Friday, January 28, 2011

Trattoria-Style Shrimp Fettuccine

Recipe modified by Gretchen Wilson – April 2010
For a commentary-free and printer-friendly version of it, please click here.

Recipe originally published in Good Housekeeping, February 2009.

Every time I turn around, I’m being told to eat dark, leafy greens – specifically spinach.  My problem is that I really don’t like spinach salads and I don’t care for frozen (and usually soggy) spinach.  When I stumbled upon this recipe in Good Housekeeping, I decided to go for it – and I’m so glad I did!  The baby spinach is perfect in this dish and while it is substantial enough to eat for dinner, it is equally perfect for a light lunch.

Picture published with recipe:

© Good Housekeeping

My finished product:

I always get really excited when my dish looks almost exactly like a published picture.  If I don’t say so myself, I think it looks even better.  My spinach looks much more crisp and tasty and there’s a reason for that.

for more details about what my ratings mean, go to Gretchen's Rating System
Mess:  EH - I've dealt with worse

Start-to-Finish Time: Under an hour (and pretty close to the time given by Good Housekeeping)

Prep Work: SLIGHT BLOOD LOSS - and make your life easier by buying fresh deveined shrimp

Ease of Recipe: THE BASICS - Easy to make with no difficult techniques, but a couple ingredients may be hard to find.

Overall:  YUMMY – I would absolutely make this again

Recipe Information:
Total Time: 30 min
Serves: 6

Nutritional Information (per serving)
  • Calories 350
  • Total Fat 7g
  • Saturated Fat 1g
  • Cholesterol 115mg
  • Sodium 515mg
  • Total Carbohydrate 46g
  • Dietary Fiber 4g
  • Protein 24g
It is a decent serving of food, but you definitely want to have crusty bread to go with it.  You can also use more spinach if you want.

Changes denoted by red text

12 ounces whole wheat spaghetti
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
½ cup dry white wine
1 bottle (8-ounce) clam juice
½ teaspoon salt, plus more for pasta water
1 pound shelled and deveined large shrimp, with tail part of shell left on if you like
1 bag (5- to 6-ounce) baby spinach
1/3 cup (loosely packed) fresh parsley leaves, chopped

Ingredient Notes:
Whole Wheat Spaghetti
  • Yes, this dish is called Trattoria-Style Shrimp FETTUCCINE (pronounced fay-tuh-CHEE-nee), but I really wanted to use wheat pasta to lower the calorie count and it was hard to find wheat fettuccine.  Good Housekeeping gave spaghetti as the alternative, and that was easy to find in whole wheat.  Another alternative is linguine.
  • Many an Italian has told me that wheat pasta is blasphemy.  Personally?  I can’t tell the difference.  However, the original recipe does call for traditional pasta, so feel free to use it in the event (a) you can’t find wheat pasta or (b) you can’t bring yourself to eat the wheat.

Olive Oil – should you use your really expensive extra-virgin olive oil or not.  Since it is not the focus of the dish and is used as a cooking medium, don’t waste your good olive oil stash.  The cheap(er) stuff works just fine.

Garlic – save yourself some time and buy the pre-minced garlic.  Since it isn’t the focus of the dish, the pre-minced you find in the vegetable section of your grocery store works fine.

Dry White Wine – If you don’t have a bottle of dry white wine already open, you can use cooking white wine (as I did) which is found with the vinegar in your grocery store.

Clam Juice – you can find this in the same general area as the tuna fish section/aisle or in the Asian section of your grocery store.

  • Even though it says “large shrimp”, don’t get the jumbo size.  It won’t go as far for the six servings.  Look for something around the 31/35 count (which means you’re getting 31-35 shrimp per pound).
  • You can usually buy already deveined and shelled shrimp at the seafood counter.  Make sure you use it within a couple days of buying it and try to avoid freezing it.  The shell protects the meat of the shrimp & helps it keep its flavor.
  • Keeping the shell on can enhance the flavor, especially when the sauce of the dish depends on the shrimp itself.  This dish has a lot of different flavors enhancing it, so if you want to remove the tails, go ahead.

Baby Spinach
  • Baby spinach has higher water content than spinach, but since this dish doesn’t depend on cooking the spinach, you can use either.  If you want to keep part of the spinach raw, as I changed this dish, you may want to use baby spinach since it is better as a salad.
  • Even though most bags of salad are “pre-washed” you may want to give it a rinse anyway and then pat it dry with paper towels.  Do it before you start cooking so it will be dry by the time you are ready to use it.

Equipment Needed:
Pasta pot or Large covered saucepot
Wooden spoon
Large and deep skillet
Large spoon
Cutting board
Sharp knife

Equipment Notes:
Large and Deep Skillet – since I don't have a deep and large skillet, I usually use my Dutch oven.  It works great and gives me a lot of room to stir sauces and toss pasta.

1)      Heat large covered saucepot of salted water to boiling on high.  Add pasta and cook as label directs to al dente.

2)      Meanwhile, in large skillet, heat oil on medium until hot.

3)      Add onion and cook 8-9 minutes or until tender, stirring often.  The original recipe has the onion and garlic being cooked together, but I found the garlic scorched very quickly.

4)      Add garlic and cook a couple minutes more or until both onion and garlic is golden and tender.  Keep stirring to keep the garlic from burning.

5)      Add wine; increase heat to medium-high and cook 1 minute.

6)      Stir in clam juice and salt; heat to boiling.

7)      Stir in shrimp, and cook 2 to 3 minutes or until shrimp turn opaque throughout. Remove from heat.

8)      Drain pasta and add to skillet half of the spinach and parsley; toss to coat.  The original recipe has all of the spinach being added at once, but I enjoyed the crisp fresh taste of the spinach with the pasta.

9)      Divide the other half of the spinach between 6 plates and place the pasta and shrimp mixture on top.

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