Home Alone – Shrimp Scampi w/ Tomatoes & Artichoke Hearts

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My husband returned home from his business trip a few days ago, bringing with him dazzling stories of hob-nobbing with rock stars, tacky airport souveniers, and, most importantly, my digital camera.

He also lost his keys in a strange city, forcing him to awaken me to open the door for him upon his return. At 4 o’clock in the morning. Lucky for him, he’s really really good lookin’.

While he was gone, I enjoyed two decidedly husband un-friendly meals (only two, because one was so outrageously good, I made it three times.) This, the first, was inspired by last week’s “classic recipes” episode of Top Chef – an episode that made me realize two important things. One: I have never seen Rocco DiSpirito actually cook anything, and two: I have never cooked Shrimp Scampi.

Shrimp Scampi
(adapted from Joy of Cooking)
serves 4

1 & 1/2 pounds jumbo shrimp, cleaned and deveined, tails intact
1/2 cup olive oil
2 tablespoons butter
3 tablespoons freshly minced garlic
juice of 1 lemon
large handful quartered cherry tomatoes
1/2 cup canned artichoke hearts, drained and quartered
1/4 cup chopped flat leaf parsley
salt & pepper
1 pound cooked linguni or spaghetti

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The beautiful thing about this recipe is how quick it is to prepare. You definitely want to have all your ingredients prepped and ready to go before beginning, particularly your shrimp, which you could ask your fishmonger to clean for you. Remove the whole shell except for the tail portion, as the shells cooking with your dish will really boost the flavor of the buttery sauce.

Set a large pot of water to boil. In a large, cold saute pan, add the oil, butter and 2 tablespoons of garlic. Cook on low heat for 10 minutes, until the garlic becomes fragrant and golden. Meanwhile, add the pasta to the boiling water, along with a heavy pinch of salt.

Turn the heat up slightly, add the artichoke hearts and tomato to the saute pan, salting lightly as you go, and allow the vegetables to release some juice. After a few minutes, push the vegetables and garlic to the side of the pan, and add the shrimp in an even layer into the pan. The shrimp will take only 2-3 minutes per side to cook through. When a shrimp just begins to curl, and you can see the pink from the bottom showing through, it is ready to flip over. When the shrimp has finished cooking, turn off the heat, add the pasta, parsley and lemon juice to the pan, along with the remaining tablespoon minced garlic. Toss well. If the pasta seems too dry, add a couple tablespoons of the pasta water and toss until you have reached the desired consistency. Drizzle with a bit more olive oil, and serve immediately.

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