To see how easy to make something that a restaurant would charge you $7-$20 something is definitely part of the joy of cooking. I planned to make a braised dish that goes with rice tonight but was short of time. Instead of asking Jing to buy some take out on his way home, I made shrimp pasta that we both like very much. The funny thing is, after dinner we watched a special guest video on an Stanford open course called “Child Nutrition and Cooking” on coursera. In the video a chef ,Rocco Scordella, of an Italian restaurant named Tootsie’s made pasta exactly like this one, minus the shrimp and the pepper and the carrots, just onions and tomatoes and some cheese. The key in making pasta is to grab the essentials: onions and tomatoes, salt and pepper, and of course pasta. The rest you can just improvise. You can just use what you like to eat or what is left in the fridge. You can use any kind of pasta. You can substitute the shrimp with sausage or ground beef, add mushroom or beans instead of the bell pepper, etc.
Chinese version: 番茄虾仁意面
- shrimp: 6
- tomato: 2
- onion: 1/4
- bell pepper:1/4
- carrots: 1
- pasta: 240g for 2 servings
- oil: 1~2 tbsp
- salt (a pinch), pepper(a pinch), ketchup(1 tbsp), and sugar(1tsp)
- (optional) parsley
- Prepare the ingredients. Dice the carrots, onion, bell pepper and the tomatoes. You can chop the tomatoes more finely if you like but we like to eat chunks of tomatoes and we don’t mind the skin. We spotted a tool that grinds, grounds, and slices last weekend at Bed, Bath & Beyond. I put it into test today with the carrots and it works really well with the carrots! Sadly I’ve thrown away the packaging and cannot tell you the name of it. It is about the size of a microwave container, has a lid, a metal part with all the blades and a container at the bottom.
- Defroze the shrimps and chop them in bite size. Sorry I forgot to snap a picture of that, you can see the size of the shrimps at step 5.
- Heat pan over medium low heat (4 on a 0-9 scale), add oil, then add the carrots, let it sauté for about 1 minute to give it a head start. Vegetables that are root such as carrots and potatoes take a little bit longer to cook
- Add onion and tomatoes, then some ketchup and sugar to taste if you like, stir and let the tomatoes soften and let the water evaporate, this may take a minute or two
- Wait until the tomatoes are soft and add shrimps, and set heat to high
- Wait until the shrimps turn white (no more than a minute) and add bell pepper, salt and pepper to taste, and parsley if you like and your sauce is done.
- Pasta time! Boil some water in a pot, add pasta and wait the amount of time as instructed on the pasta box. We used 2/3 of a box of Catelli Smart pasta for 2 people. Then rinse the pasta under tap water for about 10 seconds so that they cool a bit and won’t burn your tongue.
- Put the sauce on top of the pasta.