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We get that summer is grilling season. We really do. But we have a confession to make. Our favorite dish to make when the sun is beating down isn’t something on the grill. No, even when it’s hot outside, we can’t bear to go more than a few days without having pasta for dinner, and we know that Giada De Laurentiis relates. While you might associate pasta with heavy ingredients and cozy winter dinners, it’s actually the perfect blank canvas for a meal loaded with vibrant flavors that will wake up your taste buds and get you ready for that next dip in the pool. Add in a short 15-minute cooking time, and De Laurentiis’ Pasta with Spicy Calabrian Shrimp is exactly the kind of summer pasta recipe we dream about.
Why do we love this recipe so much? Because it’s smart. It uses bold ingredients that come from the store to add depths of flavor without adding to the cooking time, which is important in the summer when the kitchen gets hot.
The recipe has many of the ingredients you might expect in a summery pasta recipe. There’s olive oil, lemon juice and lemon zest, garlic, red onion, Parmigiano-Reggiano, and basil, but it’s the two pantry ingredients De Laurentiis uses that really make this meal pop.
The first has quickly become one of our favorite ingredients: Calabrian chile paste.
It’s made from Italian Calabrian peppers, which are spicy, sweet, and a little tangy, thanks to being preserved with a bit of vinegar. They come packed in oil, and have a luxurious texture that melts right into a hot skillet of pasta.
The other ingredient is one that’s gotten an unfair rap in the past few decades, but it’s finally coming back into fashion. We’re talking sun-dried tomatoes.
These tangy-sweet morsels taste like concentrated sunshine, and they add a huge burst of flavor to any recipe. They may have been overused in the 90s or whatever, but is that really a reason to avoid such a delicious, time-saving ingredient? Yeah, we didn’t think so.
Last but not least is the easiest shortcut of all. De Laurentiis makes this 15-minute pasta recipe feel more special than a basic weeknight meal by switching up the pasta shape. She opts for hearty paccheri (we like De Cecco),
which is the perfect balance for the juicy shrimp and bold flavors in her recipe.
There you have it. The perfect 15-minute summer pasta recipe, made with two store-bought Italian ingredients you’ll want to use again and again. Leave it to Giada De Laurentiis, the queen of pasta!
Watch: How to Make Giada De Laurentiis’ Stuffed Lasagna Rolls