What could be better than a quick weeknight dinner of shrimp and pasta that can be cooked and on your table in less than 30 minutes. Called Linguine con Gamberi in Italian, shrimp are sautéed in olive oil with fresh cherry tomatoes and capers and then tossed with linguine pasta.
My husband and I love seafood and in our travels along Italy’s coastline and lakes, we’ve often stopped for lunch at restaurants whose specialty was fresh seafood. My recipe for linguine and shrimp reminds me of those memorable meals where we enjoyed simple pasta dishes made with fresh seafood and vegetables cooked in the best of olive oil with garlic, white wine and a touch of lemon.
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In this recipe, succulent shrimp, gamberi or prawns, depending upon the part of the world you live in, are quickly sautéed in a fresh cherry tomato and caper sauce then tossed with linguine. I use frozen, shelled and deveined shrimp and cherry tomatoes on the vine, which are available most year at our market in this recipe. If you have access to fresh shrimp and tomatoes from your own garden, all the better. What you will love about this delicious pasta dish is that can be prepared in the time it takes for you to cook the pasta, making it perfect for a weeknight meal.
LINGUINE WITH SHRIMP, CHERRY TOMATOES AND CAPERS
Serves 2, adjust the recipe according
- 8-12 shrimp, (depending on size) peeled and deveined
- 8 oz. linguine, spaghetti or pasta of your choice
- 2 Tbsp. olive oil
- 2 Tbsp. butter plus an additional Tbsp. to finish (olive oil may be substituted)
- 1/4 c. onion, finely chopped
- 3 – 4 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 tsp. anchovy paste, more or less
- 1/2 c. dry white wine
- 12 cherry tomatoes, halved
- juice and zest from 1/2 lemon
- 1 heaping tsp. capers
- salt and pepper, to taste
- red pepper flakes, to taste
- a few basil leaves
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the pasta and cook for about 10-11 minutes, stirring occasionally, until al dente.
In the meantime, heat the olive oil and 2 Tbsp. of butter in a large sauté pan over medium heat. Add the onions, cook until softened, about 2 minutes, then add the garlic and cook a minute. Stir in the anchovy paste then deglaze the pan with wine and reduce slightly. Add the tomatoes, lemon juice and capers then season with salt, pepper and red pepper flakes. Let simmer until the tomatoes start to burst. Add the shrimp, cook 2 – 3 minutes until pink then turn and cook until they have lost their translucency. Add the remaining Tbsp. of butter and toss until combined. Taste and adjust the seasonings if necessary.
When the pasta is al dente, reserve about a cup of the pasta water then strain the pasta. Add the pasta to the sauté pan, along with a ladle of pasta cooking water and toss to evenly coat and an emulsion is created. Plate and top with a chiffonade of basil, then serve.
Cook shrimp just until they turn pink and lose their translucency about 5 minutes total, depending on size. Avoid overcooking the shrimp, which will make them hard and rubbery.
To add extra flavor, buy shrimp with the shells on and peel them yourself. Put the shells in a small pot with a cup of water and boil until the liquid is reduced by half, strain and add the shrimp broth as an additional ingredient in the sauce.
You might wish to serve this pasta dish with grated cheese at the table but in Italy most Italians don’t think you should combine cheese and shellfish. I will leave that to your individual taste, you can always serve it at the table if you wish.Notes From The Kitchen
Pasta with shrimp is such an simple and versatile dish and you can easily adjust the recipe to your own tastes. You could use the same recipe and add scallops, clams, calamari and other seafood and then it would become fruitti di mare, the popular Italian pasta dish meaning “fruit of the sea”. Eliminate the tomatoes and you will have a pasta dish that tastes like shrimp with a scampi sauce. The best part is that this is the type of meal that you can serve your family during the week but it is also special enough to serve your guests when entertaining. Add a simple antipasto at the beginning of the meal and a light dessert such as panna cotta at the end and everyone will be raving about the meal. It will be our secret that most of the meal can be prepared ahead. Buon appetito!