Last night I wanted to cook seafood. I was in the mood for it. And it started off simple enough: shrimp, in a cream sauce, with peas, maybe some ham or bacon, and tossed with fettuccine. As I thought about it, though, I decided I wanted something with a bit more kick. Something spicy would go great with something creamy, because the cream would cool off the spice.
And so I ended up with this idea. The shrimp are cooked scampi-style, and the fettuccine is your classic alfredo style, but tweaked a bit to cut out some fat and calories. It’s important that the pasta not be drenched in the sauce — you just want it lightly coated with the creamy sauce to give you that hint of cool, tangy balance against the hot shrimp. I ended up taking it too far the other way, and the pasta was a bit dry. So I will probably make more sauce next time.
But apart from that, I’m happy that the result was very close to what I had imagined.
This recipe serves 1.
Cook time, about 30 minutes.
4 raw shrimp, about 10-15 ct size, rinsed and shelled but with tails still on.
2 tbsp butter
1 tbsp olive oil
1 jalapeno, minced as finely as you can get it. If you want it spicy, keep the seeds and membranes.
1/4 red onion, minced as finely as you can get it
4 cloves garlic, minced as finely as you can get it
8oz fresh fettuccine
1 cup 2% milk
2 tbsp low fat cream cheese
1/4 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
salt & freshly ground black pepper
1. We want to do everything except cook the shrimp, so this is all basically prep leading up to that. So, first, put a large pot filled with water over high heat. Cover and bring up to a boil.
2. While you’re waiting for that, melt the butter in a 10 inch skillet over medium heat. Once the froth dies down a bit, add the olive oil, jalepeno and red onion. Stir occasionally, letting it saute gently.
3. While that’s cooking, place a small saucepan over low heat and add the milk and cream cheese. As it warms, stir so that the cream cheese dissolves. It will become rich and creamy as it does so. Once the sauce is smooth, stir in the parmesan cheese and freshly ground black pepper to taste.
4. By this point, your water is probably boiling. (If not, wait until it does so.) Drop the fresh pasta in the water — since it’s fresh, it will only take a couple of minutes to cook, so don’t wander off. When it’s done, turn off the heat, drain the pasta, and put it back into the pot. Pour the alfredo sauce over the pasta and toss to coat. Put the lid back on so that it will stay warm while you finish the shrimp.
5. Now all the prep is done, so we can turn our attention to the shrimp. Turn the heat up to high on the jalepeno and onions. Push them out to the edges of the pan so that you have a clean spot in the middle with just butter & olive oil to cook the shrimp.
6. Lightly salt and pepper one side of the shrimp, and lay that side down in the hot pan. Now lightly salt and pepper the other side. Cook for a minute. Add the finely chopped garlic, and turn the shrimp over. Cook for another couple of minutes until bright pink and opaque.
7. Finish it up by squirting the juice of the lime over the shrimp, using a fork to help you get all the juice out. Toss to mix the juice, shrimp, garlic and jalepeno-onion all together.
8. Put a small pile of the fettuccine on a plate (there will be a lot leftover), and rest the four shrimp against the pile. Sprinkle with some of the garlic-jalepeno mixture. Serve with bread if desired. Enjoy!