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Bucatini with Shrimp, Spinach, and Tomatoes

January 16, 2008

Bucatini with shrimp

I have been looking for bucatini in the supermarket and the hippie mart and pretty much everywhere for years, but never managed to find it, until last week. Trader Joe’s started stocking bucatini, and I might actually have cried out in serendipitous joy when I saw it on the shelf. Yes, I’m that kind of crazy person at the supermarket. I had all kinds of glorious ideas for my bucatini, not least another, and hopefully better, attempt at carbonara. Then I went to Philadelphia for the librarian conference and forgot all about my bucatini. Until tonight.

Like many other people this time of year, I’ve been trying to get more vegetables and fish and other good things in my diet. I’m not sure if shrimp is even the kind of seafood that’s all good for you, but no matter. When you add spinach, everything is good for you, right? This pasta was improvised and random and really damned delicious. And bucatini? The hollow core makes it difficult to slurp up the wayward strands. Effective and graceful eating of the bucatini is going to take a little practice.

I spent some time this afternoon perusing various cookery websites for shrimp pasta ideas. I wanted something simple, but not boring, something new and different. I’m not sure how new and different this is, but it took about twenty minutes including prep and it made the kitchen smell outstanding. And since there’s lots of spinach in it, I get to call it health food.

Lovely shrimpies

Bucatini with Shrimp, Spinach, and Tomatoes

  • Enough bucatini for two servings, since that’s about how much this makes. You could probably use another pasta, if you’re afraid of the hollow core.
  • 1 T. olive oil
  • 1/2 c. grape tomatoes, sliced in half lengthwise
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • about 18 to 20 medium shrimp, peeled and de-veined
  • 1 tsp. dried oregano
  • a pinch of crushed red pepper
  • salt and pepper
  • two big handfuls of spinach

Put the water on to boil while you’re peeling and deveining shrimp and chopping up tomatoes and garlic and de-stemming the spinach. The saucy shrimpy part takes about seven minutes or so, so you’ll have just enough time to cook the pasta if you add it to the boiling water and then start cooking everything else. I love timing like that.

Heat the olive oil in a medium skillet over medium-high heat. When it’s very hot add the tomatoes and stir them up a bit. Then add the garlic and stir that up a bit. Let the tomatoes cook for about three minutes, stirring only occasionally, until they start to break down and you get a thick, tomato-ey oil in the bottom of the skillet. Then add the shrimps. Stir that all up a little, then add oregano, crushed red pepper, and salt and pepper. Saute saute saute, until the shrimps turn a lovely pink color. Then you can add your spinach and try to stir everything up without losing spinach all over the stove and the floor and whatnot. This is tricky, because spinach likes to escape before it wilts. It’s like it knows what’s coming and wants to avoid being so drastically reduced in size. Or you don’t have to anthropomorphize your spinach. That’s completely up to you.

Keep sauteing and stirring everything up until the spinach is nice and wilted. At this point, your fancy or not so fancy pasta should be done cooking, and you can drain it. I added about 2 tablespoons of the cooking water to the shrimp-spinach mixture to loosen it up a little. Toss your drained pasta into the skillet and stir to coat it all in tomato-ey deliciousness. You could also serve the pasta and put the topping stuff on top, but I like my pasta to be well coated, so I usually mix it all in the skillet over really low heat for a minute or two. That’s just me.

How much easier could this be? And I get to feel virtuous and everything, too. This is about enough food for two people, or dinner and lunch tomorrow, which is my general cooking for one modus operandi.

The healthy part is even more important after my weekend in Philadelphia. I brought my camera with the intent of documenting the Reading Terminal Market and whatever cheese steak experience I had, but I felt really awkward photographing my food in restaurants with a friend I haven’t seen in about three years. I wasn’t sure if she’d really understand. Even my closest friends laugh at me for taking pictures in restaurants. So, alas, you don’t get photographic proof of the awesome food I ate in Philadelphia: an amazing grilled cheese sandwich made with fontina, spinach, and tomatoes. A meatball sandwich on soft, crusty bread with just the right amount of sauce. And a cheese whiz-laden, oniony cheese steak in the Reading Terminal Market. I was super impressed with Philadelphia’s dining options, and only wish I’d had the money and time to explore a little more. Maybe next time, right? And maybe next time you’ll get to share it with me…vicariously…through pictures. Not, like, we should take a vacation together to Philadelphia or anything. I mean, we just met.

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4 Comments leave one →
  1. January 17, 2008 1:39 am

    hey, i like food very very very much. so want to test these nice foods
    thanks many many many many. feel …..

  2. January 17, 2008 4:31 pm

    I would have been right there with you crying out in the supermarket, I love when I find things I’ve been looking for!

  3. nonni permalink
    January 24, 2008 8:15 pm

    I cooked this earlier this week and it was outstanding! So good in fact, that I also made it again using boneless chicken breast instead of shrimp with NO pasta. That was so good that I took the leftovers, chopped them up and added them to some chicken stock and pastina and made soup. Keep the great ideas coming!

  4. ccc permalink
    March 18, 2008 7:09 pm

    I just made this dish about 15 minutes ago, DELICIOUS…I am soo happy I found this site. BRAVO.

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