Friday, February 25, 2011

Chile Vodka Cappellini al Gamberi

Peeled shrimp ready to de-vein 
After making some delicious smokey chile pastes, I wanted to cook something right away that prominently featured my new ingredient!

I love tomato vodka cream sauce for it's bite and wondered if cutting back on the tomato and adding in plenty of smokey chile paste would work. I had some bacon that Josh and I made a couple weeks ago that would be a delicious addition to the sauce, and I also had some frozen shrimp that could definitely perch atop a pile of delicious pasta, so I set to work creating this recipe.

It wasn't difficult (great week night food) and the smokiness of the chiles really complimented the bite from the vodka in the sauce.
Mise En Place
Chile Vodka Cappellini al Gamberi
angel hair pasta with shrimp

1/4 lb. Bacon
small yellow onion, diced
4 Garlic cloves minced/pressed through a garlic press
28 oz can of whole tomatoes
1/2 c. Pasilla chile paste (Ancho would work too)
1/2 c. cream
1/2 c. vodka
1 Tbsp olive oil
raw shrimp, peeled and deveined
1 lb. angel hair pasta
Basil chiffonade for garnish

Oh, bacon lardons! Delicious house-cured pork bellies! 

Rendering the bacon fat to saute the veggies in
Set a large pot of salted water on to boil for the pasta.

Cut the bacon into 1/2" rectangular pieces (lardons) and add to a cold saute pan. Turn on the heat to medium, and allow the fat to melt, being careful not to burn the lardons.

Add the diced onion and saute until translucent, about 3-5 minutes. Add the garlic and stir to combine. Add the whole tomatoes, squishing them in your hands as you remove them to the can/add them to the pan, then dump in the juice from the can. Add the chile paste and increase heat to high and bring the sauce to a boil, stirring frequently.

Sauce ready to go in the blender
Turn off the heat and add the sauce to the blender, buzzing until smooth. Return the sauce to the pan over low heat and add the cream and vodka. Stir to combine and set aside while you prepare the pasta and shrimp.

Heat grill or grill pan to medium heat.

Add pasta to boiling water.

Toss the shrimp with olive oil, salt and pepper. Add the shrimp, let cook for 2 or 3 minutes, until tails turn pink and meat starts to lose it's translucency. Flip each shrimp and cook another minute. Remove pan from heat.

Tails turning pink and meat just beginning to become opaque. Time to flip! Elapsed time on the pan: 2 minutes.
 Drain pasta when done (just about 6 minutes) and add to the sauce, tossing to combine.  Taste for seasoning, plate pasta, add shrimp, garnish & serve!
Chile Vodka Cappellini al Gamberi

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