“Since hunger is the most primitive and permanent of human wants, men always want to eat, but since their wish not to be a mere animal is also profound, they have always attended with special care to the manners which conceal the fact that at the table we are animals feeding.” - John Erskine

06 March 2012

shrimp and angel hair with not caper cream sauce

Yep, shrimp again.  What can I say?  Ever since my mom took me to Skippers when I was about 9, I have loved shrimp, in almost all its incarnations.  And I know it’s a weird title.  There was cream sauce.  It was supposed to be caper cream sauce.  It wasn’t.  And so, the tile as it stands.  Well, it makes sense to me, anyway.

I found a bunch of Olive Garden’s recipes on line here.  Official recipes, strait from an Olive Garden chef.  Who doesn’t love Olive Garden, and how could I resist trying them?  Have to say, so far I haven’t been all that impressed with the recipes I’ve tried, but I do like this one.  My version of it anyway.  The one without the capers.

Olive Garden’s Shrimp & Angel Hair with Lemon Caper Cream Sauce
serves 8
½ cup olive oil
2 pounds shrimp, peeled and deveined
2 teaspoons garlic, chopped
4 tablespoons capers, drained
½ cup white wine
4 lemons, juiced
2 lemons, thinly sliced
4 cups heavy cream
white pepper to taste
salt to taste
16 ounces angel hair pasta, cooked according to package directions
2 teaspoons parsley, chopped

Heat oil in sauté pan.  Add garlic and capers and cook for 30 seconds.  Add wine and lemon juice; cook until reduced by half.

Add shrimp and cook for 2 minutes.  Turn.  Add cream; cook for 2 minutes or until sauce slightly thickens.  Season sauce with salt, white pepper and parsley.

Add hot, drained pasta to sauce, stirring to thoroughly coat pasta.  Add lemon slices.

Transfer to large serving platter, sprinkle with parsley and serve immediately.

You may already have some inkling, whether because you were paying attention, or you know me by now, or because of the title, but I really didn’t follow the recipe much.  Here’s what I did differently:  I used frozen pre-cooked shrimp (strangely, it’s cheaper than the uncooked shrimp, and I REALLY like not having to pull off the feet, the shells, the veins) so I skipped sautéing in olive oil.  In fact, I skipped the olive oil altogether.  (Almost.  But I’ll get to that in a minute.)  So I started by pouring the lemon juice and white wine into a pot and bringing it to a simmer.  Last time I was supposed to reduce wine I didn’t really because I was in a hurry and it took too long, and I regretted it.  (Strangely, the sauce tasted way too strong.)  So I wasn’t going to make that mistake with this recipe.  Since I knew that it was going to take some time to reduce by half, I put it in to simmer and then started my water for the noodles.  I was hoping they would both be ready about the same time, and they were.  Hooray!  I just tossed the garlic in with the wine and let it flavor the reduction.

I decided it would be a good idea to stir the frozen shrimp into the hot reduced sauce to unfreeze it and get it warm before I added the cream.  If/when I make this again I will wait on this and do the cream sauce first; the shrimp got a little overcooked in the sauce process and it’ll warm up in the cream sauce just as easily.  So I added the cream ~ which was half milk, since I didn’t have as much cream as I thought I did ~ after the shrimp had warmed.  While it was “thickening” (which it didn’t, because of the milk ~ I ended up adding some of the hot sauce to about ¼ cup of flour and then pouring it back in to thicken things a bit; it was still runny) I thought about the healthy properties of olive oil and decided we needed some of that, so I added a dash (I’d guess about 2 tablespoons) to my sauce.  I also wondered if I was going to regret not having capers.  I looked for capers at the store, I really did, but couldn’t find any.  (They may have had some and I just didn’t know where to look.  I can never find an employee to ask when I need one.)  I even looked capers up on the internet and asked my mom what they were and what they tasted like.  I got the impression that they’re rather tart.  So as I was wondering if I needed something to give my sauce a caperish kick, I remembered that I had about half a jar of kalamata olives in the fridge.  (Dont freak out over the price.  Thats for a pack of 6.)  Hmm.  Flavorful, salty, briney, tart.  Yep, I tossed some in.  Wish I had thought of them during the sautéing phase, and I probably should have cut them up, but they really added a yummy flavor to the dish.  Even my husband, who doesn’t like olives much at all, didn’t complain about them.  Then again, he probably didn’t eat an actual olive...

Anyway, this was really quite yummy, despite the sauce being a little runny and the shrimp being a little over cooked.  Definitely a keeper.

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