creamy shrimp pasta

I hope these pictures look focused to you.  I think that they are, but maybe my brain is tricking itself; I’m not sure.  Saturday morning started out lovely with sunshine and some delicious chocolate muffins I’ll share with you in a few days.  I took some pictures in the dining room and then left the plate of muffins and my camera and the tablecloth sitting out because I couldn’t wait to actually eat the muffins.  And mid-way through enjoying our breakfast we heard something fall to the floor and the claw scrapings of the cat darting up the stairs…and in the dining room the tablecloth was pulled half-way off the table and my camera was on the floor.

So needless to say, it is not entirely functional as of now.  Thankfully it is just the lens that has jammed somehow so that the auto focus won’t focus.  So until we get a new lens (we are not at all fancy enough to have multiple lenses), I’ll have to shoot by manually focusing (which, by the way, it refuses to turn enough to focus from certain distances…that’s what is jammed), and even though I have fantastic eyesight I’m still not sure if I can tell how focused the camera is on the little viewing screen (I am also not fancy enough to have my camera hooked up directly to my computer for all shots…although I’m starting to see why this is incredibly smart).

Despite the whole camera-on-the-floor debacle, the rest of our weekend was quite wonderful.  My brother was home from school for the weekend, so we spent a lot of time with my family.  And it was warm enough to go on a run but still cold enough at night to turn on the fire.  It was one of those weekends that was both relaxing and productive at the same time, which is rare and magical combination I’m not sure how I happen to find sometimes.

This shrimp pasta is what we had for dinner on Sunday night.  I love how I’ve been finding new dinners that are so simple to put together, and are enough in and of themselves to constitute pretty much the entirety of our dinner plus a little salad for some vegetable (my most recent favorite is this).  This is, of course, something I refused as a child.  I wanted all my ingredients separate.  And while in this case I chose to have a bit of spinach salad on the side instead of throwing the spinach into the pasta as the original recipe suggested, I am proud to say that I no longer feel the need to separate my shrimp out from my noodles.  Progress, people.

Creamy Shrimp Pasta
adapted from Real Simple Magazine (April 2011)

Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes

Serves 4

12 oz. short pasta (any kind you like)
2 tablespoons butter
2 leeks, white and light green parts, rinsed and cut into half-moons
Salt
Pepper
1 lb. medium shrimp, peeled and deveined
1 lemon, zested
1/2 cup heavy cream*
Parmesan cheese, to finish

1. Begin by cooking the pasta in a large pot of heavily salted water.  When the pasta is al dente, drain and return it to the pot, setting it aside (off the heat for now).
2. Heat a large saute pan over medium heat.  Add the butter, and once the butter has melted, add the leeks, seasoning them with a pinch of salt and pepper.  Cook, stirring occasionally, until the leeks are tender, 3-5 minutes (you can easily do this while the pasta is cooking).
3. Add the shrimp and lemon zest to the saute pan.  Cook, stirring and turning the shrimp often, until the shrimp are light pink on both sides, about 4-6 minutes (2-3 minutes per side for the shrimp).
4. When the shrimp is almost done, place the pot of drained pasta over medium heat.  Add the cream along with a pinch of salt, and cook, stirring almost constantly, until the cream has slightly thickened and is clinging to the pasta, about 1-2 minutes.
5. Add the shrimp, leeks, and the juices from the saute pan to the pasta, stirring to combine.  Serve the pasta warm with a bit (or, if you prefer, a generous amount) of Parmesan cheese sprinkled over the top of the dish.

*The original recipe calls for 3/4 cup of cream, and if you would like the pasta to be creamier you can certainly add that much.  I felt that a little less did the job well though, and of course less cream is always better for you.

3 Responses

  1. Kathryn March 6, 2012 at 5:54 am |

    What a nightmare! I think the photos look absolutely fine but what a pain – I’m not sure I could do all that manual adjustment and come up with anything as good! This pasta looks great too – I do something similar with bacon rather than shrimp and it’s such a great quick and tasty meal!

    Reply
  2. thelittleloaf March 6, 2012 at 10:02 am |

    Oh my god, how annoying! This is why I don’t have a cat :-) Hope that gorgeous pasta dish cheered you up though – it looks so simple and delicious. Like Kathryn, I’ve made something similar with bacon before – like a lighter version of carbonara. Yum.

    Reply

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