Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Asparagus Shrimp Spaghetti

Last night I made the best cream sauce I have ever made. Yay me!
We had company coming over and I had failed to plan dinner in advance past the idea of having some cranberry-cinnamon goat cheese that I've been craving for a month. All I can say is that it must be the pregnancy getting to me, because I've never put off planning a menu for a dinner that was booked a week in advance... Anyway, I went to Sobeys because that's the place with the amazing goat cheese and I saw that they had steaks on sale so I picked some up. Fortunately I also picked up shrimp because I remembered on my drive home that we were out of propane for the BBQ. Incidentally, I only buy raw frozen shrimp now instead of the precooked types. Much fresher flavor even if you have to peel them yourself.
Well, it was about 3:30 and I was starting to really worry about what I was going to be serving for supper. I decided to use the shrimp for a pasta dish and to use up the bundle of asparagus that I had sitting in my fridge. So first step, I cooked the asparagus. However, I had never cooked asparagus before so I actually had to look up how to do it. The combined help of 3 different sources got me through it. First off, I prepped the asparagus by breaking off the hard, woody ends. That's right - breaking, not cutting. Turns out that if you slightly bend the stalk it will naturally break clean at the point that it starts to harden. Beauty. Then I boiled some water in my frying pan, salted it, and when it was at a rolling boil I added the asparagus. My suggested cooking time was "until bright green" which I doubted but need not have. I fork tested one which had turned bright green after 3 minutes and, sure enough, nicely tender but firm. Then, I blanched 'em. A neat trick for aspargus and green beans... cook them in advance and then dip them in an ice water bath to stop the cooking process and keep them from going limp and losing their vivid color. You'll have to reheat them later, but really, it's worth it.
Anyway, I knew what I was making kind of, but I still needed a sauce. I had no heavy cream in the house however so I was a little stumped about how to make a cream sauce. Fortunately my lovely sister came to the rescue. She asked if I had cream cheese and told me to go to Well, I went there and while I didn't really find a recipe there, I found ideas. So I decided to wing it with my own sauce and it turned out fantastically! Here's my recipe for the dish.
Asparagus Shrimp Spaghetti:
1/2 bunch asparagus
handful spaghetti
lemon wedge
1/4 c. butter
1/4 c. cream cheese
2 cloves garlic
3/4 c. chicken broth
1/4 tsp basil
1/4 c. white wine

Cook asparagus in advance and set aside. Boil water and add pasta. In frying pan, melt butter over medium heat. Add garlic and cream cheese. When sauce starts to boil, add chicken broth and whisk until combined. Turn up heat to medium-high and add basil and wine. Whisk until creamy. Add peeled and defrosted shrimp and cook until pink. Add asparagus and cook until heated through.
Pour sauce, shrimp and asparagus over strained spaghetti. Sprinkle generously with grated parmesan and squeeze lemon wedge over top. Toss until thoroughly mixed. Serve!

Well, in addition to my most successful cream sauce ever, I am now selling Pampered Chef for sure. My first show will be my sister-in-law's Bridal Shower and after that, who knows? I'm actually quite excited for it. I've already gone through and picked out which recipes I'll use for shows and what items I want to get next. They've got some awesome stuff that my kitchen is without. Like their double boiler - I don't have one but their's is better than a normal one because it has handles on it. Anyway, I am excited and I do foresee it being mucho fun.

Well, my parents just got home from Maui yesterday so we're going to go see them! TTFN!

Mrs. Vander Leek ;)

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