Linguine with Shrimp Scampi

I don’t think I have discovered a way to make shrimp that my kids WON’T eat.  Not that I’m really trying.  But sometimes I think, “There is no way they are going to go for this.”  And they do.  We even went to our favorite Chinese place earlier in the week at the request of D, for the honey walnut prawns.  I was telling the owner that I tried making them at home, and while they were very good, they weren’t OIC Bowl good.  After she walked away, Berto leaned across the table and whispered to me, “Yours were REALLY good Mommy.”  Heart melting.  Right there.  Right then.  Well, these got the same reaction from the kids, and the Hubs, too!

Ingredients:

Vegetable Oil
Kosher salt
1 1/2 lbs linguine
6 Tbs unsalted butter
5 Tbs olive oil
3 Tbs minced garlic (time saver tip:  Buy jarred minced garlic, such as Spice World)
2 lbs large, peeled and deveined shrimp (I always buy them that way)
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
3/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
Grated zest of 1 lemon
1/2 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (about 4 small lemons)
1/2 lemon thinly sliced in half-rounds (left mine whole rounds, but half is better)
1/4 tsp hot red pepper flakes (optional, I omitted)

Preparation:

Drizzle some vegetable oil in a large pot of boiling salted water, do not skip this step.  It helps keep your linguine from clumping together.  Add 1 tbs salt and the linguine.  Cook for 7-10 minutes, or according to package directions.

While water is boiling and pasta is cooking, in another large, heave-bottomed pan, melt the butter and olive oil over medium heat.  Add garlic and sauté for 1 minute.  Keep a close eye, the garlic will burn very quickly.  Add the shrimp, 1 tbs salt, and the pepper.  Sauté until the shrimp have just turned pink, about 5 minutes, stirring often.  Remove from heat, add parsley, lemon zest, lemon juice, lemon slice, and red pepper flakes (if using).  Toss to combine.

Drain the linguine and add it back to the pot in batches.  In-between batches, add some of the shrimp and sauce.  Toss well, and devour!

Wine Pairing Suggestions:

Albariño
Chardonnay
Friulano
Picpoul Blanc
Vinho Verde

Serves 6

Total time: 40 minutes

Linguine with Shrimp Scampi

Linguine with Shrimp Scampi

*Courtesy Ina Garten

Hearty Beef & Stout Stew

Just because Old Man Winter has turned his nose up at Sunny California and left us with spring-like weather, doesn’t mean that we don’t still crave winter food.  You know what I’m talking about; thick stews and rich meals to warm the body (even if the body isn’t particularly cold).  It must be an internal time clock, kind of like bears hibernating or salmon knowing where to spawn.  If only I had a little more time, I would have added a thick slab of my buttery cornbread.  Something to look forward to, for sure. 😀

Ingredients:

12 oz boneless beef check, trimmed and thinly sliced (tip – for easier slicing, pop the meat in the freezer for 10-15 minutes before slicing)
¼ tsp salt
¼ tsp black pepper
5 tsp olive oil, divided
2 cups finely chopped onion (time saver – buy already chopped onions, found in the produce or freezer section)
1½ cups diagonally cut carrot (time saver – buy pre-sliced carrot chips in the produce section)
2 cups pre-sliced cremini mushrooms
3 thyme sprigs
1 Tbs tomato paste (tip – freeze remaining paste in a sandwich bag for later use. Freeze flat and just break off the amount you need)
2 tsp minced garlic (time saver – jarred minced garlic such as Spice World)
3/4 cup stout beer (such as Guinness)
1½ cups unsalted beef stock
1 Tbs all-purpose flour
1½ tsp lower-sodium soy sauce

Preparation:

Sprinkle beef with salt and pepper.  Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat.  Add 1 Tbs olive oil to pan, swirl to coat.  Add beef to pan, cook for 3 minutes, browning on all sides.  Remove beef from pan.  Add remaining 2 tsp oil to pan, swirl to coat.  Add chopped onion, carrot, mushrooms, and thyme sprigs; sauté for 4 minutes.  Add tomato paste and minced garlic; sauté 1 minute.  Add beer; cook 1 minute, scraping pan to loosen browned bits.  Combine beef stock and flour in small bowl, stirring with a whisk.  Add to pan.  Cover, reduce heat and simmer 15 minutes.  Stir in beef, and cook 1 minute or until thoroughly heated.  Stir in soy sauce.  Discard Thyme.  Serve over rice or mashed potatoes.

Wine Pairing Suggestions:

Cabernet Sauvignon
Hermitage
Petite Sirah
Syrah / Shiraz
Zinfandel

Serves 4

Total time: 40 minutes

Hearty Beef & Stout Stew

Hearty Beef & Stout Stew

*From Cooking Light

Asparagus-Mushroom Risotto with Parmesan

I love risotto.  I love everything about risotto.  The comfort food feel you get from it.  The rich taste.  The creamy texture.  My risotto recipes have been “go to”s for me for years.  And I completely forgot I had this one.  The kicker, the rice you use has to be pre-cooked.  Um, what?  Who has time for that?  That’s when the little light bulb went “Pop” over my head.  I don’t own a rice cooker for nothing!  Wow, what a huge difference that made.  And I could have the rice cooker going while I was prepping and cooking the asparagus and mushrooms.  Brilliant!

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Ingredients:

2 tsp olive oil
2 shallots chopped
2 minced garlic cloves
6 cups sliced mushrooms (any combination cremini, oyster, etc.)
1 tsp dried thyme
4 cups cooked Arborio rice (I doubled this because it was our main dish for dinner, if you’d like it as a side, reduce to 2 cups)
1 cup reduced-sodium beef broth (use vegetable broth for vegetarian version)
1/2 cup grated Parmesan
2 Tbs chopped fresh parsley leaves
Salt and pepper to taste

Preparation:

To cook the Arborio in the rice cooker, I added 2 cups of rice and 5 cups of chicken broth (had I read ahead, i would have used beef broth, but I don’t think it had a huge impact on the taste).  The very basic cooker I have has an on / off and warming button (I’m hoping to get an upgrade, *hint hint to my Hubs).  So I just hit the on button and let it do its work while I prepped the rest of the meal.

Heat olive oil in large stock pot over medium heat.  Add shallots and garlic.  Cook 1 minute until garlic is fragrant.  Add mushrooms and saute about 5 minutes, until tender and releasing juice.  Add thyme and cook 1 minute.  Add rice, broth, and asparagus and bring to a simmer.  Simmer 5 minutes.  Stir in parmesan and chopped parsley.  Season with salt and pepper.  Serve hot.

Serves 6

Prep time: 15 minutes; Cook time: 15 minutes

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*Derived from Robin Miller / Food Network