Thursday, April 24, 2008

Shrimp pasta dish with spring vegetables...

I was at the market yesterday to pick up some ingredients for tonight's dinner when I saw there were a few bundles of asparagus that looked especially enticing and noticed they were also refilling a bin with fresh snow peas. I remembered a recipe that I had set aside to make a little later in the springtime, but decided to push back tonight's scheduled dinner to tomorrow and make this Penne with Shrimp, Feta, and Spring Vegetables dish instead.

This recipe even got a couple bonus points before we even got started - it is all done in one pot and can be prepared in less than half an hour! The timing for this dish will depend more on the directions from your pasta's package. Once the pasta has dropped, you want to let it cook by itself until there is about 5 minutes left before the pasta is al dente. For the whole-wheat pasta we used (I actually used a combination of whole-wheat and multi-grained pasta as we just enough of each left), the total cooking time was around 11 minutes. So, 6 minutes after the salted water had started working its magic, we dropped in the beautiful asparagus pieces. 3 minutes later, peeled shrimp and a couple handfuls of diagonally sliced snow peas are added.

Before you drain away the cooking liquid, remember to scoop out about 1/2 cups worth. I try to do it this way, rather than trying to catch it as I pour it, because I've forgotten to put a bowl underneath the colander more than I'd care to remember, watching the needed starchy water go down the drain. Once the pasta and veggies are put back into the warm pot, the mixture is dressed with a few tablespoons of slick extra-virgin olive oil, fresh tangy lemon juice, a couple cloves of minced raw garlic and some of that reserved cooking liquid to add moisture. Feta crumbles are gently tossed in for a salty bite with a scattering of bright mint leaves to add a fresh burst. Besides adding protein, the tender shrimp helped keep the dish feel light and fresh - however, I think it would taste well with some shredded chicken if you don't favor seafood.

Even though the garlic was raw, the stronger flavors that were added allowed it to be put into submission, so you get just enough pungent taste without it being annoyingly harsh. If you don't care for that type of flavor at all, just go ahead and toss the cloves in when you add the shrimp to mellow it out.


  1. Yummy, I love shrimps. I have to tell you that I have to go back to the store to buy Oreos because the boys are requesting more Outrageous Oreo Crunch Brownies.

  2. Joe, I think this sounds just amazing!

  3. You always have the most delicious dishes, I'm constantly bookmarking things to try from your site.

  4. This looks amazing, and that shrimp right there in front is calling my name!!

  5. Helene - Woo! Go brownies... they do keep well in the freezer if you want to hide a few for yourself!

    Kalyn, Brilynn and Lori - Thank you!