It seems like just yesterday it was in the 90’s – tho with our new foam roof you’d never know it in the house, and suddenly the nighttime temps are in the low 40’s. We’ve even had our first freeze warnings.
The cooler temperatures trigger my cocooning gene and I am ready to start experimenting in the kitchen again.
Thursday, as I was making up the dinner menu for the week, I decided we should have fish on Friday. I had no set dish in mind, just fish. When I got to the fish counter at the grocery store I saw the usual suspects; salmon, trout, cod, ahi tuna and catfish. Nothing rocked my boat. Then I spied the shrimp. They had 21-25 shrimp on sale so I had my fish portion of the dinner. I know, shrimp aren’t fish, their crustaceans!
I knew I had garlic, spinach and cherry tomatoes at home and I had a coupon for a Free(!) package of Barilla Ready Gemelli pasta so my meal was planned. I have wanted to try this 60 second pasta for some time and this seem to be the moment. When I got home I found a recipe that used my main ingredients, made a few modifications to the recipe, prepared and served it for dinner. It made enough for dinner last night and lunch today. George loved it and wants me to make it again in the next several weeks. Funny, he’s never said that about liver and onions!
Shrimp, Spinach and Tomato Pasta 4 servings
- 2 tbl olive oil
- 8 oz shrimp, peeled and deveined
- 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes (less if you would prefer less heat)
- 1 tsp smoked paprika (or more, to taste)
- 1 tsp of Italian seasoning ( I use Penzey’s)
- kosher salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste
- 2 roma tomatoes, chopped
- 1/4 cup fresh basil leaves, chopped
- 6 oz fresh spinach
- 4 cloves garlic, minced ( you can use less – we love garlic)
- 8 oz Gemelli pasta
- 2 tbl Olive oil to finish the dish
- Pecorino Romano cheese
Start your water for pasta and cooked pasta when water is ready. Or, you can use Barilla Ready pasta which takes 60 seconds in the microwave.
Place the 2 tbl of olive oil into a large skillet over medium-low heat. Raise the heat to medium. Add the shrimp, red pepper flakes, smoked paprika, Italian seasoning, salt and pepper into skillet and cook until shrimp is just cooked through, about 5 minutes. Remove the shrimp from the skillet and set aside.
Using the same skillet, add the chopped tomatoes, chopped fresh basil, spinach and garlic. Cook on medium for 3 to 5 minutes until the spinach wilts and the tomatoes release some of their juice. Be sure to stir this often as you don’t want the garlic to burn. Remove from the heat, taste and adjust seasoning if necessary.
Add the cooked (drained if you haven’t used the Ready brand of pasta) pasta to the vegetables. Add the shrimp back to the pan and stir to combine. Plate the dish and drizzle olive oil over each serving. Pass the Pecorino Romano cheese and grater at the table.
Those of you who have followed my blog from the beginning know that I’m not a fan of microwaved foods at dinner. I’m a “from scratch” kind of girl. But I am open to trying new things and this Barilla Ready pasta intrigued me. I have to admit it was pretty good. The pasta came out al dente. And it did reduce the number of pots and utensils necessary to complete the dish. I would try it again. And, as my mom pointed out, a great way to have pasta if you find a pot of boiling water and pasta are too heavy to lift and drain.