Monday, September 26, 2011

Fusilli con Gambero (Fusilli with Shrimp)

My beautiful Angel does not eat meat and, when I made a Fusilli con Salsicca dell'Agnello for her parents, I decided to make a separate sauce with shrimp for Clare.

When buying shrimp, never focus on the size.  Descriptions like medium, large, extra-large and jumbo do not mean anything.  The most important consideration is the "count."  The "counts" may seem a little confusing, but the one thing to remember is that a count is the number of shrimp that are in a pound.  So, when you see a number like 21/25, it means that there is 21 to 25 shrimp in a pound.  

Generally, when I am using shrimp in a main dish, I look for a 16/20 count, which means that 16 to 20 shrimp in a pound.  That means that a portion is about 1/4 of pound or 4 to 5 shrimp.  By contrast, when I am using shrimp in an appetizer or a salad, I will usually look for 21 to 30 count or 31 to 35 count.  These shrimp will be smaller than the 16/20 count, but they will not be too small.  Depending upon the recipe, I will consider 36/45 count, but I will generally steer toward smaller counts like 31 to 35. 

For this recipe, I used 16/20 count shrimp that were from the Gulf of Mexico.  These shrimp were harvested off the coast of Texas and looked great when I cooked them. Different sizes of shrimp can be used, with only a minor change to the cooking time. 

A Chef Bolek Original
Serves 3-4

3/4 pound of fresh fusilli
1/2 pound of fresh shrimp, deveined and deshelled
1 large clove of garlic, diced finely
1/2 onion, diced finely
3/4 of a can of whole San Marzano tomatoes
1/2 tablespoon of dried basil
1 teaspoon of dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon of red chile flakes
2 teaspoons of finely grated Parmigiano Reggiano
Salt, to taste
Pepper, to taste
3 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil

1. Saute the garlic and onions.  Heat the olive oil on medium heat.  Add the garlic.  Cook for one minute.  Add the onions and continue to cook for about three to four minutes, until the onions are translucent.  Stir occasionally to prevent the garlic from burning.

2.  Add the tomatoes and spices.  Add the tomatoes.  Using a masher, mash the tomatoes until they are broken up well.  Add the basil, oregano and chile pepper flakes. 

3.  Add the shrimp.  When the tomatoes begin to boil, add the shrimp to the tomato sauce.  Continue to cook until the shrimp is opaque and firm, which should take about two to three minutes. Add the Parmigiano Reggiano cheese and stir well.

4.  Cook the pasta.  While you are preparing the sauce, heat a pot of water until it is boiling.  Add the fresh fusilli to the boiling water.  Cook for two minutes.  Remove the pasta from the water and add it to the tomato sauce, with a little of the water from the pasta.  Stir very well until the pasta is covered with the sauce.  Add the fresh basil.  Serve immediately.


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