Tuesday, June 30, 2020

Leite's Culinaria: Shrimp and Leek Pasta

Lately it's been all about the fast dishes in my house.  My work seems to have expanded all of the extra hours of the day, and you can only order Uber Eats so many times before your wallet starts to cry.  Thus, this pasta.  It's actually based on a similar pasta made with sausage (that also sounds like it would be amazing), and even though the ingredients are pretty simple, it's a powerhouse of flavor.  Just use the best ingredients you can find, and sit back and enjoy.

Note: I did not use a full pound of pasta, just 8 ounces.  Pasta sits like a brick in my stomach, so I like my dishes more protein-heavy.  To each his own, but if you go my route, it's still delicious.

Shrimp and Leek Pasta
From Leite's Culinaria, as adapted from "Bow Ties with Sausage and Leek Sauce" by Lidia Bastianich

2 tablespoons kosher salt
1 pound tagliatelle
2 large leeks
4 tablespoons olive oil
1 pound medium shrimp, shelled and deveined
1 teaspoon minced shallot
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 cup homemade chicken stock or canned chicken broth
⅓ cup grated pecorino Romano cheese, plus more for table
Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Bring 6 quarts water to a boil and add the 2 tablespoons salt.

Add the tagliatelle to the boiling water, stirring with a wooden spoon. If the pasta is fresh, it will be done as soon as the water returns to a boil. Otherwise, boil for 2 minutes, turn off the heat, and let the tagliatelle sit for the remaining time specified on the package.

Meanwhile, trim the root ends from the leeks and discard the tough green portions (roughly the top ⅓). Slice the remaining pale green and white portions of the leeks into ½-inch-thick rounds and rinse in several changes of cold water to remove any grit. Rinse and drain well.

In a sauté pan over medium-high heat, heat 2 tablespoons olive oil. Toss in the shrimp and quickly cook, stirring only occasionally, for 2 minutes. The shrimp will be almost but not quite cooked through. Transfer the shrimp to a plate.

In the sauté pan, heat the remaining oil over medium-high heat. Add the leeks and cook, stirring frequently, until softened, about 5 minutes. You may need to reduce the heat to medium if the leeks are turning brown.

Add the shallot and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Add the butter and stock and simmer gently for 3 minutes. Add the shrimp and simmer an additional minute. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Drain the pasta well and return it to the pot or transfer it to a serving dish. Add the shrimp and leek sauce and gently toss to coat the pasta. Sprinkle with the pecorino Romano cheese, toss well, and serve with plenty of additional pecorino passed on the side.

Makes 4 to 6 servings

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