Trouble With Toast

Recipe: Rigatoni with Shrimp, Calamari, and Basil | October 25, 2010

While I detox from my sister’s gluttonous wedding weekend and ponder tasty diet dinners, I want to share this recipe from the wayback machine.  I made this pasta dish a month or two ago, and it really hit the spot – it was hearty and satisfying, but the seafood and veggies kept it tasting fresh and light (well, light-er).

When I made this dish, I could not find calamari ANYWHERE (I can usually get it at a small local market, but they were all out when I visited), so I just doubled the shrimp.  And speaking of shrimp, my only issue with this recipe was the processing/blending of half of the seafood.  I don’t really understand the point – I mean, it certainly imparts great shrimpy flavor, but why can’t you just leave the little guys whole?  I will definitely omit that step next time – though, maybe the calamari would make the difference?

Oh, and anyone who poo-poos the idea of cheese and seafood together?  Well, let’s just say those people are no friends of mine.

  • 1 pound uncooked large shrimp, peeled, deveined, divided
  • 14 ounces cleaned calamari (bodies only; tentacles reserved for another use), divided
  • 12 ounces rigatoni pasta
  • 6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • 3 cups thinly sliced leeks (white and pale green parts only; about 3 large)
  • 3 large garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried crushed red pepper
  • 1 8-ounce bottle clam juice
  • 1/3 cup frozen peas, thawed
  • 4 tablespoons butter, divided
  • 1/2 cup finely grated Pecorino Romano cheese or Parmesan cheese plus additional (for serving)
  • 3/4 cup thinly sliced fresh basil, divided

Place half of shrimp in medium bowl. Slice half of calamari crosswise into 1/3-inch-wide rings and place in small bowl.

Coarsely chop remaining shrimp and calamari; place in processor. Using on/off turns, blend until shrimp mixture is finely chopped. Transfer to another medium bowl.

Cook pasta in large pot of boiling salted water until just tender but still firm to bite, stirring occasionally.

Meanwhile, heat 5 tablespoons oil in large skillet over medium-high heat. Add leeks, garlic, and crushed red pepper; sauté until leeks are tender but not brown, about 5 minutes. Add chopped shrimp mixture; stir until shrimp and calamari are just opaque, about 2 minutes. Add clam juice and peas; simmer until flavors blend, about 3 minutes. Stir in 3 tablespoons butter. Season with salt and pepper. Set sauce aside; cover to keep warm.

Melt remaining 1 tablespoon butter with 1 tablespoon oil in medium nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add reserved whole shrimp and sauté 2 minutes. Add calamari rings to shrimp; sprinkle with salt and pepper and sauté until just opaque, about 2 minutes longer. Remove from heat.

Drain pasta; return to same pot. Add chopped shrimp and calamari sauce, 1/2 cup cheese, and 1/2 cup basil and toss to blend.

Divide pasta among 4 bowls. Top each serving with sautéed shrimp mixture; sprinkle with remaining 1/4 cup basil. Pass additional cheese separately and serve.

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