23 (Wed) March 2011
Linguine con Spinaci in Creamy Scampi Sauce with Bell Peppers, Mushrooms, and Shrimp
-Oksu, Seongdong, Seoul, Republic of Korea-
I’m not really into pasta dishes with cream sauces and, perhaps for lack of enthusiasm, don’t make them very well. I have nothing against cream per se, but I just prefer sauces with the liveliness of tomatoes or, even better, the subtle savoriness of white wine and seafood.
But this time, I think that I’ve finally gotten it right, something of a compromise between all three. Butter, garlic, fresh parsley, and white wine in the scampi style, along with shrimp stock and whole shrimp, as the basis of the sauce. Yellow bell peppers for zest. Mushrooms, just because I like their earthy flavor in everything. And finally, a scant tablespoon of cream and a few grates of fresh parmesan cheese to round things out without making it too rich or heavy. This may have been one of the best pasta sauces that I’ve ever made. (I don’t think the spinach pasta influenced the dish’s final profile to any significant extent, but maybe.)
Initially, I’d been more focused on presentation, which didn’t quite turn out as hoped. I was going for a look consisting of 3 colors in complimentary tones: green pasta on a bed of white cream sauce with yellow accents from the peppers. But the pasta lost most of its color in the cooking, the sauce ended up more beige than white, the mushrooms got brown (as I should’ve anticipated), and the shrimp went pink (as I should’ve anticipated).
I was motivated to get a bit fancy, going so far as to buy the spinach pasta for this purpose, in anticipation of the 3rd in-sync cooking with LJY. This time, it was “Battle: Shrimp” (as she put it).
Originally, we had agreed to each make a secret dish involving shrimp and then exchange photos and comments afterwards. My ass-kicking entry was a shrimp bisque (see 2.063 Tomato-Basil Shrimp Bisque), but LJY was unable to participate that week. Or she wimped out upon seeing the bisque. In any case, she recently sent me her late entry: this shrimp scampi with spaghetti. Instead of posting it retroactively, I decided to make a scampi dish of my own.
Previously, I discussed the various meanings of “scampi” (see 2.041 Shrimp-Shiitake-Broccoli Scampi), one of which pertains to all shrimp as a menu category and another to a style of cooking shrimp involves butter, garlic, and white wine. With LJY’s admission of leaving out the white wine and the apparent lack of garlic from the photo, I’m assuming that her scampi is line with the more general definition of the term.
If asked to choose one of these 2 offerings based solely on the photos, I would’ve gone for the LJY. Like I said above, I much prefer lighter (looking) pasta dishes
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