Saturday, May 26, 2018

Damned Good Food - Tuscan Shrimp with Pasta

I know I haven't done one of these in a while, but the kidult and I tried this recipe last week (with many alterations of our own design) and it turned out SO GOOD -- so I had to share.

We have tried to live a pescatarian lifestyle, but have fallen off that boat and are back to eating all kinds of meat. But the positive side effect is that we're still eating much more seafood than other meats each week, which isn't a bad thing, health-wise.

We have shrimp a lot. A WHOLE LOT. I recommend buying fresh, if you can, as they have more flavor (which are often previously frozen, but can't help that much.) Frozen bagged shrimp often lack the same great flavor after they've been frozen for long periods of time, but many people not close to water sources have no other alternative if they want shrimp.  (BTW - Whole Foods has had some great fresh shrimp on sale the last few weeks, so I've been in heaven.)

Also, wild caught is healthier than farm raised. Too many farms are feeding antibiotics, hormones, and animal feed to farm raised fish/shrimp, so they're often not as healthy as wild caught.  Also, I NEVER buy wild caught from Asian markets, particularly China. Their waters are highly polluted.

Shrimp is very low in fat and calories, so it's a great addition to the diet. Of course, this recipe has heavy cream in it, so that's adding it back in, but it's all about balance, right?

Okay, off my soapbox about seafood and on to the recipe

(Oh, one last thing -- I've heard this recipe is really good with chicken cutlets instead of shrimp if you're not a seafood fan!)

Tuscan Shrimp with Pasta

Prep 5 to 10 mins
Cooking 15 mins

3-4 servings


2 tablespoons butter
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 pound shrimp, peeled and deveined
1/2 small yellow onion, diced
1/2 cup white wine (or broth, if you prefer)
6 oz. diced FRESH tomatoes (capriani are great in this)
1 cup heavy whipping cream
3/4 cup milk*
3-4 cups baby spinach leaves, washed and stems removed
1 1/2 cup fresh grated Parmesan cheese
1 teaspoon cornstarch mixed with 1 tablespoons of water**
1 teaspoon fresh diced/dried rosemary
1 teaspoon fresh diced/dried thyme
1 teaspoon fresh diced/dried oregano
Salt and pepper, to taste

About 9 -12 oz of your favorite pasta***
Reserve 1/2 cup of pasta water

*I used 2% milk, but would likely do fine with full fat, too - skim might be too thin. If you really want to try skim, I suggest perhaps adding another half teaspoon of cornstarch to your slurry.

**Mixing cornstarch and water makes a slurry - make sure there are no lumps! Mix with a fork and break lumps up. The smaller your bowl/cup to mix in, the better - ramekins work great, if you have one. Warm water works best, and you can use some of the pasta water if you'd like - it has a little added starch from the pasta, too)

***Use 9 oz for 3 people, 12 oz if serving 4.  We used rotini the first time, but I think linguini or fettuccine, or even a thin spaghetti, might be a better choice next time. 


Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Melt the butter and add in the garlic and fry until fragrant, about one minute.

Add rosemary, thyme, and oregano, sauté for just 30 seconds (if diced) to a minute (if fresh) to warm them through and enhance flavor.

Add in the shrimp and fry two minutes on each side, until just cooked through and pink. Transfer to a plate and set aside.

Fry the onion in the butter/herbs remaining in the skillet until near translucent. Pour in the white wine or broth, and reduce by half, deglazing the bottom of the pan (scrape the bottom).

Add the diced tomatoes and sauté for three minutes.

Reduce heat to low-medium heat, add the cream and milk. Bring to a low simmer, while stirring occasionally for about four to five minutes. Season with salt and pepper to your taste.

While the cream and milk is simmering, bring a 4 qt pot of salted water to boil. Add your pasta and cook using the instructions included, or to your taste preference. (Some like al dente, some don't) Drain when done and hold. Don't forget to reserve 1/2 cup of the pasta water!

Add in the washed spinach leaves to the cream sauce and allow to wilt in the sauce, stirring often.

And add in the parmesan cheese and blend.

Allow sauce to simmer for a minute or two, or until cheese melts thoroughly in the sauce.

Add the cornstarch/water slurry to the pan and continue to simmer while quickly stirring the mixture through until the sauce thickens.

Add the shrimp back into the pan and stir through.

Add the pasta back into the pan and stir through. If sauce is too thick, add a little bit of the pasta water, no more than a tablespoon at a time until you get the desired consistency.


Original recipe was found at Cafe Delights and altered for our preferences with supplemental additions made to unclear instructions.
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