Tonight I made up a dish that has its roots in Pasta Carbonara, and Shrimp Scampi. In an effort to document it, somehow, I’ll share it here. Measurements are extremely loose – I cooked by feel, which is usually what I do. Adjust to taste!
If you have a philosophical issue with cheese and seafood, you should probably turn back now. There’s cheese with the shrimp. And it’s fantastic. I make no apologies.
Ingredients (for 2 people)
- 10 large shrimp (13-15) about 2/3-3/4 lb. (this could easily be done with smaller shrimp. That’s what I had on hand.)
- 1/2 lb pasta (it should be something that holds sauce well – I used campanelle, which was AWESOME)
- 4 eggs (I used our chickens’ eggs, which vary in size)
- 8 cloves garlic – 3 smashed, 5 (or so) crushed/minced
- 1/2 cup (or so) of vermouth (or white wine, or sherry)
- 1/2-2/3 cups of freshly fine-grated parmesan (I use the microplane, so it’s really not that much cheese, it’s full of air)
- 1/4-1/3 cups fresh lemon juice, from 2 lemons (I used one regular, and one meyer lemon)
- 2 T chopped parsley
- 2 T butter (or so)
- 3 T olive oil (or so)
- pinch or more of red pepper flakes to taste
Directions: (I did this with a lot of multitasking, so it probably took a bit less than a half hour, including pasta cooking time.)
- Start a pot of well-salted water for the pasta
- Peel and de-vein the shrimp, save the shells (if you have already-peeled shrimp, save the tails if you have them.)
- Toss the shrimp with a bit of salt (a large pinch or two), red pepper flakes, and enough olive oil to coat them. Set aside.
- (If the water is ready, toss in the pasta and set the timer for about 2-3 minutes before the pasta would be ready. Like, just before al dente timing.)
- Beat the eggs with the parmesan cheese hard, until it forms a homogeneous mixture. Get it smooth! No egg-whites still visible! If I wasn’t making this for Aidon, who doesn’t much like it, I’d have seasoned it with a bit of pepper. Set aside.
- The water should really be ready by now, if it wasn’t before. Start that pasta if you haven’t already!
- In a 12-inch pan, with high enough sides to hold the pasta later, heat about 2 T of olive oil over a medium heat until it starts to shimmer. Put the smashed garlic and a pinch or two of red pepper flakes into the oil, stirring until it becomes fragrant and brown. Remove and toss out (or eat, ahem) the garlic, since it’s done its job of flavoring the oil!
- Increase the heat to high, and put the seasoned shrimp in the oil. don’t crowd them. I put them in one at a time, and about the time I’ve put them all in, the first ones are ready to turn over. Just let each side go opaque, but the very center of the shrimp should still be grey/uncooked. Remove the shrimps, one at a time as done, to a bowl and set aside.
- Is the pasta done yet? It was for me, and the timing was about right. I stopped the pasta from boiling a few minutes early, and left it in the water for a minute or two while I did the rest of the stuff.
- Add a little more oil to the pan (another T or so) and toss in the shrimp shells. This will flavor the oil nicely. When the shells are nice and orange, toss in all but about 1/2 tsp of the crushed garlic, stirring constantly until fragrant, about 30 seconds or so.
- Pour in the vermouth and deglaze the pan, scraping up the bits from the bottom of the pan. When the vermouth has soaked in some of the shrimp-shell and garlic flavors, remove the shells with tongs. Pour in a little more vermouth if the bottom of the pan isn’t still covered, at least a little.
- If you haven’t already, drain the almost-done pasta, and then toss it into the pan with the remaining vermouth and garlic
- Stir to coat the pasta
- Turn off the heat, and pour the egg mixture into the pasta and stir like the dickens (fast!) to get the noodles coated, and avoid making scrambled eggs. I made a little bit of scrambled eggs because I didn’t turn off the heat. It still was fantastic.
- Once most of the sauce is coating the noodles, instead of sitting on the pan bottom threatening to turn into scrambled eggs, return the shrimp, and any accumulated juices into the pan, stirring to coat.
- Add the butter, stirring to help it melt in
- Add the lemon, parsley, and remaining 1/2 tsp of crushed garlic.
- Stir to combine, cover to allow to heat through, and finish cooking any shrimp that weren’t finished by residual heat. (I turned it on low for 2 min at this point, to accomplish this.)
- Serve in bowls and enjoy!
The thick sauce from the eggs is SO tasty on the pasta! And the shrimp – SO yummy!