Friday, May 1, 2009

Who You Callin' Shrimp?

While I'm no longer a WOHM (work out (of) home mom), it's still a challenge to get a nutritious and delicious dinner on the table on a weeknight. As a SAHM (stay at home mom), with my lunch dates, spa visits, manicure appointments, bon bon eating and the other assorted trappings associated with my life of leisure, cooking sometimes falls by the wayside*.

Although pasta gets a bad wrap (Carbs! Carbs! OHMYGOD THE CARBS!) it still falls in the nutritious category in our home. If you add a lot of other 'stuff' to the pasta, the pasta itself is almost secondary to the dish. It is also quick, easy and (ding, ding, ding!) recession friendly.

This recipe became a weeknight staple early on in our marriage. It started out as a vegetarian meal (Did I mention I used to be a vegetarian? Yeah - more on that another time) but evolved into this dish a few years ago. It's extremely simple to make, requires only one pot and is very versatile. Don't like shrimp? Leave it out. Don't have tomatoes? Use another vegetable. And so on and so forth. Throw together a simple green salad and you've got a meal in about 25 minutes. Take *that* Rachael Ray!

*Written with tongue planted firmly in cheek

"Mediterranean Pasta" aka Pasta with Shrimp, Tomatoes, Olives and Feta
Yields 4 entree sized portions

8 oz (1/2 box) of pasta (any shape will do - we like whole wheat rigatoni)
1 tsp olive oil
1 clove of garlic, sliced or chopped
3/4-1 lb shrimp, deveined and with the shell off (leave the tail on - it helps prevent the shrimp from shrinking)
1 pint grape tomatoes sliced in half
1/4 -1/2 cup pitted kalamata olives, sliced or chopped (use more or less if you want - we like it super briny)
1/3-1/2 lb feta cheese, crumbled (I use French feta as it tends to be less salty)
salt and pepper to taste

  • In a pot large enough to accommodate the finished dish, cook the pasta in salted boiling water until it is al dente (or to your desired degree of doneness).
  • While pasta is cooking chop garlic, de-vein shrimp (if you don't buy them de-veined like I do), slice olives, crumble feta.
  • When pasta is done, drain, reserve about 1/4 c of the water, rinse in cool water and set aside.
  • Heat the oil in the pasta pot over medium heat and toss in the garlic. Cook for about one minute - don't let it burn.
  • Toss in the shrimp, raise the heat, and allow the shrimp to cook until just about cooked through (mostly pink on both sides - about 3 minutes over high heat).
  • Add in the tomatoes and cook for about a minute (until they start to burst).
  • Remove from heat and add in the olives and the feta. Stir to combine well. Add in some of the reserved pasta water if the mixture gets too thick.
  • Season with salt and pepper.

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