Friday, September 7, 2007

Last Night's Dinner #24: Tagliatelle with Shrimp & Peas in a Saffron Cream Sauce

I got a massive headache around 4 in the afternoon and I couldn't go to my favorite Pilates class. I love the class because of the instructor, he is so cheery, so un-New York City. I love his attitude and I even love the random cheesy songs that seep into his playlist. He always throws in a song in the mix that cracks me up. Music in a Pilates class is already unconventional but Paula Abdul's Cold Hearted Snake? C'mon... you gotta love it =)

Anway, here's last night's dinner...

Tagliatelle with Shrimp & Peas in a Saffron Cream Sauce

You'll need
1/2 package of Tagliatelle pasta
2 tsp olive oil
1 tbs unsalted butter (if using salted, adjust seasoning accordingly)
1 shallot, minced (can substitute onion if you don't have a shallot)
1 cup of frozen peas, thawed
10 pieces of uncooked, peeled, de-veined, shrimp (thawed if using frozen)
a pinch of saffron threads - soak* in 4 tbs of cold water for 2 hours
1/2 cup of white wine**
3/4 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
salt & pepper to taste

*Some people find the flavor of saffron too overwhelming and I find that when I soak the threads, I get a milder flavor but it still stands up well against the cream, cheese and the shrimps. If you don't have saffron threads, you can use saffron powder. If you don't have the powder, the dish will still be good without it. I would just add a clove of garlic finely minced. Add it when you add the shrimps.

** If you don't have white wine, you can also use chicken stock - it will still be good =) This dish is pretty flexible and really hard to mess up.

Boil water for pasta. As soon as it boils, you can start cooking the pasta and sauce at the same time. You want the pasta to be ready at the same time as the sauce.

step 1. Heat up oil (medium heat) and butter. Add shallots/onion and season. Cook for 3 minutes.
step 2. Add peas and shrimps, season again. The idea, is to add salt every time you add a different ingredient. This is how I usually season all my dishes.
step 3. Cook the shrimps for about 2 minutes, add strained saffron threads and then add the wine.
step 4. Allow to reduce for 2 minutes, then add the cream (lower heat). Be careful about overcooking the shrimp
step 5. Lower the heat to the lowest setting and slowly add the cheese while stirring.
step 6. The pasta should be ready by now. Take tongs and simply transfer the pasta into the sauce pan. I don't bother straining it, I find that the dripping water that comes along with the pasta as you use the tongs helps with the whole coating process. I also don't like to run cold water on cooked pasta, because it washes off the starch that helps bind the pasta and the sauce.
step 7. Top off with a little more parmesan cheese and a splash of olive oil before serving.

Frozen peas, frozen shrimps, a block of parmesan cheese and a weekly supply of heavy cream are must haves for me; especially on days when I have a headache and I don't want to fuss around too much in the kitchen.

This is one of those dishes that looks like you put in loads of effort; but it's really fast, simple AND really good!


mj said...

yeah, we're in smith county no booze here!! dry county!!'' guess i've to use chicken stock as substitute! 'Bet it won't taste as good as yours!!-This recipe looks yummy!!--Maybe when i go to Dallas i'll get some!---MJ

Marichelle said...

The fun part is making the recipe your own - I'm sure yours will be just as good. You don't need the wine or the saffron. Just add fresh garlic, dried parsley (or fresh) and season with salt well.

Hillsy said...

Dry county? Phew, that makes me shake like a jitterbugging epileptic rattlesnake just thinking about it ;)