I’ve been having some astounding luck lately making up recipes. This is a good thing as we keep running into nights where I just don’t have time to spend 30-40 minutes in the kitchen following a recipe that calls for ingredients I may or may not have forgotten to thaw. So, that’s meant a lot of time spent looking through the fridge and pantry and figuring out what I might be able to throw together.
This dinner was a Sunday night quickie. I’d already made chicken noodle soup for lunch and hadn’t planned on cooking a second time that day. As it turned out, we both ended up hungy enough to need dinner after we put the kids to bed. Since neither one of us felt like eating more soup, the next logical choice was pasta.
At the same time, I was getting a little tired of alfredo sauce, which is my standard quickie pasta option. Mr W was also craving shrimp, so I asked him to pull some out and set it to thaw in a bowl of water while I scoured the supplies.
Per usual, we had eleventy billion types of cheese in the fridge. I also had a package of fresh pasta from Trader Joe’s (LOVE their fresh pasta!) sitting in the fridge. A little more looking tuned up some fresh parsley leftover from a recipe the day before. I always have fresh lemons and garlic on hand, but today I also had about a glass of white wine left over from having company over a few days before.
“You up for a little experimenting?” I asked him.
“Absolutely!” he replied. (Thankfully, he has yet to be on the disaster end of my food experiments…I keep warning him it will happen again, but I don’t think he believes me. The worst we’ve ended up with since we starting dating was a few meals that were totally edible, but not really worth making again.)
The great thing about pasta is that as long as your sauce is wet enough, it’s pretty hard to screw things up. Some tomatoes, some butter, some olive oil? Any of these things can be the base of a great sauce. You just add things in combinations that taste good together.
And shrimp? Shrimp is like the lazy man’s gourmet guarentee. So long as you don’t overcook it, you can literally throw shimp in a skillet with nothing more than butter and make something delicious.
Put it all together and you can’t go wrong.
So I melted some butter and olive oil (you’ll notice I almost always combine these two when I’m making things up…that’s because olive oil has a better cooking temperature than butter but butter adds more flavor) and threw in some garlic to create my base. From there, it was a matter of throwing in the juice of a lemon and some white wine and then letting it all reduce a bit. (Note: butter, oil, fruit juice and wine pretty much always turn out well…you just have to play with the amounts to make sure you don’t have any one flavor overpowering the others.)
As this as reducing, I shuffled though the cheese drawer. I didn’t want to use fresh mozzerella, goat cheese or feta, as none of them melt smoothly. They’re great for tossing into a finished product, but not for sauce making. We always keep a giant bag of high quality powdered Romano in the freezer though, and I usually have fresh grated Asiago/Parmesean blends from either Trader Joe or Aldi for salads and pasta. So out came those two. I started off with the romano since it dissolves more easily into sauce. Once the sauce was looking good, I added the grated cheese to give it a bit of that cheesy, stretchy look.
Then it was a matter of stirring it into the pasta and quick frying the shrimp. I topped it all off with a bit of sea salt and fresh parsley.
It would have been magnificent, but I overcooked the shrimp a bit. 🙁 Remember, if it’s cooked and frozen shrimp, it barely takes ANY time in the skillet. Always err on the side of undercooking the shrimp.
Overall, this was a bit hit. It would also work great without the shrimp as a side dish, or with some grilled chicken sliced up and tossed on top. Throw a nice side salad in with this and you’ve got a great weeknight meal that only takes about 20 minutes to prepare.
Three Cheese Lemon Garlic Pasta with Shrimp Recipe
- 2 T butter
- 2 T Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1/4 cup of white wine (I used a chardonney/chenin blanc mix)
- Juice of one lemon (3T)
- 12-16oz shrimp, peeled, deveined, tails removed
- 1/4c powdered Romano cheese
- 1/4 c grated Parmesean/Asiago cheese
- Handful of Fresh Parsley, minced
- 12 oz fresh pasta (I used Trader Joe’s brand
Thaw shrimp and pat dry with a paper towel. Set pasta to cook according to directions on package. Melt the butter with the olive oil in a large skillet over medium high heat while mincing garlic and juicing lemon. Once butter melts, add garlic and saute for a minute or two until fragrant. Add wine and lemon juice to remaining butter/oil. Allow to simmer 3-5 minutes until wine reduces a bit. Stir in cheeses and allow the to melt. If sauce is too thick, add another splash of wine or another T of butter (depending on which is more important to your love of food.)
Drain pasta and toss with cheese sauce. Wipe skillet clean with a paper towel, add another T of extra virgin olive oil and saute shrimp for 2-3 minutes. (3-5 minutes if shrimp was raw.) Once shrimp is cooked, place it over pasta and garnish with fresh parsley and salt/pepper to taste.