Mmm … winter is here and all I can think of is stodgy comforting foods that just cling to your insides. My go-to winter treat when I was living in Melbourne, Australia was always Shanghai dumplings from the pokey little Chinese restaurant in the back alley of Tattersalls Lane which is smack bang in the middle of Chinatown. Food was cheap there and in healthy quantities. All you Melbournian readers out there, you know the one I am talking about … the one with the tacky 70’s decor and the grumpy owner/manager who dictates where you sit and how long you are allowed to stay before he gives away your table to another waiting patron. Haha, good times.
But aside from dumplings I do love me a hefty bowl of pasta every now and then. I can eat pasta just plain with some butter in it … the best. Tomato based pastas are okay but I really have soft spot for the creamed ones … even though these days my stomach doesn’t always tolerate a diet rich in cream. If you are on a budget and want to eat fairly good pasta in Melbourne city then to Lygon street you go; every university student knows this. I remember walking up there on warm summer evenings with my flatmate to sit down at our favourite Italian restaurant (run by an Italian family of course) and I used to order the triple pasta platter. This platter came with your choice of any three pastas on the menu which was great for me since I never could decide on just one. The best one I have had by far was the creamy salmon linguini and I ordered that on more than one occasion. Creamy chicken and mushroom pasta is another frequently ordered dish when I hit a pasta place. I have made many cream-based pastas in the past and today I bring you another.
CREAMY SPINACH & SHRIMP FETTUCCINE
- 4 cloves garlic
- 500 g peeled shrimp
- 7 – 8 blocks frozen spinach
- 2 tsp salt
- pepper to taste
- 2 cups heavy cream
- 500g cooked fettuccine
- 3 tbsp bacon bits
- 1 cup grated cheese
Simple recipe, easy to follow and you only need a few ingredients that are all easy to find at your local grocery store. Start by heating some oil in a heavy bottomed sautee pan. I browned off some bacon lardons on medium low heat until most of the fat has been rendered out. Transfer to a plate until needed later. This is simply to get a nice flavour of smokey bacon in the cream sauce later. If you don’t want to do this step you can also use store bought bacon bits or omit the bacon entirely if you so choose.
Remove excess fat from the pan then add the garlic and shrimps and cook evenly. If using pre-boiled / cooked shrimp you can skip this part. Once the shrimp is cooked remove them and set aside on a plate. Add the spinach leaves and stir until wilted. Season with a pinch of salt then add in the cream.
Reduce the cream and it will thicken as it cooks. Just leave it to boil and the cream will do its magic on its own.
Once the cream has thickened somewhat, you can now toss in the cooked pasta. Give everything a good toss in the cream sauce and add the grated cheese, bacon bits and prawns. Taste for seasoning.
Don’t wait for the cream to thicken too much. Dish out onto warm bowls and tuck in immediately. Divine silkiness with every mouthful; I could eat this all day.
So there you have it, a lovely winter-friendly dish that doesn’t take forever to put together. A nice chilled glass of crisp white wine would be a wonderful accompaniment, followed by some yummy Italian dessert later perhaps.
I hope you guys will try this recipe out and have fun experimenting with the flavours to suit your taste buds. I have posted a few links below to other pasta recipes on the blog you may like to try. Until next time.
~ Enjoy ~