spaghettini with garlic, shrimp, and bacon

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Spaghettini with Garlic, Shrimp, and Bacon (adapted from America’s Test Kitchen recipe for Garlicky Shrimp Pasta)

Prep time: 30 minutes
Cooking time: 24 minutes

1/2 pound spaghettini
1/4 cup cooking water from the pasta
5 large garlic cloves, minced
4 large garlic cloves, smashed
1 pound large shrimp (21-25) peeled, deveined, tails on if desired
3 tablespoons olive oil
Salt
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
2 teaspoons all-purpose flour
1/2 cup dry white wine
3/4 cup broth
1 teaspoon lemon juice (I used lime juice)
1/2 cup chopped cilantro and scallion
Freshly ground black pepper
1 cup bacon, chopped and fried until crispy

In a large bowl, mix shrimp with 2 teaspoons minced garlic, 1 tablespoon oil, and 1/4 teaspoon salt. Let shrimp marinate at room temperature for 20 minutes.

Over medium-low heat, heat smashed garlic in remaining 2 tablespoons oil in a large 12 inch skillet or wok. Stir occasionally until garlic is light golden brown in about 4-7 minutes. Remove skillet from heat and use a slotted spoon to remove the garlic cloves from the oil. Discard the cloves. Set skillet aside.

Meanwhile, bring a large pot of water to boil over high heat. Add a tablespoon salt to the water with the spaghettini. Cook until al dente, about 7-10 minutes. Reserve 1/4 cup of the cooking water and drain the spaghettini. Return drained pasta to the large pot and set aside.

While the pasta is cooking, return skillet with oil to medium heat. Add the shrimp with marinade to the skillet in a single layer. Cook the shrimp 1-2 minutes on one side until it turns opaque. Stir shrimp and continue to cook about 1 minute until they are almost cooked through. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the shrimp to a large bowl.

Add the remaining garlic and pepper flakes to the skillet and cook over medium heat until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add flour and stir constantly until flour is incorporated and the roux thickens. Stir in the wine and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Add the broth. Cook until mixture thickens in about 1-2 minutes.

Turn off the heat. Add the shrimp and sauce to the pasta in the pot. Add the reserved cooking water if the sauce is too thick. Add the lemon juice and the cilantro-scallion mix. Toss. Season with black pepper and top with bacon bits.

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