I find it easier to eat a balanced, healthy diet when I create a menu for the week. Another bonus is the shopping list I create which staves off impulse buying. Since I'd decided to put off shopping for another day, I found myself with an opportunity to create something from what was in the larder.
I grabbed a pound of shrimp from the freezer, some feta cheese from the refrigerator, a can of artichoke hearts and one of San Marzano tomatoes from my cache in the basement. There was also my lovely fresh oregano, the plant growing ever larger from disuse. I decided that despite the fact that I was lacking some good Kalamata olives, I had all the makings of a lovely Mediterranean shrimp dish. Oh, inspiration! That package of mushroom ravioli that I had bought on impulse would finally be put to use. I didn't say I was totally immune to impulse purchases.
The onions were carmelizing as Larry arrived home. He immediately wanted to know what we were having for dinner even though it was just 3:30. To this intoxicating aroma there was soon a hint of garlic. By the time I'd added the tomatoes, I was wishing it were a bit later, too.
The shrimp, served over mushroom ravioli, would have been equally delicious over a penne or rigatoni. This is definitely a keeper.
1 tbs extra virgin olive oil
1 medium Vidalia onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup red wine, like a good Chianti
1 - 28 oz can whole San Marzano tomatoes, crushed by hand
2 tbs tomato paste
1 tsp Kosher salt
freshly ground pepper
1 tbs extra virgin olive oil
1 lb large shrimp, peeled, deveined, tails removed
4 oz feta cheese
3 tbs fresh oregano
1 can artichoke hearts, drained and quartered
1 lb pasta of your choice
Heat 1 tbs oil in a Dutch oven over medium high heat. Add the onion and cook slowly to carmelize (15-20 minutes). Add the garlic and cook for 1 more minute. Add the wine and turn the heat to high. Scrape up any brown bits and cook down for about 3 minutes, stirring constantly. Reduce heat to low and add the crushed tomatoes, tomato paste, salt and pepper. Simmer, stirring occasionally, for about 45 minutes.
Bring a large pot of water to a boil. As you prepare the pasta to the al dente stage, heat a large saute pan over medium high heat and add 1 tbs olive oil. Add the shrimp in 1 layer. Cook for 1 minute, then turn and cook on the other side for an additional minutes. Add the artichoke hearts and toss over the heat. Remove from the heat and add the fresh oregano leaves, then crumble the feta cheese over the shrimp. Tent with foil until the pasta is cooked and drained. Add the shrimp and cheese mixture to the drained pasta and toss well.
To serve, ladle a bit of sauce in each dish, top with the pasta and shrimp, then add more sauce to taste.
Both of us loved the varied tastes and textures that made up this dish. The sauce is sweet from the addition of the carmelized onions and the tomato paste. This contrasts nicely with the saltiness of the feta cheese and the acidity of the artichoke hearts. I know that the Kalamata olives would have been the crowning touch. Next time.