As a part of my love affair with pasta, I am forever trying to find new ways to make different sauces and combinations to avoid constantly eating the same old “red sauce” pasta dish. Enter my recent obsession with pesto, of course! Pesto also gets old too, though – so, “greek-style” shrimp scampi, using a can of diced tomatoes and other flavoring in place of the butter and oil, was born.
Because of my complexion and hair color, I’ve been asked throughout my life: “are you Italian?” “are you Greek?” “are you Mediterranean?” No, no, and no – but my affinity for certain flavors in food does tend to stray toward the Italian/Mediterranean side. Like this dish, I guess, I can “fake it.” :-).
This dish is simple enough to make for a quite night at home – but it’s also different enough – and bursting with flavor – to bring out when expecting guests. Enjoy!
GREEK STYLE SHRIMP SCAMPI
HUNT and GATHER:
1lb vermicelli/angel hair pasta
1 14oz can petite diced tomatoes with garlic and olive oil
12-16oz frozen shrimp
3 cloves garlic
1 handful fresh basil
1/2 tsp oregano
1/2 tsp pepper
1 tbsp olive oil
olives, if you like them!
feta cheese, for topping
salt to taste
(note: I made this dish with frozen white fish and mozzarella cheese in place of the shrimp and feta – at the one small grocery store I have access to right now without a car, they did not have feta cheese, and shrimp only came in huge bags of 120+ shrimp. This girl can’t eat 120+ shrimp during the two weeks left this summer in D.C.! You may also want to make these substitutions for budgeting purposes as well.)
Put a large pot of water on to boil for the pasta. While the water is boiling, chop up the 3 cloves garlic and basil so the garlic is minced and the basil is roughly chopped. Break the pasta and cook according to package directions once the water is boiling. Heat the 1 tbsp olive oil in a large pan on the stove over medium-high heat for one minute; saute the garlic in the pan until fragrant for 1-2 minutes. Empty the entire can of tomatoes into the pan (do NOT drain); add the pepper, salt, and oregano, and stir. Distribute the shrimp throughout the pan, lower the heat, cover, and let the entire mixture simmer for five to seven minutes. When the pasta is done cooking, strain the pasta and let cool but reserve the starchy pasta water. After the shrimp mixture is done simmering, add 1/2 cup of the pasta water to the mixture to make a little more “sauce.” Make sure the shrimp are cooked through. Serve the shrimp mixture, with 5-7 shrimp per plate, over the pasta, and top with olives and feta cheese if desired. Serves four.