Sunday Pasta: Farfalle con Gamberi e Asparagi (Shrimp and Asparagus)
I always knew that Forrest Gump wasn’t the sophisticate people made him out to be. Sure he made a fortune, walked a lot, and was wildly popular, but could he cook? I think not. In his litany of ways to prepare shrimp, he showed his hand: “You can barbecue it, boil it, broil it, bake it…lemon shrimp, coconut shrimp, [blah, blah, blah] shrimp… That’s, that’s about it.” Wrong Forrest! His rookie error? In all of this, he forgot one of the most obvious and delicious ways ever to cook shrimp: with pasta! Just imagine if he had said this in perfect Italian, “Jenny, lo so che stai morendo, così ti ho fatto un piatto gustoso di farfalle con gamberi e asparagi per farvi godere il vostro ultimo pasto.” (Translation: “Jenny, I know you’re dying, so I’ve made you a tasty bowl of farfalle con gamberi e asparagi for you to enjoy as your last meal.”) Now that would have been both impressive and dramatic. But no, like the dish itself, Forrest was just simple, light, and healthy… and yes, crowd pleasing.
Shrimp is often paired with pasta in a variety of ways: with tomato, artichoke, or zucchini, and spiced with with saffron, lemon, or pepper. But in late summer, I like it nice and simple, with the complimentary flavor of asparagus.
Cooking and Prep time: 1 hour Serves: 4-6
Ingredients: 1 lb farfalle (penne or other short pasta) 1 lb shrimp (cleaned and peeled) 1 bunch asparagus 1 onion, chopped 1 cup white wine Olive oil Salt and pepper
Bring a large pot of water to boil for the pasta. (Add salt to the water after you cook the asparagus.)
To prepare the asparagus, cut off the tough bottom portion of each stalk and discard. Cut the remaining stalks into bite sized pieces. Into the boiling water, add the asparagus and cook for 3 minutes. Remove the asparagus with a slotted spoon and set aside. Cut the shrimp into bite sized pieces. (If the shrimp are not cooked, then clean and peel them and cut them into bite-sized pieces.)
In a large skillet, sauté the onion in a few tablespoons of olive oil. When it is golden, add the asparagus and sauté together for a couple of minutes and then add the shrimp. After another minute (longer if the shrimp is not pre-cooked), add the white wine. Add some salt and cook the combined ingredients over medium heat for two additional minutes.
Cook the pasta until just shy of al dente, and retain 1 cup of the cooking water. Drain the pasta and add it to the shrimp and asparagus. Cook together for 1 minute, adding the retained cooking water as needed to make sure the pasta is moist and well coated. Serve immediately.
Ed Garrubbo, Editor
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