LINGUINE WITH SAFFRON, SHRIMP AND VEGETABLES (for four)
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
- Bring a kettle of salted water to boil for the pasta.
- 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.
- 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.
- In a very small bowl or ramekin combine hot water and saffron.
- 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.
- 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.