OK – so maybe you don’t find shrimp sexy?? ….something about all those legs clinging to it’s belly perhaps? – but under the circumstances, last night being St Valentine’s Day, I felt the shrimp just had to be sexy, or taste sexy at least! The truth is I worked all day, until about 6.45pm to be exact, and I wasn’t quite ready to linger over dinner and play cupid. My kids however were very adamant that it should be a special dinner and asked me quite seriously what had I planned for our Valentine dinner??? I poured over the freezer and dug up a 2 lb bag of shrimp and starting waxing on about how I was going to cook shrimp with white wine and fresh thyme and finally toss it in a bed of linguine – very exciting stuff. They were convinced it had been something I had thought of and planned for weeks and waited for the call to dinner with eagerness! All I felt was tiredness and a longing for a nice pair of pajamas and a snug bed. I rallied however, and I am so glad that I did. We decided on a romantic movie to set get us into the spirit of the thing as I began to figure out what I should cook. I found all sorts of goodies in the fridge. Besides the shrimp I found scallions, garlic, celery, white wine, a fresh bunch of thyme and a pound of linguine. I was inspired, and this is the dish that we feasted on this Valentine evening. The food was so good. The cooking, the movie, the company all made magic happen. It was a splendid meal and I will certainly search my blog to make sure to make this again and again! I also made a cocktail that I will also make sure to make again – it was a sort of vodka/pink grapefruit martini – a lovely drink for tired people about to launch into dinner!
You will need: 1 1/2 lbs shrimp (31-40 count per lb size) peeled and deveined, 4 cloves garlic, 5 to 6 scallions (green onions), 1 dry pint cherry tomatoes, 2 inner celery stalks (tender with lots of leafy parts), 1 small head of Romaine lettuce, 10 stems of fresh thyme, 1/2 cup white wine, 1 vegetable bouillon cube, 1 1/2 cups water, 3 tbs extra virgin olive oil, 1 lb linguine pasta (I used Barilla brand).
Prep everything first: finely chop scallions (including green parts), garlic and celery (including leaves) and set aside together. Wash tomatoes. Pluck leaves from thyme (you don’t have to do this carefully – if you have some stem in there, it doesn’t matter), Peel and devein shrimp (I sometimes buy shrimp with shell on but already deveined for convenience) and cut right down the middle (like you are butterflying – if that’s a word?) into two pieces, chop lettuce, have your wine and water and olive oil at the ready. Time to cook: Put a big saute pan on low to medium and add the olive oil.
Let it heat up for a minute or two and then add the garlic, celery, scallion mixture and saute for about 4 or 5 minutes. Add the tomatoes and cook for a further 2 minutes or so. At this point put pasta water on to boil. Chop stock cube (I always do this as it is easier to mix in) and add to pan, along with the thyme. Mix into the vegetables and let cook for a further 2 minutes before adding the wine. Turn heat up and let wine come to a simmer. Add water and bring to a simmer. Add the lettuce and the shrimp and cook for about 4 minutes.
Taste broth and add salt and freshly ground black pepper if you desire (certainly add the pepper – adds so much flavor!) Turn off pan and cover. In the meantime the pasta water should have boiled. Cook pasta according to instructions. Scoop out about 1/4 cup of pasta water before draining. Add linguine immediately to pan and give everything a stir to incorporate. Add the pasta water if you want more liquid.
Serve in Shallow bowls or plate and garnish with a little Parmigiano Reggiano if you feel like it! This was sumptuous – possibly bordering on sexy?