Comfort joins the Festa!
|I've got to admit something.. you guys and the dishes you've been bringing to La Festa al Fresco have been AMAZING! So amazingly creative and beautiful that you all have kinda freaked me out! I could not figure out what I was going to make. Yes, one of the gals who has been planning this party for MONTHS - I should have had my dish figured out and made WEEKS ago.|
At first, I had all this time to decide what I'd offer to the party and then all of a sudden it was like, "Holy crap! You've got 5 days until Festa day!" and then it became 4 days.. then 3 days and I was seriously starting to panic.
But after much deliberation, I simply sat down with a cup of tea and started thinking about what really sounded good to me and what might be a crowd pleaser. Something fresh and not so heavy it'd take away from the main ingredient(s). I am still in my comforting and pampering mode.. so I decided to just walk into my kitchen and start throwing ingredients together that brought back memories of my father cooking at one end of the kitchen and my mother cooking at the other.. the aroma of garlic and onions sauteing was a must. The scent of chopped, garden fresh tomatoes was another.
A special treat when I was a child was fresh seafood in the mix and I had some beautiful wild Louisana shrimp just waiting to be added to the perfect dish that would allow their slighty salty taste and creamy texture to shine through. The combination of the fresh tomatoes with the aromatic garlic and onions was simply heavenly. I was brought back to the Sunday's of my childhood when the restuarant was closed but the kitchen was busy with activity in preparation for our Sunday family dinner. My dad cracking jokes, my mom rolling her eyes but laughing at his goofiness. Dad constantly ripping off chunks of Italian bread to dunk into whatever sauce or dressing he was making - as that was the only way he'd taste for seasoning - and if I was close by, he'd yell for me to come over and taste too. Yeah, I was definitely on the right track.
And so, I offer to you, my friends, a comforting garden tomato and shrimp linguine - just the way my parents would make. I hope you enjoy!!
1 lb. linguine
1 lb. medium raw shimp, peeled & deveined
2 large tomatoes, chopped (preferably straight from a garden)
3 cloves garlic, minced fine
1/2 med. Vidalia onion, minced fine
2 TBS. olive oil
1 tsp. sea salt
1/2 c. Parmigiano Reggiano or Pecorino Romano, grated
3 TBS. fresh, chopped parsley
In a large pan, bring 6 cups of water to a boil. Salt and oil water before adding the linguine and cook for approximately 8 minutes or until al dente.
In a medium skillet, saute the garlic and onions in the olive oil until just browned. Add the chopped tomatoes and salt. Cook down until the mixture reduces by half then add the fresh parsley. Remove from heat.
*At the 5 minute mark of your linguine cooking, throw the raw shrimp in the boiling water and allow them to cook the last 3 minutes. Drain linguine and shrimp, but reserve about 1 cup of the pasta water.
In a large bowl, combine the linguine and shrimp with the tomato mixture and add the grated cheese. Mix well. Add pasta water slowly until you've made a creamy sauce - you may or may not need the whole cup, I used about 1/2 c.
Serve family style with extra grated cheese for sprinkling on the pasta and fresh Italian bread for sopping up the sauce.
*Note: Alternatively, you can certainly cook the shrimp in with the tomato mixture. For me, I didn't want the shrimp to take on too much of a garlic taste, so I chose to boil them with the pasta. But, by all means, go with what sounds best to you - you can't go wrong! =)