Monday dinner: Lemon-ricotta pasta with shrimp

Shrimp!

My friend Phil once said that in a perfect world that pizza, shrimp and ice cream would be available as one food. He is probably as fanatical about shrimp as I am. He’s gone so far as to eat it at Red Lobster. I think that ignoring all boundaries of quality cooking in a quest to eat more shrimp shows real dedication; far more than I am willing to invest.

I decided we were doing shrimp during my weekly scan of my Pinterest board. I collect recipes or ideas there, which then become dinner and posts here. It’s like a spoiler alert for my blog. Anyhow, my sister posted a recipe for this pasta with scallops. The Wife likes scallops. I could take them or leave them. Shrimp, though, is always a winner.

Final product.

This recipe from the Crumb blog involves a veggie non grata in my house: peas. I like peas, but The Wife would just assume go on a hunger strike than touch them. As I’ve mentioned, The Wife was not a vegetable eater when we met and it took a significant effort of wearing her down over the years to get her where she is today. I’m comfortable with where we are and don’t feel like pushing the envelope any further.

WHAT WORKED: The lemon. I like cooking with citrus and the lemon does really well with the shrimp, pasta and creaminess of the ricotta.

WHAT DIDN’T WORK: The dish needed pasta water. It would have been far too dry had I not added about a cup of the cooking liquid towards the end. Nothing was diluted. The oils in the grated lemon zest, as well as the lemon juice, still had a full flavor.

WILL IT MAKE ANOTHER APPEARANCE?: Probably as a weekend pasta during the winter. It was a little too rich for a weeknight offering during August. I was hoping for something a touch lighter, but I was still satisfied with the result.

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Lemon-ricotta pasta with shrimp
Adapted from Crumb

  • 16 oz. pappardelle or fettuccine
  • 1 lb. raw shrimp (26-30 or 31-40 count work best)
  • 4 tbsp good-quality olive oil (I use Goya)
  • Zest of 1 lemon
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 4 tbsp. fresh thyme, minced
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 16 oz. ricotta cheese (I used part-skim)

Cook the pasta per package directions until al dente. Drain, reserving at least one cup of pasta water.

While pasta is cooking, rinse scallops and pat dry. Heat 1 tbsp. olive oil over high heat in a skillet until it shimmers. Place shrimp in the pan in a single layer. Cook, turning once, until brown they turn orange. Remove from pan and set aside.

Drain pasta and add to skillet over medium heat. Stir in lemon zest, juice, remaining  olive oil and thyme. Toss to coat, then season with salt and pepper. Add the ricotta and mix gently until pasta is coated evenly. Add pasta water to create a thick sauce.

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