Saturday, January 30, 2010

snow day lunch

It is snowing cats and dogs here in Richmond VA. I had one of those moments where i realized i hadn't been to the grocery store in... some time. I needed to come up with something with just the stuff in my kitchen.... which was looking like a daunting process. I haven't been cooking much- because of being busy and then consequently being lazy when I'm not busy. I've been living off of the same go to sandwich for a while now- grainy bread- toasted, shaved cucumber and carrot on top of a grilled chicken thigh with garam masalla spice and asiago cheese. totally delicious.

But i wanted something substantial and hot, and something i could eat straight up if if we lost power. So i thought pasta. I knew i had some shrimp and some bay scallops in the freezer, and i was really having a hankering for a vodka style sauce- so i started searching for something creamy and something tomato. After rummaging in the freezer for the seafood, i spyed the goat cheese i snagged for way under normal prices, and took some asiago cheese from the spacious looking cheese drawer. i grabbed a jar of roasted peppers and got to work. Give this easy pantry dish a fancy name, and you just might fool a foodie.

Spanish Seafood Pasta with 3 cheese red pepper sauce
feeds five.
1 pound good quality fettuccine
1/2 pound tiny bay scallops, washed and patted dry with paper towels
1/2 pound Texas brown shrimp, washed, dried, de shelled, devained, and de tailed (yeah- i know the restaurants keep them on- but it annoys me)
1 13-15 ounce jar of roasted red peppers, drained
1 yellow onion
2 ounces vodka
1 small raw garlic clove (if you're not a fan of big garlic flavor- you can cook the whole clove with your onions in the beginning)
1 4 oz log of goat cheese
1/4 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
1/4 cup shredded asiago cheese
2 tsp good balsamic vinegar (at least 3 years old)
1 tablespoon Spanish smoked dulce paprika (that's sweet paprika ya'll! picture inset. i got mine at a Mexican grocery store)
1 teaspoon mustard powder (colman's of course)
salt, pepper and extra virgin Olive oil

In a large skillet, heat up enough olive oil to coat the bottom of a stainless steel pan. cut your onion in half, discard the papery skin and slice thinly into 1/2 moons. saute the onion in the olive oil and deglaze the pan with a little liquor- but you can use water if you don't have any. i used a little airplane bottle's worth of vodka. Remove the onions from the pan, and heat up some more olive oil (enough to coat the bottom of the pan), and toss the scallops and shrimp with a teaspoon of the sweet paprika, a teaspoon of sea salt and a 1/4 teaspoon of pepper- or 4-5 grinds of fresh pepper. cook the seafood on medium high heat, for about 5 minutes. the seafood will cook quickly. once the shrimps are pink and the scallops are completely white, remove them and any juices to a bowl.

In a blender or food processor, add the drained roasted red peppers, sauteed onions, 1 raw garlic clove, goat cheese, mozzarella, asiago, the rest of the paprika, mustard powder, and balsamic vinegar. pulse until smooth. if the mixture is very thick- you will want to reserve a 1/2 cup of the pasta cooking liquid to thin out the sauce.

Cook the pasta till it is al dente in salted water, and reserve a 1/2 cup of the cooking water. drain the pasta, and put it back in the hot pot. pour over the pepper sauce, and add the seafood. toss well, and serve immediately. the sauce is the most brilliant orangy red, and it just warms you to look at.

if you absolutely must have something vegetable- peas or edamame would be an excellent choice. boil frozen veggies alongside the pasta in the last
couple minutes to heat them up. enjoy!