Friday, May 8, 2009

Spaghetti with Tomato, Basil and Shrimp

This is a very quick but delightful lunch or supper. It is so simple to make but you will be surprised by how great it tastes.

1 glug olive oil
2 clove garlic finely chopped
2 medium tomatoes chopped
18 shrimp, peeled
1 handful basil coarsely chopped
2 Tbsp Parmesan Cheese grated
Salt and ground black pepper

Put enough spaghetti for three or four people on to boil. When it has softened enough so that it is no longer standing up turn the heat on under a saucepan and when it is hot, add a splash of olive oil and two cloves of garlic finely chopped. Stir for a minute or so, don’t let it brown, then add the tomatoes. Once the tomatoes soften, add the shrimp and stir. Once one side of the shrimp is cooked add the basil and turn the shrimp.
Add about ½ a cup or so of the water the pasta is cooking in to the pan. Stir. Grate in about 2 tablespoons of Parmesan cheese into the mixture, stir and add salt and pepper to taste.
As soon as the pasta is ready, drain and evenly distribute it into equal portions. Spoon the shrimp tomato mixture over the spaghetti. Sprinkle a bit more pepper over the top.
Serve with a green salad.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Penne Rigate with Vodka Sauce

I'd had this simple meal in restaurants a few times but never made it myself until very recently. This is a quick and easy Russian/Italian combination and tasty too. Who could ask for more?

3 1/4 inch slices of round pancetta
3 to 4 cups dried penne rigate
1 glug olive oil
1/4 lb butter
4 Tbsp tomato paste
3 oz vodka
6 oz table cream
1/3 tsp pepper
small bunch flat leafed parsley finely chopped

* Note: The pancetta is quite salty so you probably don't have to add any salt at all to the sauce. Taste it and use your own judgment.

Chop the pancetta into small cubes and fry them up in a saucepan for a few minutes. You don't want them crisp, just about half way there. Set them aside.
Heat a big pot of lightly salted water to a boil and drop in the penne and the olive oil. Cook until el dente.
Meanwhile melt the butter in the pan. When that is ready add the tomato paste and stir vigorously until it begins to mix. Add the cooked pancetta, the vodka and the cream. Keep stirring until it is well mixed and turn the heat down to low.
The penne by this time should be at least close to ready. As soon as it is cooked, drain it right away.
Put the pasta in the serving bowl, mix in the sauce and sprinkle the flat leafed parsley on top.