Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Three-Pepper Shrimp and Pasta

I love it when an idea comes together. I wanted to make a shrimp and pasta dish, but I didn't want to go with the usual tomato sauce. But I wanted it to be colorful. So, I turned to my good friend, roasted red peppers.

With the red and the green, this is a pretty festive dish, and perfect for a holiday or pre-holiday meal with the typical colors of Christmas.

In the summer when peppers are plentiful and cheap, I roast my own, but in winter, I'm perfectly happy to buy them. Luckily, they're a lot more plentiful these days than back when you could only buy them in tiny jars.

You might think that 1/4 cup of olive oil is a lot, but think about it - there's pretty much no other fat here, and it's four servings. That's only 1 tablespoon of oil per serving, and you have to figure that there will be some left in the bottom of the bowl or the pot. There's probably more oil in the salad dressing that you're slathering on your lettuce. Or more butter on your toast.

If you wanted to, you could make this with twice as much pasta to stretch it a bit, but I liked this ratio of shrimp and vegetables to the pasta. Don't get me wrong - I love pasta. But I also love shrimp.

This is a great dish when you don't have a lot of time to cook - everything cooks pretty quickly, so you can have everything done in the time it takes to cook your pasta. To make it an even more convenient after-work meal, you can have the vegetables prepped ahead of time, so you can just throw them in the pan.

I used frozen, peeled, medium-sized tail-off shrimp, but fresh would be wonderful. However, I live pretty far from oceans here, so the "fresh" shrimp at most places is frozen shrimp that has been thawed. Or, it's insanely expensive it it really is fresh.

Frozen shrimp is just fine with me. You can toss it in the pan frozen, or thaw first - either way works with a slight change in directions.

For a more upscale meal, you could opt for larger shrimp. Like, you know, if you were serving this on Christmas Eve.

This post was sponsored by Carapelli, and I used their Extra Virgin Olive Oil for this dish. Check out the GIVEAWAY after the recipe.

Three-Pepper Shrimp and Pasta
Makes 4 servings

1/4 cup Carapelli Extra Virgin olive oil
1 medium onion, sliced into thin half-moons
1 green pepper, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced or put through a garlic press
Pinch of red pepper flakes
1/2 teaspoon marjoram
Generous pinch of salt
1 cup roasted red bell peppers, roughly chopped
10 ounces frozen peeled, tail-off shrimp
1/2 pound uncooked thin spaghetti, cooked al dente

Heat the oil in a large saute pan until it's warm - but you don't want it smoking hot. Add the onion and green pepper and stir. Add the garlic, pepper flakes, marjoram, and salt. Stir again. Cook, stirring as needed until the vegetables are almost cooked through. Add the red peppers.

If you're using frozen shrimp, add them now and cook until they're thawed and beginning to cook. If you're using thawed or fresh shrimp, add the shrimp and al dente pasta at the same time. Cook until the shrimp are cooked through and the liquid has been mostly absorbed. If the pan becomes dry and the shrimp aren't quite done, add a bit of the pasta cooking water and continue cooking.

Serve hot.

This post is sponsored by Carapelli through Virtual Potluck, a fun group of bloggers that you really ought to meet! I received product to use and compensation for creating the recipe, but all words are my own.

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