Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Pappardelle with King Prawns and Leeks

The Brits have some funny little phrases. Like, wtf is a king prawn? It seems so easy to be regarded as royalty in England these days. At least it's not an oxymoron like jumbo shrimp, but still... ugh. I just spent the week in England and Charlie has had a new fishmonger open up near his flat in Highbury. It looked pretty posh and we were both intrigued by the fish and shellfish, dead and alive, staring at us from a bed of ice in the front window. I resolved that we should go back later in the week for some shrimp and make some kind of pasta. Thus I bring you, Lidia Bastianich's Tagliatelle with Leeks and Shrimpbut with pappardelle and king prawns.
The recipe is a simple one and only called for a few ingredients that Charlie didn't already have stashed away in his kitchen. I started off by searing 8 shrimp in a hot pan with a bit of oil for about 2 minutes until pink on both sides. I put the shrimp off to the side and added 1 large chopped up leek to the pan. It was nice and pretty to chop the leek up like coins and a challenge to try to keep them together until the meal was served. When the leek was soft after about 5 minutes, I added 2 diced shallots for about 2 minutes until soft. Next was 1 cup of homemade and previously frozen chicken stock and about 2 tablespoons of butter.
On the side I boiled up a bit less than a pound of pappardelle pasta that we got at an Italian deli also near Charlie's flat. Just before the pasta was al dente I added the shrimp back into the sauce combination and cooked through until no gray was visible. Last I added the al dente pasta to the pan with the sauce and gently folded together to coat.
I served the dish with grated parmesan and a bit of salt and pepper. We thought it was delicious! We were nervous that I added too much chicken broth but it ended up cooking down really nicely when the pasta was added to the pan. I may have added a bit more broth than the 1 cup that the recipe called for but I think it was needed to thoroughly coat the pasta. The shrimp from the fishmonger were really tender and noticeably much more flavorful than frozen shrimp from the food store. The leeks were nice and soft and added a sweet note to the whole dish. This was a simple and tasty recipe and both Charlie and I agreed that it's a keeper.

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