shrimp arrabiata

      I bought some uber-fresh, Georgia white shrimp from the farmers' market. They smelled of the salty water they came from. A quick look through the pantry reveals a treasure trove of possibilities. And I'm in the mood for something spicy!
     I cleaned the shrimp, freezing the heads and shells for shrimp stock. Then I began the water for pasta and prepared the ingredients for the sauce.
     It's a simple tomato sauce with a kick. The heat comes from our indispensable friend, the red pepper flake. Fresh basil from the yard brightens the flavor. Add it right near the end.
     The shrimp are quickly sauteed, then removed. They'll jump back in later... we don't want them to be tough. This is quick and easy, just like we like it. No problem for a busy weeknight...
1 pound fresh shrimp, cleaned and shelled
1 T. bacon drippings
1 T. olive oil
1 small onion, minced
3 large cloves garlic, minced
1/2 t. red pepper flakes... or more to your taste
2 T. tomato paste
1/2 c. vermouth or dry white wine
1 28-oz. can diced, fire-roasted tomatoes
1 pound pasta
1/2 c. pasta cooking water
salt and freshly ground black pepper
5 or 6 leaves of fresh basil
Place large pot of water on to boil. Salt the pasta water, the cook pasta to al dente. Before draining the pasta, remove 1/2 cup of cooking water.
In a large, flat pan heat bacon drippings and oil. Saute onion for about a minute, then add the garlic, red pepper and shrimp. Cook the shrimp until they begin to turn pink. Remove just before they are cooked through and set aside.
Add tomato paste and brown it a little, then deglaze pan with vermouth. Scrape any of the browned bits from the bottom of the pan. Dump in the tomatoes. Add half of the basil with a little salt and pepper. Pour in the pasta water. Let sauce cook for ten minutes... This should be about the same time as the pasta is done.
Scoop out a small amount of the sauce liquid and mix it into the pasta to prevent sticking. Cover pasta and set aside.
Continue to simmer sauce on low heat for another fifteen minutes. Add shrimp back in and cook for about three minutes. Toss with the pasta, tasting for seasoning. Add salt if needed and lots of black pepper. Top with remaining basil and serve.


  1. Ahh.....this looks fabulous, Susan! Love local shrimp!!

  2. kay, we finally have a farmers' market in richmond hill, on tuesday afternoons. i love the farm fresh stuff i find. it makes cooking and eating even MORE fun;)