Sunday, May 5, 2013

Scampi alla Veneziana with Spaghetti

I've been making this dish for years, a great recipe for weeknights as it's easy, simple, and delicious. I originally got it from Patricia Wells' Trattoria, a great little book of simple dishes from the trattorias of Italy. Definitely worth checking out, especially if you'd like to attempt recreating the feel of meals from a trip there.
I've added the bit about adding the cooked spaghetti into the pan at the end as the pasta picks up a lot of the flavor of the shrimp and seasonings.

Fresh thyme and sliced garlic cloves

Wild shrimp from the Gulf Coast

In the pan

Adding in the spaghetti

1 pound medium-large shrimps, peeled and deveined
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
4 large garlic cloves, peeled and sliced thinly
2 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves, chopped
healthy pinch crushed red pepper flakes
2 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped
1/2 pound spaghetti

Rinse the prawns, pat dry, and set aside.
Heat a large pot of water to boiling. Add the spaghetti and cook until one minute short of the recommended cooking time on the package. At some point while the pasta is cooking, ladle out about 1/2 cup of the pasta water and set aside.
Meanwhile heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat then add the the garlic, thyme, pepper flakes, and shrimp. Toss ingredients to coat with the oil and cook until the shrimp starts to color, about 90 seconds. Use tongs to turn each shrimp over and cook for another minute. Be careful not to overcook the shrimp.
There's a bit of timing involved to have the shrimp just finished when the pasta is ready to drain as you want avoid the shrimp to sit on the heat for too long as well have the pasta ready to drain at about the same time.
Drain the pasta then add to the pan with the shrimp. Toss to combine for about a minute, add the chopped parsley and serve immediately, drizzling olive oil on top if desired. I wouldn't add any cheese to this dish.

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