Cook’s Corner: Look forward to fall with pasta

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Have you found yourself lately wandering the aisles of the local Target, Home Goods, or Hobby Lobby and eyeing all the pretty autumn decorations, brushing your hand across the cozy sofa throws and sniffing the pumpkin spice candles? I have.

In other parts of our country and the Northern Hemisphere, temperatures are cooling off, leaves are changing colors from green to red and gold and the sun goes down earlier and earlier in the evening. The thought of cool, crisp weather and warm apple cider is so appealing.

But then I am jolted back to the reality of our 100-degree sunshine when I step outside those home décor stores to get into my stifling hot car. There is no way I am decorating with warm fleece anything on my couch just yet.

Even though our southern California weather may not be cooperating to fulfill our autumnal longings, at least we aren’t dealing with a category five hurricane like others are in the South and Southeast, right? We can be thankful for that. And for the random rain showers.

While the heat of summer has remained, the carefree days have not. School has started back up, as have sports, other activities, bible studies and meetings for my homeschool group. Keeping to a schedule is once more a priority.

With all these things back in full swing, time is a valuable commodity come dinner time. Quick and easy meals are not only important, but a necessity most weeknights. Many times when people think “quick and easy,” they assume dinner has to come from a can or frozen food box. It doesn’t.

A little pre-planning in the form of a grocery list, a handful of fast and easy recipes and 30 minutes can make the difference between spending extra money to order take-out, or enjoying a nutritious, homecooked meal.

This week’s recipe is a delicious, made-from-scratch dish that is ready in under 30 minutes from start to finish. I found it on one of my new favorite websites for recipes, Natasha’s Kitchen. The recipes Natasha features are scrumptious, easy to make and family friendly.

This dish is easily made gluten-free by subbing in gluten-free pasta for the regular fettuccine. Since I have those in my family that can’t do cow’s milk, I replaced the heavy cream with full fat coconut milk and got excellent results.

As for those fall decorations, I’m gradually swapping out summer flowers for orange-y ones, and keeping an eye out for some vintage velvet pillows in olive green, all while I dream of cooler days to come.


Creamy Shrimp Pasta

Serves 4

Ingredients:

  • 3/4 lb. fettuccini pasta
  • 1 lb. large raw shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 1 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1/2 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 2 tbsp. butter
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1/3 cup white wine (I used Sauvignon Blanc)
  • 2 cups heavy whipping cream
  • 1/3 cup shredded parmesan cheese
  • Salt and black pepper to taste
  • 1/4 tsp. paprika, or to taste
  • Parsley, finely chopped, to garnish

Directions:

Boil water in a large pot with 1 tsp. salt and cook according to package instructions, or until al-dente. Drain pasta but do not rinse. Set aside.

As pasta boils, season shrimp with 1/2 tsp salt, 1/4 tsp. black pepper and 1/4 tsp. paprika. In a large skillet, add 1 tbsp. oil and heat over medium/high heat. When oil is hot, add shrimp in a single layer and cook 2 minutes per side or just until cooked through and no longer translucent. Remove to a separate dish and cover to keep warm.

In the same skillet, melt 2 tbsp. butter with finely chopped onion and sauté over medium/high heat until onion is soft and golden, about 5 minutes. Add minced garlic and sauté another minute until fragrant. Stir in white wine and boil until liquid is reduced by 75 percent. Stir in 2 cups cream, bring to a light boil, then simmer 2 minutes. Add parmesan cheese and stir just until creamy and smooth. Let it come just to a simmer, without boiling, then turn off the heat and season sauce with more salt, pepper and paprika to taste.

Stir in the drained pasta and cooked shrimp, tossing until noodles are well coated in sauce. Serve with a sprinkle of finely chopped parsley, more Parmesan cheese and freshly cracked black pepper.

 

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Betty Williams