Abstinence

12 Apr

I had chosen to abstain from meat on Fridays for this Lenten season, so with that came some challenges in terms of diet. Naturally, seafood came more into the picture each Friday. It would be a bit of a challenge to think of something appetizing as well as quick and easy, since by the end of the day on Fridays the last thing I want to do is stand in my kitchen all evening after a long week.

I actually made this pasta on a few Fridays because I think it’s really tasty, is meatless, and is easy to adjust to whether I want it more garlicky or spicy or whatever. Plus it’s a cinch to make. I had also tried it last week with some squid ink pasta that I bought via Arganica, and the whole dish was equally as delicious as it is with regular pasta. I added spinach to the sauce to make it a bit healthier without totally changing the taste, but the sauce works just as well without it if you’re not a spinach fan. And I’ve pictured the pasta here with a salad I tossed together to go along with it, for some extra vegetables. To me, more vegetables is never a bad thing.

And what else isn’t a bad thing? Wine. You know, it’s Friday night, you’re making this, you want to wind down and just relax with a little help. I guess I just described a typical Novice Nosher Friday night.  ANYWAYS. I turned to my favorite oenophile, Stacy at Winobee. Her notes are featured below the recipe, and you can also check out her post over at Winobee. She’s paired it with a very delicious Chianti that I’m now really eager to try the next time I make this pasta. Which will probably be this Friday. 🙂

Seafood Pasta

Ingredients

  • 1/2 lb. (I just use about a handful-size) of fresh or thawed frozen shrimp (other seafood works great in this but preparation may be different)
  • 1 can of stewed tomatoes, Italian-seasoned if available
  • 1/2 small onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1/2 red bell pepper, diced
  • 2 handfuls of spinach
  • red cooking wine
  • olive oil
  • salt and pepper
  • red pepper flakes
  • dried basil and oregano or dried Italian herb mix
  • spaghetti or linguine (I like whole-grain)
  • Optional: Parmesan cheese
Directions

Cook the pasta according to package directions. Meanwhile, in a large saute pan over medium high heat, saute the garlic and onion until the onion begins to soften. Add the red bell pepper and season lightly with salt and pepper. Add a splash of red cooking wine and allow that to dissolve. Then add the stewed tomatoes and season with herbs ( I just generously sprinkle – it’s probably about a tablespoon). Stir in the spinach, it will wilt in a few minutes. Add the shrimp and allow them to cook fully (they’ll turn pink – about 3-4 minutes). Season to taste with red pepper flakes and toss in the cooked pasta. Top with shredded Parmesan cheese, if desired.
For the salad:
  • mixed greens/mesclun mix/spinach mix
  • a handful of blueberries
  • crumbled goat cheese
  • chopped walnuts
  • sliced red onion
  • Balsamic vinaigrette

Directions

Toss everything together!

Winobee’s Pairing:

To balance the acidity of the tomatoes in this dish, opt for a lighter to medium bodied, but higher acidity wine, like an Italian red. Ruffino Ducale Oro is a great sangiovese-based Chianti with a style all its own. You’ll experience cherry, tobacco and pepper aromas, with an earthy core and lingering dark berry flavor and nutmeg. Smooth and magnificent with this dish!
Cost: $40/bottle
Where to Buy: Wine.com
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2 Responses to “Abstinence”

  1. FrenchtwistDC April 12, 2011 at 5:07 pm #

    I decided to push it one step further and abstain from meat for all of lent. It’s hard!

    • TheNoviceNosher April 13, 2011 at 3:02 pm #

      You are such a trooper for totally abstaining from meat. I don’t know if I could ever do that – I would eventually crave a steak!

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