cheese other recipes call for.  It's still not a light-on-the-waistline recipe, but it's a helluva lot better in the fat and calorie counts.  You get the taste of the cheese without the thunder thighs to match.

Anyway.  It's effing delicious and you should add it to your repertoire.

Shrimp and Angel Hair Alfredo
Serves 4

1 lb. large raw shrimp, peeled and deveined (I cut them into 3 pieces- these were big'uns.)
1 Tbsp. olive oil
3/4 lb. angel hair pasta (also called capellini; you may also use spaghetti, fettuccine, linguine, or bucatini)
1/2 cup grated high quality Parmesan cheese, plus more for garnishing

(NOTE: If your budget doesn't allow for Parmigiano Reggiano, at least buy a block of good stuff from Wisconsin and hand-shred that bad boy.  Please DO NOT use that nasty shit in the green can.  It should not even really be called cheese, and if I were Italian, I'd be personally offended at its impersonation of real formaggi di Parma.)

2 Tbsp. unsalted butter
2 Tbsp. all-purpose flour
2 cups milk
3 cloves garlic, peeled and minced or put through a garlic press, separated (One for the shrimp, two for the sauce)
1-2 Tbsp. fresh chives, minced
Kosher salt, fresh black pepper, crushed red pepper flakes

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and cook the pasta according to package directions.  I cooked the angel hair for about 4 minutes.  You don't want it mushy, so don't overdo it.  Before draining the cooked pasta, reserve about a half cup of the cooking water.  Drain the rest, drizzle on a bit of olive oil, clamp the lid on, and set aside.

In a small saucepan, melt the butter and whisk in the flour.  Whisk and cook until fragrant, about a minute or two.  Add two minced cloves of garlic, stir briefly, and then slowly whisk in the milk.  Add the grated cheese and whisk well to combine.  Bring to a simmer and stir frequently until thickened.  Season to taste with salt and black pepper.

Heat olive oil in a 12" skillet over medium heat.  Saute' the shrimp with a sprinkling of salt and black pepper.  When they are nearly pink all the way through, toss in one of the minced garlic cloves.  Take off the heat before the shrimp are done all the way- you don't want to overcook them, either!

Toss the cooked pasta with the sauce, thinning with reserved pasta water if needed.  Pile some on a plate and top with shrimp, a generous sprinkling of chives, a bit of red pepper flake, and more Parmesan.



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