Friday, September 23, 2011

Broccoli and Shrimp Scampi Spaghetti

Know what food I'm ga-ga for right now? Shrimp. Know what food I used to refuse to eat unless it was the smallest possible size and deep-fried? Shrimp. And by "used to" I mean approximately a year ago. There was just something about the texture and shape that always bothered me. When we went to a hibachi joint for dinner that gave shrimp appetizers, I'd pass mine over to Hubby and would turn down the shrimp tempura he'd offer me. Popcorn shrimp I'd order if it were the only thing on the menu I'd want, and I wouldn't eat the big ones. Sometime last year, though, I decided to widen my tastes and actually tried a piece of the offered shrimp tempura. Now we fight over who gets the last one, I happily eat my own appetizer, and I get cravings for shrimp. Now, I haven't actually cooked with large shrimp, but when my friend JQ shared her recipe for Broccoli and Shrimp Scampi Spaghetti, knowing just how much Hubby loves shrimp scampi, I was determined to give it a try.

(Original recipe from Hudocks to Haddocks: The Life, Times and Food)
8 oz spaghetti
¼ cup butter
2-3 tsp minced garlic
(approx) ½ cup Italian bread crumbs
(approx) ¾ cup dry white wine (I'm sensitive to alcohol, so I use the same amount in chicken stock. Works just fine.)
10 oz small shrimp (I use frozen salad shrimp)
½ pounds of broccoli chopped into florets
¼ tsp of each of the following seasonings: cumin, red pepper flakes, basil & onion salt

1. Cook pasta al dente
2. Boil broccoli
3. In a skillet, melt butter and sauté minced garlic. Add in all seasoning & wine (or stock), simmer for a moment. Add in shrimp and cook, tossing frequently, until pink. Slowly (a tsp at a time) mix in breadcrumbs. You may or may not use all the bread crumbs, just continue adding until your mixture has thickened up a bit. (Note: If it gets too thick, don't panic! Just mix a little extra wine/stock in until it gets to the consistency you like.)
4. Drain pasta, do not rinse. Put back in hot pot with drained hot broccoli and mix in shrimp scampi.
5. Serve garnished with freshly grated Romano cheese

Of course, this wouldn't be "Learning By Burning" without SOME kind of incident. First attempt at making this dish, I've got the ingredients ready, the water boiling for the spaghetti, the shrimp dethawed, the broccoli cut, and as I'm looking at the recipe, I realize - I have NEVER 1) cooked broccoli and 2) sauted anything, so I have NO idea when either of them goes from "Not Done" to "Done" to "Overdone". Crap. Luckily Hubby was home with me at the time, so he ran a quick google search while I worked on what was already going on the stove (melting butter and boiling spaghetti). We got the broccoli boiling and the garlic was, well, not a problem really. Surprisingly, I have never managed to time this dinner as perfectly as it ended up being for that first harried meal. I've gotten closer (especially since we remembered we got a food steamer as a wedding gift. Whoops. We've been steaming the broccoli since and it's great) but something always finishes a little too early.

This has quickly become one of our favorite meals, and I'm confident enough in making it now that I actually made it for my mother during her last visit as it's similar to a dish she used to make. She loved it! And it reheats well, making it great leftovers for the next day too (assuming you HAVE any leftovers and haven't licked the plate clean).

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