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To Share a Secret – Garlic Shrimp Pasta

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Cooking up this most requested recipe @ our Odena residence

Cooking up this most requested recipe

Whenever we are having a little get together at our place, this is probably one of the most requested dishes. If you’re not a fan of garlic or shrimp, hold on.  The preparation of the garlic changes its taste such that you may not even recognize it as garlic (details below). Many of my friends and family are vegetarians.  Replacing the shrimp with tofu and/or fresh vegetables is still a delicious alternative.  And if you still like your meat, but don’t care for shrimp, pre-cooked, sliced chicken breast are an excellent substitute.  
First of all, the links to some of the items below are just for information.  I don’t recommend you purchase the tomatoes or artichokes from Amazon (which is WAY too expensive). I normally buy mine from Wally or Costco (which is often the MUCH better deal, but requires a membership, buying in bulk and Costco doesn’t always have them in stock). I prefer these brands of tomatoes & artichokes because they are already infused with much of the seasoning & olive oil needed for the recipe (though I often add more).
Now, before we get started, just one more comment about the ingredients. Note that I emphasize two BULBS of garlic, not 2 cloves. Does that seem like way too much? Well, normally, it would be, but the cooking process will totally change the overpowering taste of the garlic into a much more subtle nutty flavor.

Ingredients:

Preparation

Begin by pealing the garlic and slicing into slivers. This can be a time-consuming process and I found it hard on my arthritis-prone hands. After making this a few times, I finally got a garlic slicer. Now the process goes MUCH faster and my hands thank me.

Next, start heating the water for the pasta over high heat. I usually pour a little olive oil into the water to help keep it from sticking.  Depending on how fast you can do the garlic, you may want to start this process first.

Cooking the garlic

Cooking the garlic

Now, in a wok or large frying pan, pour off the herb infused oil from the tomatoes & artichokes (do NOT turn on the burner). Then add the sliced garlic. Thoroughly stir the garlic into the oil. This will coat the garlic to help keep it from sticking together into clumps.  Now turn on the burner to medium heat.  Continuously stir the garlic to keep it from sticking and to ensure even cooking.  Here’s the important part: cook the garlic until it becomes golden brown in color.  This will dramatically reduce the garlic taste and bring out the nutty flavor. Once you get it to the golden color, remove it IMMEDIATELY from the heat (or it will continue darkening).

The water should be boiling by this point. Go ahead and add the pasta and cook according to package instructions.

Now add to the Sun-dried tomatoes, artichoke hearts and shrimp (or whatever suits your taste buds). It seems that there is always someone in a party who will pick out the mushrooms, but I really like them. You may also be a fan of “fresh”, but the canned mushrooms seem to work quite well when cooking.  Put the wok back on medium-low heat and cover. Cook 5-10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the shrimp is done.

Salt & pepper to taste. I sometimes add a little extra italian seasoning. That’s mostly a matter of personal preference.

When the pasta is done, drain thoroughly and coat with a small amount of olive oil to reduce sticking.

Serving

When I first started making this dish, I used to mix all of the ingredients together, including the parmesan (freshly grated or pre-packaged), before serving. As I would normally double or triple the batch, it was extremely difficult to get it mixed thoroughly. Now we just serve buffet style, allowing each person to make their own plate (start with the pasta, then add the garlic mixture and top with parmesan). This has the added benefit of freeing up clutter on the dining table and keeping elbows outta faces. In fact, we’ve become big fans of buffet style eating.

Give it a try and le’me know how it turns out!

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2 responses »

  1. Sounds nom nom good! And btw … that shot of Lance in the kitchen makes me absolutely ACHE for before and after pics of the renovated digs in ID. You know how my Type-A, hyper organized self loves before and after pics! Especially since I am on the same page with Lance’s Grade A decorating skills. Please share (via blog post if you wish, or email will do) if you indeed have the pics, time, and sufficient internet bandwidth.

    Reply
  2. There aren’t really any ‘after’ pix, yet. We’ve been kinda all over the place and wouldn’t say any of it is quite done.

    Reply

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