Tomato Sauce with Shrimp and Pasta
Finding the right main course recipe for a Valentine's Day menu to be made by a guy for a girl was not easy. The dish must be relatively easy to create. Yet it must convey an impression of thoughtful effort. With these requirements pasta came to mind. Though most pastas are made from precisely the same ingredients, different pastas convey different attitudes. For example, elbow macaroni says "kiddie lunch with cheese dripping from a booster seat". While rotini says, "gobble down a quick garden vegetable soup before getting back to the workday grind." But the noodle most conversant with every side of life and culture is the spaghetti noodle. In this recipe we can hear it speak tones of soft love and passion. Just be sure, when you share this dish with your loved one, not to slurp a long strand of spaghetti so that it whips around at the end and shoots a blob of tomato sauce on your clean white shirt. Nothing dampens a woman's romantic mood quicker than the thought of having to do laundry.
This recipe serves two. For more, just double or treble the recipe.
8 ounces of spaghetti
12 fresh or frozen jumbo shrimp, deveined and peeled
1 28 ounce can of crushed tomatoes
1 tablespoon fresh basil or 1 teaspoon crushed dried basil
2 cloves minced garlic
1/2 cup chopped scallions
3/4 cup dry white wine
1 tablespoon sugar
dash coarse ground black pepper
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
2 tablespoons chives
2 tablespoons olive oil
In a cast-iron skillet over medium heat spread oil with a spatula. Toss in garlic and scallions and saute until golden brown (should only take a few minutes). Now add the crushed tomatoes. Stir in basil, white wine, and sugar. Bring sauce to a boil and then reduce heat to simmer for about 20 minutes. The sauce should thicken slightly. Add in the shrimp continuing the simmer.
While the shrimp and sauce are simmering, cook spaghetti per label instructions. But there are a few things they won't tell you: When cooking spaghetti from a box it is especially important in the early stages to make sure that the noodles do not stick together. This is accomplished first by adding about one teaspoon of olive oil to the boiling water. Break the spaghetti noodles in half (this also helps prevent too many slurpy noodles later - which looks good on "Lady and the Tramp" but could be problematic in other circumstances). Do not put the noodles in the pan oriented all in the same direction. Spin your hand over the pan and let the noodles flow out in a kind of stream. Next, stab the noodles lightly with a fork and spin them frequently, at least once every minute. The package will say to cook the noodles for x number of minutes. This can only be a general guideline. After about eight minutes lift an occasional noodle out of the pan with a fork. If the noodle hangs limp, eat it. When the noodle seems to have just the right texture, let boil for thirty more seconds and strain.
There are two different options to serve. First you can pile some spaghetti on a plate and pour some sauce over the top, or you can place sauce and spaghetti in a low, wide bowl and toss it together. Top with Parmesan cheese. As a bonus a few fresh chives sprinkled over the top of all looks amazingly classy and adds an interesting crunchy oniony flavor.