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Cooking With Booze

Kissing and Making Up with Shrimp Pasta

Soooooo. . .  I guess I spilled the beans on the Wifey’s grade on our History of Mexico class.  My wife was never was a fan of history, more of an artsy computer geek, if that’s possible.  I don’t think she was too mad, but I guess I still needed to make amends.  With the older kids gone to Grandma and Grandpa’s, it’s time that we kiss and make up.  What better way to do that than a little wine and dine?  What makes a nice romantic dinner?  Shrimp Pasta? Check.  Wine? Check.  Mixed drinks? Check.  Sounds good to me.

On a side note, I have learned one other thing about myself writing this blog: I must have a thing for Giada of Food Network.  The shrimp pasta I made was based off of her recipe just like the fajita meal was.

Anyway, this is what you will need:

1 lb Shrimp, peeled and deveined (I like the 21-25 shrimp per pound)

Extra Virgin Olive Oil

6 Cloves Garlic, minced

1 Small Onion, roughly chopped

1 TSP Ground Black Pepper

¼ Cup Fresh Basil, chopped

¼ Cup Fresh Parsley, chopped

½ Tsp Salt

¼ Tsp Crushed Red Pepper

¾ lb Penne Pasta (3/4 of a box)

1 ½ Cup Dry White Wine (or 1 cup white wine and ½ cup Grand Marnier)

1/3 Cup Clam Juice

3 Tomatoes, Diced

1 Cup Heavy Whipping Cream

¾ Cup Grated Parmesan Cheese

1 Lemon cut in half and thinly slice ½ of lemon

A note on this dish: prep everything beforehand.   Chop and slice everything that you can.  Things get added very quickly and prepping in between steps can lead to overcooking.

Bring water in a large pasta pot and cook pasta and cook as directed on package.  Drain and set aside.  Pour four turns of olive oil around a large, high walled skillet or stock pot over medium heat.  Add the onion and cook until it starts to turn transparent, about 3-5 minutes.  Throw in the garlic and crushed red pepper and cook for 3 more minutes.  Place raw shrimp in pan and cook until pink and heated through, about 4 minutes.  Don’t cook too long or they will dry out.  Remove shrimp and set aside.

Add wine and Grand Marnier (if using) to the pan and reduce for about 4 minutes, cooking the alcohol out.  Add the clam juice, black pepper, basil, parsley and tomato.  Squeeze the juice out of the unsliced half of lemon and add the lemon slices.  Cook for about 3 minutes and add the cream.  Bring to boil and simmer for about 9-10 minutes, or until sauce thickens.  Remove the lemon slices and add the shrimp, pasta and Parmesan cheese and toss until all the pasta is coated.

This is a great meal that takes some prep time, but is easy to make.  It tastes like it’s from a restaurant, but can be made in less than an hour.  I like to use Pinot Grigio in the meal and pair it with the same.  The crispness of the wine goes well with the creamy sweetness of the sauce.   Chardonnay would pair with this well, but Wifey and I are not big fans of it.  Play with the wines you use.  If you like, grill the shrimp instead of sauteing them.

A nice mixed drink with this an amaretto stone sour, a great, refreshing summer drink.  Very easy to make, this is a light drink that won’t hit you too hard.

How to make:

Fill an Old Fashion Glass with Ice and add:

2 oz Amaretto

2 oz OJ (the stone)

Fill to top with 7up and enjoy!

All in all, a great way to kiss and make up and get out of the dog house.


Rockin’ the Risotto . . . Almond Style

Well, here goes.  My first true food update.  Last Friday (July 2nd), we did our weekly grocery shopping.  Low and behold, when I went to buy meat, the only steak they had was ribeye.  Apparently, everyone had beat me to the strip steaks for their 4th of July BBQ’s.  I’ve never actually grilled a ribeye steak before, but there’s always a first for everything.  Anyway, when we went to make dinner tonight, I had a hankering for some risotto to go with those ribeyes.  Since the lovely and talented other half likes that dish, she was all for it.  I was in an experimenting mood, so I decided to make a change to the normal recipe, a sweet almond flavor.  I did so by adding a 1/4 cup of Amaretto (Disaranno if you must know).  The recipe as follows:

1 cup basmatti rice

2 turns of olive oil (about 2 tbs)

2 tbs of butter

1/2 cup dry white wine (Sauvigon Blanc)

1/4 cup Amaretto

1 small white onion

3 cloves garlic

32 oz of chicken broth

Hot tap water if needed

In a small saucepan, heat the chicken broth under low heat.  It makes the absorption of the liquid much faster.  In a medium saucepan, heat (medium) your two turns of olive oil and butter until butter is melted.  Saute the onions until partially transparent (about 4 minutes) and then add the garlic and saute for another 4 minutes.  Add the rice and cook for about 2 minutes.  The oil and butter will soak into the rice giving it a shiny appearance.  After 2 minutes, add the wine, amaretto and 1/2 cup of chicken broth.

Allow the mixture to come to a slow boil and turn down to medium low (3 on my stove).  Stir often until the rice has absorbed most of the liquid.   Add a cup of chicken broth and repeat.  After the third addition of liquid is reduced and absorbed, taste the rice.  If it’s nice and soft, it’s ready.  Usually it takes me 4 additions to make it the way I like it.  It you run out of broth, add the hot water instead.  If you add too much broth, the taste of the broth will overpower everything else.

I paired the risotto with the ribeye and grilled asparagus.  The amaretto gave a nice sweet flavor that blended well with the wine and rice.  The bitterness of the asparagus balanced the sweetness of the risotto.  We had a Marquis Phillips 2008 Shiraz I picked up at Costco for around $10.  Very good wine for the price.  Nice pepper spice on front and back of the tongue with a cranberry/vanilla/chocolate middle.  I highly recommend it!