Monday, June 7, 2010

Summer pasta with broccoli and shrimp

Friday was the start of a truly disgusting weekend in New York. I have lived in New York my whole life. Aside from being the most vital city in the world, it has four distinct seasons. I do not like it when one season intrudes on another, which is apparently what was going on this weekend. We were having late spring with cool nights and low humidity- a time when the weather here is predictable, a time when people plan weddings because they count on that predictability. Quite unexpectedly, our June became August with its stifling heat and sticky humidity. I had to fish the fan out of the closet, close windows, pull down blinds and run air conditioners. On top of that, Neeta (The Wife) called to tell me...are you ready Mid Westerners? She had her wallet picked out of her pocket book. That's right. Cancel the travel plans. Confirm your worst fears. New York is Armageddon.

So this is what I was up against while preparing dinner on Friday- the prospect of being a prisoner in my own living room for the weekend and a grieving wife $300 and a few credit cards poorer. They (the thieves) immediately hightailed it to our metro system where they bought a couple of the most expensive metro cards, which, I am told is the "MOS" of pickpockets. You just have to swipe your credit card to buy a pass-no signatures required. Live and learn friends. The dinner was delicious. I would like to tell you it completely ameliorated TW's sense of loss and instead, led her to wonder why the gods had favored her with such a wonderful and talented husband. Her actual response was somewhat less enthusiastic, but this meal is still a keeper.

Ingredients: 2/5 of a pound of pasta; broccoli florets from one large stalk; 8 jumbo shrimp peeled and deveined; a large clove of garlic and the white part of two scallions diced ; 1/8 tsp.of red pepper flakes; juice of half a lemon plus additional; a medium sized tomato or 2 small ones diced; 2 tablespoons marscepone cheese. Serves two.

To begin with I started the pasta in salted, boiling water and waited till it was 5 minutes short of completion when I added the broccoli draining them both together.

Since I knew reporting the crime at the local precinct would take time, and owing to the weather neither of us would want hot food, I tossed the finished pasta in olive oil to prevent sticking (after picking out the broccoli).

Then, I sauteed a diced clove of garlic, two scallions (white part) and a little red pepper flakes over medium high heat.

  To the hot pan I added first my still crisp broccoli with a little more olive oil, let it cook for 30 seconds, then added the peeled shrimp with their tails still on (for aesthetic reasons).

The juice of half a lemon added flavor and deglazed the pan.

Next, I added the diced tomatoes allowing them to cook just long enough to start releasing their juices.

Finally, I added the marscepone to the pan and stirred to incorporate everything . I then mixed the shrimp and broccoli with the pasta and squeezed a little more lemon juice and the green part of the scallions on top.

The finished dish will keep for some time and can be eaten slightly warm or at room temperature.

By the way, I owe the inspiration to use marscepone cheese to the queen of all things marscepone, Rock and Roll Gourmet. The weekend passed, Neeta got over her loss and by Sunday night it was beautiful again, 65 degrees and low humidity, so come and visit! Just hold on to your pocket books.


  1. That's pretty scary about your wife getting her wallet stolen! Not to mention a big pain to cancel all the credit cards, new license, etc. Glad she was not hurt.

    Wish I could claim that the midwest is crime free, unfortunately, the reality is that I feel less safe in my neighborhood here in South Bend, IN (which has regular burglaries) than I did in South Florida! Here they just come right through the front door, if your home or not, and take what they want.

    Nice dinner, though. I'm sure your wife was very appreciative! Perfect for a hot Spring night.

  2. We New Yorkers are tough because of the pains, big and little associated with life here. Thanks for your thoughts, Amy

  3. Joe this looks wonderful, but I'm sorry to hear about the theft. You asked about the strata. I did cut off the crust. The bread absorbs the egg/cream mixture. Be sure to use a high-sided pan. I had to squash mine down making it less high than it could have been. I hope you are having a grand day. Blessings...Mary

  4. Yes indeed. Summer on a plate. Looks fabulous. You are such an inspiration to me. Thanks.

  5. Definitely looks delicious and light and simple.
    And nice use of mascarpone to finish the sauce! ;)

  6. I thought you'd like that! (My marscepone muse)

  7. Joe, Sorry about your wifes theft, every area has it's crime and we all have to be careful, thank goodness she was fine and not harmed! At least she got to enjoy this lovely dinner you made her. Tomatoes and mascarpone, I have to try that next time!

  8. Joe, I think your wife would love the cauliflower fritters. They are wonderful. Have a great day. Blessings...Mary

  9. Joe, thanks for the suggestion. If I decide to use filo again I will definitely try it. Blessings...Mary

  10. PS- The new look of your blog page is very nice. Calming too.