Real Food for Real Life

Friday, July 9, 2010

A different take on a Southern favorite...

Shrimp and Bacon Pasta, 
aka, Shrimp and Grits w/o the grits

I had opened a pack of bacon earlier this week for the Country Captain and needed another dish to finish it off.  With my mind still stuck in the south, Shrimp and Grits was a perfect choice for this leftover bacon goodness...One problem, as much as Ben and I like grits, the kids just don't share this affinity. 

Having set my sights on this dish in that stubborn headed manner of mine, I decided to go ahead with it, but substitute pasta for the grits (easy fix :).  In a nod to the butter and cheese customarily found in the grits, I buttered the hot pasta and sprinkled the servings with some shredded parmesan.  I added a bit of white wine to the shrimp before tossing with the pasta to lighten things up a bit (I know, I can hear you all laughing at that one).  The only thing I would change in making this again would be to add some lemon juice to the pasta (and Ben wanted bigger shrimp than the mediums I used).  Chris, in particular, loved this dish, but when I asked him about eating the grits instead of the pasta I got a loud "NO."  Oh well, doesn't hurt to try...

Shrimp and Bacon Pasta

1 14-16oz. pkg. long pasta of choice (I used linguine here)
2 tbs. butter (or more, if you dare)
1 lb. shrimp, peeled and deveined
3 cloves garlic, minced (or more, if you like)
2 tbs. lemon juice
coarse salt and fresh ground black pepper
8 oz. bacon, diced (I used a peppered bacon)
1 onion, diced (use a Vadalia if you have it)
1 bell pepper, diced (green is customary, but I prefer and used a red one)
about 1/2 cup dry, white wine
chopped fresh parsley and shredded parmesan to serve (I think a sprinkling of crushed red pepper flakes would be good as well)

Cook the pasta al dente, drain and toss with the butter to coat; set aside and keep warm.  Toss the shrimp in a bowl with the garlic, lemon juice, salt, and pepper; set aside (do this just before you start cooking or the lemon juice will start to "cook" the shrimp).  
In a large saute pan over med-high heat, cook the bacon until brown and starting to crisp; remove to a paper towel lined plate with a slotted spoon, reserving the drippings in the pan (if it more than you are comfortable with, spoon out some of the fat as well).  Add the onion and bell pepper to the pan and saute until softened and the onion is starting to turn golden, 7-8 minutes.  Add the shrimp and wine to the pan and cook just until the shrimp are all pink, 3-4 minutes; remove from the heat.
To serve, place a portion of pasta in a shallow bowl and top with some of the shrimp mixture, being sure to spoon over some of the pan juices.  Sprinkle with some of the reserved bacon,  parsley, and parmesan.  This made 4 large servings, but could easily be 6 smaller portions.

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