Monday, June 15, 2015

Penne Rigate and Shrimp en Tomato Cheddar Crème with Toasted Almonds

     A Comfortable Pasta Flavor Combination!
     Shrimp and Cheddar Crème Sauce taste nice together, but when combined with pasta this entrée cab be heavy on the tummy.  Adding tomato to a Cheddar Crème makes the sauce a little bit lighter and it brightens the flavor.
     Dry toasted almonds are okay for some applications.  Many chefs dry toast almonds way ahead of time, then the almonds draw moisture from the air and become stale tasting.  Almonds that are sautéed in butter are usually prepared shortly before they are served and they do have a richer toasted almond flavor.  For entrées like Truite Amandine, sautéed toasted almonds are best.
     Almonds sautéed in butter top off today's pasta recipe.  They add a nice crunchy texture and a rich aromatic almond flavor.

     Toasted Almonds (Sauté Method):
     This recipe yields enough almonds for 2 pasta entrées.
     Step 1:  Heat a sauté pan over medium/medium low heat.
     Add 1 tablespoon of unsalted butter.
     Allow the moisture to cook out of the butter.
     Step 2:  Add 1/4 cup of sliced almonds.
     Toss and gently stir the almonds often, so they toast evenly.
     *Once the almonds start to gain some color, it only takes a few moments for the almonds to rapidly brown.  The goal is to sauté the almonds till they become a light golden brown color and so they become aromatic.
     Step 3:  As soon as the almonds are toasted golden brown, place the almonds on a plate.
     Spread the almonds out on the plate, so the cool quickly.  (If the hot almonds are piled in a bowl, the carryover heat will continue to cook the almonds!)

     Penne Rigatie and Shrimp en Tomato Cheddar Crème with Toasted Almonds:
     This recipe yields 1 entrée.
     Step 1:  Peel and devein 12 medium size shrimp.  Remove the tails.
     Step 2:  Start cooking one portion of penne rigate pasta in boiling water over high heat, till the pasta is al dente.  The sauce can be made while the pasta cooks!
     Step 3:  Season the shrimp with sea salt and white pepper.
     Dredge the shrimp in flour.
     Step 4:  Heat a sauté pan over medium heat.
     Add 1 1/2 tablespoons of unsalted butter.
     Add the flour dusted shrimp.
     Add 1 minced garlic clove.
     Add 1/2 tablespoon of minced sweet onion or shallot.
     Sauté till the shrimp are about halfway cooked.
     Step 5:  Add 1/4 cup of dry white wine.
     Add 1/3 cup of shrimp stock.
     Add 1/2 cup of imported canned Italian whole peeled plum tomatoes that are crushed by hand.  (Add a proportion of the juices too.)
     Add 3/4 cup of milk.
     Add 1/2 cup of cream.
     Step 6:  Stir the sauce as it comes to a gentle boil and thickens from the flour on the sautéed shrimp.
     Step 7:  Reduce the temperature to low heat.
     Add 1 small pinch of sea salt and white pepper.
     Add 1 small pinch of thyme.
     Add 1 small pinch of oregano.
     Add 1 small pinch of marjoram.
     Add 1 small pinch of basil.
     Add 1 small pinch of cayenne pepper.
     Simmer and reduce the sauce, till it becomes a thin sauce consistency.
     Step 8:  Reduce the temperature to very low heat.
     Add 1/3 cup of grated sharp cheddar cheese, while stirring.
     Stir till the cheese melts into the sauce.
     Keep the sauce warm, till the pasta is ready.  (Add a splash of milk if the sauce is too thick.)
     Step 9:  When the pasta becomes al dente, drain the water off of the pasta.
     Add the pasta to the sauce.
     Toss the ingredients together.
     Step 10:  Remove the pan from the heat.
     Place the Penne Rigate and Shrimp en Tomato Cheddar Crème in a shallow pasta bowl.
     Sprinkle the sautéed toasted almonds over the pasta.
     Sprinkle a few pinches of minced curly leaf parsley over the pasta.
     Garnish with a curly leaf pasta sprig.

     Viola!  A tasty light cheddar cheese pasta with shrimp and aromatic almonds!

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