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Monday, July 9, 2012

Shrimp Amatriciana

This is a Rachael Ray recipe originally.  She wraps the shrimp in pancetta for beautiful presentation.  I don't worry so much about that presentation crap.  My less-attractive-but-still-delicious way of prepping this dish ahead also lets you organize it as a freezer kit, which I don't feel comfortable doing with shrimp that you've had to thaw and handle as you'll do if you wrap it with pancetta.

I've made this dish with regular ol' American bacon instead of pancetta and it's quite tasty.  The difference between Italian pancetta and most conventional bacons is smoking...bacon is smoked, pancetta is not.  Bacon is also usually cut much thicker than pancetta is.  So if you want to use it to wrap the shrimp in, unless you have really big shrimp or really thin bacon, you'll need to halfway-cook the bacon first to keep from having overcooked shrimp with still-raw bacon wrappers.  Of course, if you skip the wrapping (like I do), you don't need to worry about this at all.

To make a freezer kit, dice up your bacon/pancetta and wrap well.  Dice the onion and put in a freezer container.  Combine white wine and basil (I have basil puree already frozen and just take a lump out of that stash) in a freezer container.  Package all together with shrimp and cooking instructions.  Make sure to have some whole canned tomatoes in the pantry along with your pasta (I label the boxes and cans that belong to a kit so I don't forget and use them for something else). 

If you're just prepping ahead for same day or next day cooking, you can use fresh tomatoes.  I'm using 1 pint cherry tomatoes and 3 medium normal tomatoes cuz that's just what I have on hand.  Chop/combine ingredients as suggested above and fridge.

Slap a note somewhere in your workspace when you start cooking that you'll need to grab 1/2 cup of pasta water before draining.  I *always* forget this part.

Shrimp Amatriciana
Makes 4-6 servings

1 lb. shrimp, peeled
1/4 lb. pancetta or bacon, diced
1 small onion, diced
4 cups tomatoes (2 15 oz. cans whole tomatoes, partly drained, or 4 cups fresh)
1/4 white wine or vermouth
5-6 leaves basil, sliced or 1 tbsp frozen puree
1/2 cup parsley, chopped (optional)
1 lb. pasta

Cook shrimp and bacon/pancetta together over slightly higher than medium heat in a large skillet, about 5 minutes.  Remove shrimp when cooked through, but let bacon/pancetta continue to cook. 

Add onion, and cook 3-5 minutes until softened and until pancetta is lightly browned.  Add tomatoes, wine and basil.  Cover skillet.  Simmer 5 minutes. 

Meanwhile cook pasta.  Reserve 1/2 cup pasta water, then drain.  Add pasta water and parsley to sauce.  Toss pasta with hot sauce. Pin It

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