LINGUINE WITH SAFFRON, SHRIMP AND VEGETABLES

LINGUINE WITH SAFFRON, SHRIMP AND VEGETABLES (for four)

 Pasta, linguine with saffron, shrimp and vegetables 1  Pasta, linguine with saffron, shrimp and vegetables 2

¾ pound medium shrimp, shelled, leaving tails intact, and deveined if desired

1-½ tablespoons olive oil

¼ teaspoon dried hot red pepper flakes, or to taste

¼ cup dry white wine or vermouth

1 medium onion, chopped (about ¾ cup)

1 tablespoon minced garlic, or to taste

1-½ tablespoons tomato paste

½ cup chicken broth

1 medium fennel bulb (about 1 pound), trimmed and chopped coarse

1 medium yellow bell pepper, cut into thin strips

1 tablespoon very hot water

¼ teaspoon crumbled saffron seeds

¾ pound linguine

2 cups cherry tomatoes, quartered

1 cup fish stock or bottled clam juice

½ pound fresh spinach, coarse stems discarded, washed well, spun dry and chopped coarse

1/3 cup finely chopped fresh parsley leaves

____________

  1. Bring a kettle of salted water to boil for the pasta.
  1. In a bowl, toss the shrimp with 1 teaspoon oil, 1/8 teaspoon red pepper flakes and salt and pepper to taste. Heat a 12 inch non-stick skillet over moderately high heat until hot enough to make drops of water scatter and saute shrimp in 2 batches until golden and cooked through, 1 to 2 minutes on each side, transferring as cooked to a plate.
  1. To skillet add wine or vermouth and boil until most is evaporated. Add remaining ½ teaspoon oil, onion, garlic, remaining 1/8 teaspoon red pepper flakes and salt and pepper to taste and cook over moderate heat, stirring, until onion is softened.  In a bowl whisk together tomato paste and chicken broth and add to the skillet with the fennel and bell pepper.  Simmer mixture, covered, until fennel is tender, about 10 minutes.
  1. In a very small bowl or ramekin combine hot water and saffron.
  1. While fennel mixture is simmering, add linguine to boiling water and cook until al dente (9 to 10 minutes from after the water returns to a boil). Drain linguine well in a colander and return to kettle.  Toss linguine with saffron mixture until evenly coated and keep warm.
  1. To simmering fennel mixture add tomatoes and fish stock and simmer 2 minutes. Add shrimp and spinach and cook, covered, until just heated through and spinach is slightly wilted, 1 to 2 minutes.  To pasta add vegetable mixture, parsley and salt and pepper to taste and toss well.

from The Best of Gourmet, 1996

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