Bring a dish of Summer Sunshine to your Winter table in under 30 minutes flat.
I nominate this dish for being a great big bowl of happy colors, great flavors, and almost instant gratification. It comes together in under 30 minutes. That alone qualifies it for serving in this season when we’re even more time-pressured than usual. It’s also an excellent way to imagine that the weather isn’t wintry at all. A holdover from summer when its author used freshly shucked corn and a harvest of summer herbs, it is just as easy to make now. Frozen corn is a stand-in for fresh. The herb I used was simply Italian Parsley and you can find Arugula and Shrimp year ‘round. And Shrimp is the friend of every harried cook as it literally cooks in 2-3 minutes flat.
Keep this recipe in your back pocket. That’s what its author called her entire book.
It’s the work of Colu Henry and I found it in the New York Times. Colu Henry’s interesting name is short for Maria Nicola. Named for her great grandmother, Colu comes from an Italian American family that ‘ate a lot of pasta’. She loves pasta so much that she wrote an entire cookbook called “Back Pocket Pasta” (Clarkson Potter 2017). The title refers to recipes you keep in your back pocket so you can get dinner on the table from what you have in the pantry. The backbone of the book are these simple recipes. A surprising number of them are vegetarian. There are only 2 Shrimp recipes in “Back Pocket Pasta”. I don’t suppose the shrimp were a pantry item. But they’re easy to come by. And, at the risk of boring you to death, I repeat my mantra: Always buy Wild Caught, never buy Farmed Shrimp from Asia, and if yours come from the USA or Canada, they’re first-rate shrimp. Here is the recipe and after it, a few more simple shrimp dishes to try.
Shrimp Linguine with Herbs, Corn and Arugula
A glorious plate of shrimp and linguine, corn and arugula that brings all the color of summer to your table all year round.
- Kosher salt
- 12 ounces linguine or spaghetti
- 1- pound large shrimp, peeled and deveined, tails removed, if you prefer
- Black pepper
- ½ cup unsalted butter (1 stick)
- 2 cups fresh corn kernels (from 2 to 3 ears) or 2 cups Frozen.
- 3 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
- ½ teaspoon red-pepper flakes
- 1 cup dry white wine
- 8 ounces baby arugula, spinach or other tender greens
- 2 cups loosely packed, roughly chopped tender herbs, basil and mint in summer, Italian Parsley in winter.
- Extra-virgin olive oil, for drizzling (optional)
- Step 1 Bring a large pot of well-salted water to a boil. While waiting for the water to come to a boil, season the shrimp well with salt and pepper. Melt half the butter in a deep 12-inch skillet over medium heat. Add the shrimp and saute until just cooked through, 1 to 2 minutes per side. Remove and set aside.
- Step 2 Once the water is boiling, add pasta and cook according to package instructions until it is just short of al dente. Reserve 1 cup of the pasta cooking water, then drain pasta.
- Step 3 Add the corn to the shrimp pan and season with salt. Cook, stirring frequently until browned in spots, 4 to 5 minutes. Add garlic and red pepper flakes and cook, stirring frequently, 1 minute.
- Step 4 Add the wine, bring to a simmer and cook until it is reduced by about half, 3 to 4 minutes. Add the cooked pasta to the skillet and toss to combine. Add the arugula by the handful, stirring well between each addition, until wilted, adding some of the reserved pasta water as needed. Add the remaining butter and the shrimp to the pasta and toss until the butter is melted and everything is coated with sauce. Add more pasta water as needed.
- Step 5 Add half the herbs and toss to combine. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Transfer to a large bowl or serve directly from the skillet. Top with remaining herbs, drizzle with olive oil, if desired, and serve immediately.