4.09.2011

A Trio of Pastas

Pasta dominated my time in the kitchen this week. I began the kick when I stumbled across a black squid ink linguine at the market. Having never tasted the bold-colored pasta before, I felt compelled to build some dishes around it. Inspired by the sea, I adapted a shrimp pasta recipe that I had made from CookingLight--Warm Pasta Salad with Shrimp. Swapping the squid ink linguine for the farfalle that the original calls for, I arrived at a flavorful and visually interesting creation with shrimp floating amongst a sea of black noodles:



SQUID INK LINGUINE WITH SHRIMP AND SPINACH

Ingredients:

3 cups uncooked squid ink linguine
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
1 1/2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon minced fresh garlic
1/4 cup olive oil
Cooking spray
12 ounces medium shrimp, pre-cooked
2 cups chopped fresh spinach
1 cup canned cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
1/4 cup minced red onion

Directions:
1. Cook pasta according to package directions; drain.
2. Combine juice, mustard, and garlic in a small bowl, stirring well with a whisk. Gradually add oil, stirring constantly with a whisk.
3. Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Coat pan with cooking spray. Add shrimp to pan; cook for 2 minutes or until browned and heated through. Stir in spinach, cannellini beans, red onion; toss to combine over heat. Add the pasta and juice mixture to shrimp mixture; toss. Serve warm or cold.

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With some squid ink pasta left over, I whipped up another simple meal the following night with grilled chicken and artichokes:



LINGUINE WITH CHICKEN AND ARITCHOKES:

Ingredients:

8 oz grilled lemon chicken
1 can of artichokes; drained, rinsed and quartered
White wine
Chicken broth
1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped
olive oil

Directions:
1. Cook pasta according to directions; drain. (In this case, the pasta was already cooked).
2. Slice grilled chicken into bite-size pieces.
3. Drain and rinse artichokes; cut into quarters.
4. Add oil to a pan on medium-high heat and add artichokes and chicken; saute, adding some white wine and chicken broth during the cooking process. Cook until artichokes are browned and most of the moisture is boiled down.
5. Stir in linguine and parsley.

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My second interesting pasta discovery at the market this week was a pre-made pumpkin gnocchi. I've had success with the packaged varieties of this pasta, though I had never seen one that integrated pumpkin with the potato base. I found that while the pumpkin flavor was subtle, it added a complexity that the plain version lacks. I wasn't sure what type of sauce would work best for the flavor of this gnocchi, so I took a gamble on a chunky tomato sauce that employs ample amounts of onion, garlic and paprika and it turned out to be a winner.


PUMPKIN GNOCCHI WITH PAPRIKA TOMATO SAUCE

Ingredients:

1 package pumpkin gnocchi
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 can diced tomatoes, drained
2 tomatoes, cut into large chunks
1 red onion, roughly chopped
2-3 tsp Hungarian paprika
6 cloves of garlic, minced
3 whole cloves of garlic
white wine
1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped
black pepper

Directions:
1. Heat oil in medium pan. Add onions; when cooked halfway, add the garlic and continue cooking until garlic is fragrant.
2. Add tomatoes, a splash of white wine, paprika, parsley and black pepper. Adjust to taste.
3. Simmer until desired consistency.
4. Cook gnocchi in medium pot of boiling water according to package directions (about 2-3 minutes or until gnocchi floats to surface)
5. Combine gnocchi into tomato sauce. Garnish with remaining fresh parsley.

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