Shrimp Scampi Florentine Pasta

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The classic Florentine preparation places the main ingredient on a bed of buttery spinach, topped with sauce and cheese and browned under the broiler. We’ve replicated the basic idea, giving you all those rich and cheesy flavors, but with less effort than a full-on Florentine. We’ve even improved it, with a bit of heat from the red pepper flakes. Tip: An easier way to mince parsley? Gather them all in one hand and lay on the cutting board. Use your knife in rocking motion to cut, then turn 90 degrees and repeat until the herbs are properly minced!

SERVES 2

INGREDIENTS:

5  ounces spaghetti pasta
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 pound 16-20 count shrimp, peeled and deviened
1 shallot, peeled and minced
2 garlic cloves, minced
5 ounces  baby spinach, roughly chopped
¼  bunch fresh flat leaf parsley, minced
2 teaspoons mirepoix base or vegetable
¼ cup light cream
1 ounce grated Parmesan cheese
Salt, to taste
Ground black pepper, to taste

DIRECTIONS:

Bring 3 1/2 cups water and 2 teaspoons salt to a boil in a medium pot. Once water is boiling, add pasta and cook until al dente, 8-10 minutes. Reserve ¼ cup pasta cooking water. Drain pasta in a colander and set aside. While pasta boils, cook shrimp.

Heat 2 teaspoons olive oil in a large cast iron skillet over medium-high heat, until oil is shimmering. Working in batches if necessary, add shrimp to the skillet n and cook undisturbed until seared on one side, 1-2 minutes. Flip shrimp, and add shallot and garlic. Cook until aromatic, 30-60 seconds.

Lower heat to medium. Add the parsley and spinach to the skillet and stir occasionally until spinach is wilted. Add the shrimp and stir to cook until the shrimp is opaque and pink when it reaches a minimum internal temperature of 145ºF, 2-3 minutes. Stir in cream, Parmesan, half the pasta cooking water, mirepoix base, and pasta. Reduce the heat to a simmer. Once simmering, cook until sauce is slightly thickened, 2-3 minutes. If too dry, add additional pasta cooking water, 1 tablespoon at a time, until desired consistency is reached.

Remove the skillet from the heat and season with salt and  crushed red pepper flakes, to taste.

To serve divide, the shrimp Florentine between two plates and garnish the pasta with parsley.

 Bon appétit!

Cook’s Notes:

Many chefs consider mirepoix to be the key ingredient for adding that extra umph to a dish. It’s the secret sauce; the essential ingredient; the reason your food tastes so good. Mirepoix plays an important role in flavoring soups, stews, casseroles, braised meats, and marinades.358 (1)

You can find mirepoix soup bases in the soup aisle of your local supermarket. If that is not the case you buy it online at speciality gourmet shops. Click here for the link.

To learn how to make your own mirepoix base, just click here for the link to a great teaching video.

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Scallop Casino Pizza

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Inspired by the Clams Casino Pizza  commonly enjoyed through out the Northeastern United States, this version features a creamy  béchamel sauce made with Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese in this luxurious white pizza.

Serves 2
Ingredients:
3 garlic cloves, crushed
1/4 cup plus 2 Tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more
for drizzling
1 1/2 cups light cream
1/4 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
2 Tablespoons fresh lemon juice
Kosher salt, to taste
Pepper, to taste
1 Sheet puff pastry
4 slices thick-cut apple smoked bacon
1/2 cup mozzarella cheese
1 small tomato, roughly chopped
5-6 ounces baby sea scallops
1/4 cup baby arugula

Directions:
Preheat the oven to 425°F. In a medium saucepan, cook the garlic in 1/4 cup of the olive oil over moderately low heat until it starts to sizzle, about 3 minutes. Whisk in the 1/4 cup of flour until smooth and cook, whisking, until light golden, about 3 minutes. Slowly whisk in the milk and cook, whisking, until the béchamel is smooth and thickened, 2 to 3 minutes. Whisk in the cheese. Stir in 1 tablespoon of the lemon juice and season with salt and pepper. Transfer the béchamel to a small bowl. Discard the garlic.

Unfold the puff pastry sheet and lay out the sheet onto baking sheet.Prick the surface of pastry with a fork. Brush the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil all over the pastry and spread the béchamel evenly on top, leaving a 1-inch border around the edge. Bake on the bottom rack of the oven for about 15 minutes, until the pastry is almost cooked through.

Meanwhile, in a nonstick medium skillet, cook the bacon over moderate heat, turning, until golden and crisp, 7 to 8 minutes. Transfer to paper towels to drain. Roughly chop the bacon.

Top the pizza with cheese, tomatoes, the scallops and drizzle with olive oil. Bake for about 3 minutes, until the béchamel is golden and bubbling and the scallops are just opaque.

In a small bowl, toss the arugula with the remaining 1 tablespoon of lemon juice. Top the pizza with the bacon and arugula, slice and serve hot.

 

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Pickled Beet Deviled Eggs

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Let these deviled eggs take center stage at your next party. They will have your guests wanting more!

Ingredients:
6 eggs

For the Brine:
One 16 oz  can beets with liquid
1 cup apple cider vinegar
1/3 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon salt

For the Yolk Filling:
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 Tablespoon mayonnaise
1/2 teaspoon curry powder
1 Tablespoon white vinegar
3 teaspoons olive oil
1 teaspoon light cream
Salt, to taste
White pepper, to taste
Fresh chopped chives,  for garnish

Directions:
Hard boil your eggs and remove the shells.For perfect hard boiled eggs, see  this link for the method: http://wp.me/p43Rn7-oY

Set the eggs aside.

To prepare  the brine, pour the entire can of  beets into a large mason jar or bowl. Add cider vinegar, sugar, peppercorns and salt. Stir mixture. Because beet juice will stain, carefully lower the hard boiled eggs into the brine, cover and let sit for at least 12 hours, up to two or three days. The longer the eggs stay submerged in the brine, the more sour and dark maroon they will become. If just the rim of magenta color of the egg white and a slightly pickled flavor is desired, let the eggs sit for about 13 to 16 hours.

When brining time has completed, using sharp knife dipped in hot water, cut each egg in half and carefully scoop out the yolks using a small teaspoon. Place yolks in a medium-sized bowl, along with the mustard, mayonnaise, curry, vinegar, and olive oil. Mix/mash until smooth. You can always add a little bit of light cream to the yolk filling, if it is too stiff. Add the salt and pepper to taste.

Using  small teaspoon, or a pastry bag or a plastic bag with the corner cut off,  spoon or pipe the yolk filling back into the magenta colored eggs. Sprinkle with chopped chives and arrange on a platter for serving.  If the eggs are not to be served immediately, cover the dish with plastic  wrap and place in the refrigerator until ready to be served.

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