Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Bacon Wrapped Shrimp in Creamy Tomato Sauce over Cappellini

The commonplace shrimp is transformed into a 5-star ingredient in this simple, yet satisfying, elegantly presented dish.

1 pound fresh extra large shrimp, peeled and deveined (about 26 to 30)
Juice of I large lemon, about 1/3 cup
¾ pound apple wood smoked bacon (about 12 to 14 slices)
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon paprika
Salt and freshly ground pepper

For the sauce:
4 tablespoons organic butter, divided (you can substitute with half olive oil, half butter!)
½ pound fresh assorted wild mushrooms, sliced, about 2 cups
1 large yellow onion, peeled and diced, about
2 pints baby heirloom tomatoes
1 cup dry white wine
½ pound baby spinach leaves chopped, about 2 cups

1 pound cappellini pasta
1 cup organic half and half
4 ounces Parmesan cheese, grated, about 1 cup
2 tablespoons chopped, fresh Italian flat leaf parsley

Sprinkle the shrimp with lemon juice. Lay the bacon onto a cutting board and cut the slices into thirds. Wrap each shrimp in bacon and place onto a platter. Season the shrimp with paprika, salt and pepper.

Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large skillet (with lid) over medium high heat. Cook the bacon-wrapped shrimp, turning once, until golden on both sides, about 4 to 5 minutes total. Depending on the size of your skillet, you may have to do this in batches. Remove the shrimp to a platter and set aside.

Heat 2 tablespoons of the butter in the same skillet over medium high heat. Add the onions to the skillet and cook until golden, about 5 to 6 minutes. Add the remaining butter to the skillet and cook the mushrooms until golden, about 5 to 6 minutes more. (TIP: Let the mushrooms sit in the pan for a couple of minutes before you stir them. They will caramelize and turn golden. If you stir them around right away, they will not color as well.) Add the tomatoes to the pan and pour in the wine. Reduce the heat to medium low, cover the pan, and cook until the tomatoes begin to burst, about 8 minutes.

Bring a pot of water to a boil. Season with salt. Cook the capellini until al dente, about 8 to 10 minutes. Drain.

Remove the lid from the pan with the sauce. Stir in the spinach leaves. Add the half and half and place the bacon-wrapped shrimp back into the sauce. Season with salt and pepper. Simmer for 5 minutes to allow the flavors to blend.

To serve, use a pasta spoon to twist a handful of cappellini into the center of a pasta bowl. Ladle the shrimp and sauce onto and around the pasta. Grate fresh Parmesan cheese over top, dazzle with an extra grind of fresh pepper and a sprinkle of fresh parsley.

Yield: About 6 servings as a main course
Preparation Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes

Sources and Substitutions
You can substitute with scallops or cod pieces in place of shrimp. Feel free to use any and all veggies in the sauce.

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