This dinner was completely driven by my CSA box of veggies which I receive from Good Work Farm each Wednesday (see top right of this blog for what a CSA means etc). It is getting to the point in the growing season where more and more vegetables are maturing, and so yesterday, I was greeted by wonderful purple, red and yellow potatoes, dill, yellow cherry tomatoes, purple bunching onions, cucumbers, carrots, beets, tons of basil, and 5 fabulous heads of garlic from Rambler Farm (Good Work have co-oped with them to give their CSA members lots of variety). Wow – what a harvest! I wanted to cook it all, just to taste it.
When I put all the vegetables on my counter top, I decided that everything besides the protein (I was defrosting some shrimp) would come from my CSA box.
I went with something that would highlight the vegetables, and so made a light tangy broth with wine, butter and lemon juice (oops, where did that lemon come from?). I cannot tell you the difference it made to the dish to use produce that was barely out of the ground from a few short miles away. I could taste every nuance each vegetable had to offer, from the sweetness of the tomatoes to the sting of the garlic.
When I presented this bowl of goodness to my children I felt as if I were giving them a birthday present, and they received their food with equal enthusiasm. Dinner was ravenously eaten by all, and the broth was slurped and sopped with bread until our plates needed no washing!
You will need: 1lb shrimp, peeled and deveined (31-40 count per lb size), 2 tbs extra-virgin olive oil, 2 bunching onions including green parts (or 4 scallions), sliced, 2 cups yellow cherry tomatoes, cut 1 cup in half and leave 1 cup whole (red is fine too), 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped, 1/2 cup chopped basil leaves, 1 carrot, thinly sliced, 1 cup white wine, 1/2 cup water, 1/2 vegetable bouillon cube,( or 1/2 cup chicken broth), crumbled, 2 tbs unsalted butter, 2 tbs freshly squeezed lemon juice, 1 cup cooked pasta water (which you scoop before you drain the spaghetti), 1 lb spaghetti (I use Barilla brand), coarse sea salt (I use Maldon salt flakes), freshly ground black pepper.
1 – Put big saute pan on medium heat and add the extra-virgin oil. Saute onions or scallions for 3 minutes before adding the carrots and garlic. Continue to saute until the onions soften (about 7 or 8 minutes), stirring frequently (adjust heat if necessary).
*Put pasta water on to boil and cook spaghetti according to instructions. Try to time the process so as the spaghetti is ready after the shrimp has been added to the pan. Scoop out 1 cup of pasta water before draining and set aside for use in the sauce.
2 – Add wine and let it come to a boil. Simmer wine for 5 minutes before adding the halved tomatoes, chopped basil, water and crumbled bouillon (or broth). Bring liquid to a simmer and cook for a couple of minutes. Taste broth at this point and add salt and pepper according to your taste.
3 – Add the shrimp and whole tomatoes and bring back to a slight simmer. Cook shrimp for 3 minutes. Add the butter and lemon juice and stir.
4 – Toss the cooked pasta directly into the pan when it is drained and add a 1/2 cup of the pasta water and stir. If you would like a brothier sauce (We Do!), add the rest of the water.
Serve in warm shallow bowls with a couple of fresh basil leaves (if you have them), and a grating of Parmigiano Reggiano cheese if you like.