Every Saturday we are lucky to have a local farmer’s market set up just a block away from our place here in Florida. Along with a number of stands overflowing with gloriously colored, just picked produce, the market has one stand that sells fresh seafood, most of it caught locally. Eight weeks today we head back to Umbria for six months, and since Umbria is one of the few landlocked regions in Italy, we usually do not get to enjoy fresh seafood as often as we do here in Florida, so we are enjoying it as much as we can. This past Saturday I asked the fish monger what she would suggest, and she showed me some beautiful fresh fish fillets. All the fish looked wonderful, but I ended up choosing a pound of the Florida Pinks, because I just cannot resist fresh shrimp, especialy local ones! The majority of shrimp harvested for food in Florida belong to the shrimp family Penaeidae. Pink shrimps are the most abundant shrimp species harvested in the state, and they can be found primarily in the area from west-central to southeast Florida. I was told the shrimp I bought came from the waters just off Fort Myers beach the day before.
Now that I had my seafood selection, the next decision was how to prepare the shrimp. My husband had requested pasta for dinner earlier so I decided to incorporate my gorgeous shrimp into a pasta dish. My shrimp were so pretty, that I didn’t want to cover up their flavor with a heavy sauce, so instead I simply tossed them with some chopped fresh tomatoes I cooked down, and then topped the completed pasta with coarse, garlicky breadcrumbs for added texture. I had a bowl of ripe plum tomatoes on hand so I cored them and cut them into quarters, but you could also use cherry tomatoes cut in half, or even canned chopped tomatoes if rispe fresh ones are not available.
Deborah Mele 2013
Spaghetti With Shrimp, Tomatoes & Breadcrumbs
For The Shrimp:
- 1 Pound Peeled & Deveined Shrimp
- 3 Tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- 2 Tablespoons Chopped Fresh Parsley
- 1/2 Teaspoon Red Pepper Flakes
- 1/2 Teaspoon Fine Sea Salt
For The “Sauce”:
- 1/4 Cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- 2 Cloves Garlic, Peeled & Minced
- 4 Cups Chopped Fresh Plum Tomatoes
- 3 Tablespoons Chopped Basil
- Sea Salt & Black Pepper To Taste
- 1 Pound Spaghetti
- 2 Tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- 1 Garlic Clove, Peeled & Finely Minced
- 1/2 Teaspoon Dried Oregano
- 1 Tablespoon Finely Chopped Fresh Parsley
- 1/3 Cup Coarse Fresh Breadcrumbs
- Fine Sea Salt & Black Pepper to Taste
- Place the shrimp, oil, parsley, pepper flakes and salt in a small bowl, toss to mix, and let marinate in the refrigerator for 1 hour.
- For the sauce, in a frying pan, heat the oil, and when hot add the garlic.
- Cook a minute or two until fragrant, then add the chopped tomatoes, basil and stir to mix.
- Cook over medium heat for about 5 minutes or just until the tomatoes soften and begin to break down.
- Season with salt and pepper and set aside.
- Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil, and while waiting on the water prepare the shrimp.
- In a separate frying pan, cook the shrimp in the marinade over medium heat until cooked through, about 5 minutes.
- Mix together the shrimp and tomatoes in one pan.
- Wipe out the frying pan used to cook the shrimp, and heat the oil over medium heat for the breadcrumb topping.
- Add the breadcrumbs, garlic, oregano, parsley, and salt and pepper, and mix well.
- Cook the breadcrumbs, stirring frequently until they are light brown and crisp, about 3 minutes.
- Pour the crumbs into a bowl and set aside until needed.
- Cook the pasta according to manufacture’s directions until it is “al dente”.
- Drain the pasta, return to the pasta pot,and toss with the shrimp and tomato mixture.
- Cook over medium high heat stirring continuously until piping hot, about 2 to 3 minutes.
- Serve the pasta in individual bowls, topped with some of the crumb mixture.