Sunday, March 18, 2012

Spring Cleaning the Frig
What’s cooking? Fusilli with Shrimp and Spring Vegetables

SPECIAL Kitchen Goddess note: In the spirit of getting other pieces of my life in order, I finally bit the bullet and organized the list of recipes I’ve posted on this blog. You’ll find them on the "Recipes" tab at the top of this page.

I can’t tell you what I had for breakfast. Not won’t, or shouldn’t – I don’t actually know what it was. It started with cottage cheese; that much I’m sure of. But I don’t like cottage cheese enough to eat it straight, so I often add some flavor. Salsa is a great accompaniment, as is Melissa Clark’s Green Tomato and Lemon Marmalade. But lately, I’ve noticed how overstuffed my refrigerator is with various leftovers and the leftovers of the things I’ve made with the first leftovers. (My friend Joy says her mother was so good at this process that no one in her family could ever remember what the original meal was.)

So this morning, I put into my cottage cheese the remains of a small jar of something red. It smelled sweet, and it wasn’t fuzzy. So it might have been my friend Ann’s plum chutney, or maybe it was a lingering bit of cranberry sauce from last year. It’s definitely not from this year – that’s in a much larger jar. But I say, if it doesn’t have mold on it, it must still be good. And I only feed this stuff to myself.

It’s not only my fault. My husband likes to stockpile all kinds of mustard. There’s the horseradish mustard, the “delicatessen-style” mustard, and the Gray Poupon, just for starters. Then, even though neither of us drinks much beer, except with BBQ, there are four bottles of beer that someone – possibly someone’s son – squirreled away at the back of the top shelf.

The point is that I’m thinking I should try to celebrate the start of spring with a clean refrigerator. Some of those jars – even if there’s no mold – hold things I’m just not sure I want to eat – or serve to anyone. And for that I think we can all be grateful.

* * *

I’m driving to Memphis this weekend, for the Spring National Bridge Tournament. I’ve told you we’re bridge fanatics, and this is the proof. I mean, who drives 22 hours just to play bridge for two days? So I needed to get rid of some of the veggies, as well as some cream that’s on the edge. I’ll admit I bought the shrimp fresh – some things are important that way. But I made a very nice pasta dish – similar to one I posted in May 2010, that just goes to show you can take a broad range of ingredients and turn them into a decent dinner with pasta.

Fusilli with Shrimp and Spring Vegetables

As to the pasta and shrimp here, you are welcome to substitute penne or farfalle – bow tie – for the pasta; and while I like the meatiness of the Extra Jumbo shrimp (16-20/lb), the Jumbo (21-25/lb) is fine if you prefer.

6 ounces whole wheat pasta (I)
¾ pound shrimp, shelled
2 Tablespoons salt
1 Tablespoon unsalted butter
1 Tablespoon olive oil
1 large shallot, minced (about 1/4 cup)
5 ounces sugar snap peas, trimmed
8 ounces thin asparagus, trimmed and cut into 1-2-inch pieces
½ cup chicken broth
¼ cup heavy cream
¼ cup parsley leaves, chopped
¼ cup finely grated Parmesan

The asparagus and the pasta will cook separately, but in the same water. (That way, at least some of the vitamins that leach out of the asparagus will find their way into the pasta.) Fill a large pot with water, add the salt and bring the water to a full boil. At the same time, prepare a bowl of ice water for the asparagus. Add the asparagus to the boiling water and cook for about 1½ minutes. Remove the asparagus to the ice bath, and add the pasta to the boiling water. Cook the pasta according to package directions. After the asparagus has been in the ice bath for a couple of minutes, remove it and lay it out on paper towels to dry.

In a large sauté pan, melt the butter with the olive oil over medium heat. Add the shallot, and cook, stirring, for about 4 minutes. It should not brown. Add the shrimp, and cook about 2 minutes per side (slightly less for Jumbo size). Add the sugar snap peas and the asparagus. Turn the heat down to medium low, add the chicken broth and the cream, and stir to combine. Cover and simmer for about 10 minutes. Add the pasta, stirring to coat with the sauce, and add the parsley. Continue to cook 1-2 minutes, being careful not to overcook the sugar snap peas, then turn off the heat and stir in the Parmesan.

Serves 4.

Kitchen Goddess note: There’s nothing magic about the choice of vegetables here. The Kitchen Goddess was trying to use up the asparagus and sugar snap peas in her crisper. You could make essentially the same recipe using broccoli florets, frozen peas, spinach, arugula,... The mind reels. But the parsley should be fresh.

1 comment:

  1. i can certainly identify with the fridge clean-out recipe; my family knows how i hate to throw food out! now, on to the cantaloupe soup...