Tuesday Dinner: Orecchiette With Shrimp, Spinach, and Mushrooms

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I would just rather buy raw shrimp that has already been peeled and deveined (SIDE NOTE: It should be stated that I was far too lazy to drive to Price Chopper for this variety of raw shrimp. Instead I just bought what Wegmans had in the case. So, in the grand scheme of things, this is my fault.). They are far too hot to peel after they have been sauteed. The tails are not as much of the issue as the skin. I find myself giving up trying to peel everything down to the tail, forfeiting the sweetest meat in the shell, and settling for whatever white fish I can get.

Tuesday was another one of those cases. The Father-In-Law had dinner with us on Tuesday and, for some reason, we ate at our little table in the kitchen. So, in addition to burning my fingers on the shrimp, I was squeezed into a small corner of a square table. I think part of my quitting was a function of wanting to finish dinner and get into a room that wasn’t so crowded or warm.

Now, I know that you are supposed to cook shrimp with their outer shell intact, as this adds more of that rich seafood flavor to whatever meal you are cooking. That is very true, but it still doesn’t make me want to deal fingertip burns. And since this had 32 oz. of chicken stock involved, you weren’t really going to get a lot of seafood flavor anyways. I digress…

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Yasmin Fahr’s creation is a great weeknight meal if you have patience and/or raw, peeled shrimp. It was made better by the acquisition of farm fresh white mushrooms, shallots and hydroponic spinach from a recent trip to the farmer’s market.

WHAT WORKED: Speed. This went together very easily and quickly. Including prep, this took about 45 minutes to get on the table.

WHAT DIDN’T: The damn shrimp.

WHAT DID THE FATHER-IN-LAW SAY: “What? You didn’t peel the shrimp?”

WILL IT MAKE ANOTHER APPEARANCE: Yes, thought it all depends on what type of shrimp I can acquire.

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Orecchiette With Shrimp, Spinach, and Mushrooms
Adapted from Yasmin Fahr’s original at Serious Eats

  • 2 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • 2 cups fresh mushrooms, chopped
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 shallot, sliced thin
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • Pinch of crushed red pepper
  • 1/4 cup dry white wine
  • 1 lb. orecchiette
  • 1 qt. chicken stock
  • 2 cups spinach
  • 1 lb. medium shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • juice from one lemon

Heat half of the olive oil in a Dutch oven or large pot over medium-high heat. When it shimmers, add the mushrooms and sweat them. Season with salt and pepper, cooking until they release their liquid — about 5 to 7 minutes. Transfer mushrooms to a bowl and set aside.

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Add the rest of the oil to the pan and bring it to a shimmer. Add the shallot and cook 2 minutes until soft. Add the garlic and red pepper, cooking until the garlic becomes fragrant. Deglaze the pan with wine, scraping up any stuck-on, browned bits from the pan. Reduce the wine slightly, about 1 minute. Add the pasta and cover with stock. Bring to a boil, season with salt and pepper to taste, and cook pasta until just before al dente (Trader Joe’s orecchiette is done in 7 to 8 minutes; I cooked it 6 minutes). The liquid should be absorbed and creamy.

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Add the spinach and shrimp, stirring until the shrimp have cooked through and the spinach is very wilted. This will take 3 to 5 minutes.

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Return the mushrooms to the pan, stirring them in with lemon juice, and salt and pepper to taste.

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Serve hot with grated cheese.

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