8 Jun
2010

LINGUINE CON GAMBERI

What Antonio Taught me ……….

Linguine with Shrimp
 Antonio taught me almost everything I know about Roman cooking. From his kitchen came my first encounter with scampi crudi, those unbearably luscious olive oil glossed raw shrimp; he introduced me to the classic combination of sweet spring fava beans with chunks of salty white pecorino romano (eaten together on a park bench at the Villa Borghese). And then one warm golden autumn day that the Romans call ottobrata, he presented me with this pasta and shrimp dish-so delicious, so easy to duplicate here in the States that not only I, but everyone on my speed dial list, has made it over and over again to perfection.
Ingredients:
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
10-12 large shrimp (2 per person)
1 pound small shrimp
4-5 cloves garlic, finely chopped
bunch of fresh parsley, chopped (1/2 to 3/4 cup)
1 small chili pepper (peperoncino) or red pepper flakes, to taste
1-2 small baskets cherry tomatoes (cut in half) or larger golf-ball sized tomatoes (cut into quarters) – you need 2-3 cups of tomatoes
1/2 cup white wine
Sea salt
1 pound linguinePlace a large pot of water on the stove to boil. De-vein and wash shrimp well.
Chop about 1/2 pound of small shrimp into small pieces, leaving firmer shrimp whole.

In large, wide bottomed heavy skillet (not pre-heated), put olive oil and garlic. Turn on heat, but do not let garlic brown – THIS IS A SIN! When browned, garlic turns bitter, so if this happens, you need to start all over again.

Add to skillet, chopped shrimp, whole shrimp, parsley (minus about 1/4 cup for garnish), and chili pepper. Salt and stir for a few minutes, just until shrimp becomes translucent.

While heat is high, add white wine, stirring quickly with wooden spoon to incorporate anything sticking to the skillet.

Remove large shrimp at this point to covered container and keep warm. Do not over-cook shrimp for this is another SIN. Add tomatoes to skillet and cook until they are soft and almost liquidy. You can smash them down with a wooden spoon as they cook.

When the water comes to a boil, add salt and then linguine. Cook to al dente stage according to package directions. Do not overcook, especially if you’re serving a native born Italian.

Drain pasta well and add to contents in the skillet. Add the rest of the smaller sized whole shrimp and toss gently.

Add 2 or more large shrimp to each plate and sprinkle with remaining chopped parsley.

Recipe serves 4 to 6.

CAVEAT: Be careful not to use too much linguine or your dish will be bland and dry. You might want to add a small amount of the pasta water if this happens. (This is why you never get gluey angel-hair or spaghetti in a good Italian restaurant—pasta water to the rescue!)

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