Two of my favorite things put together….pasta and shrimp. I created this recipe a few years ago when I was having some friends over for dinner. I wanted to create a recipe with a nice balance of sweet tomato and savory capers enhanced by a light cream sauce. I find that the half and half adds just the right amount of richness without being too heavy. Give it a try. It is easy and quick to make.
1 – lb. large shrimp, cleaned and deveined
2 – cloves garlic
2 – tbls. tomato paste
1/4 – tsp. crushed red pepper
3/4 – cup white wine (use a good dry table wine that you like to drink)
2 – tbls. capers
1 – cup grape tomatoes (cut in half)
3/4 – cup half and half
Ground black pepper
1 – lb. linguine
1 – tbls. chopped fresh parsley
Pecorino or Parmesan cheese (optional)
Heat a large pot of water on the stove for the pasta. When the water comes to a boil, add 2 tsp. salt and the linguine. Cook until al dente (a little bite) or according to the package directions.
In the meantime, prepare the shrimp and sauce. It does not take long to make, so the sauce should be ready by the time the pasta is cooked. Rinse off the shelled and deveined shrimp in cold water (I buy the shrimp already deveined; this saves a lot of time). Dry them off on paper towel and then sprinkle with salt and black pepper to taste. In a large skillet, heat 3 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil on a medium flame. Peel the garlic and smash it with the side of a large kitchen knife. Add it to the hot oil and sauté about 2 minutes, then add the shrimp. Stir often and cook until the shrimp start to turn pink, about 2 minutes.
Now add the crushed red pepper and tomato paste. Stir the tomato paste and let cook about 1 minute before adding the wine. Add the wine and stir to deglaze the pan and incorporate the tomato paste. Turn the flame down to low and let cook until the wine is reduced by half. This takes about 1 1/2 minutes. Stir often and watch so that it does not all evaporate. Remove just the shrimp and set aside.
Add to the skillet the grape tomatoes and capers and cook about 2 minutes. If the capers are the large variety, chopped them before adding. Next add the half and half. Stir and let cook about 2 minutes more. Return the shrimp to the sauce, stir and cook about 1 minute more to finish cooking the shrimp. Add about 1/8 tsp. ground black pepper and salt to taste. Taste the sauce before adding salt because the capers are salty. Before you add the pasta remove the garlic cloves from the sauce.
When the pasta is ready, drain it and add to the skillet with the shrimp and sauce. Mix through and top off with one teaspoons chopped parsley. Serve immediately.
Note: In the Italian tradition, cheese is not served with seafood; however, if you want to add grated pecorino or parmesan cheese then please do.