Roasted Tomato Pasta with ShrimpPosted: 6 March 2011
Lately I’ve been re-discovering that some of the best meals are those that are really pretty simple. Also, that eggs make everything better. More on that later. Because of our schedules, there are some nights where I have more time to make dinner, in which case I can stew, braise, roast, whatever I want. On other nights I really have to make things in an hour or less, otherwise we’ll be eating at 10pm. It’s really easy to get stuck in a rut of fast meals which is why I love reading food blogs and getting ideas about new dinners and then tweaking them and making them my own. I’ve made a handful of pasta dishes lately and they’ve all been quick, painless and really delicious. Pasta is quick to make but you can end up being repetitive or dreary with it, so I think it’s important to try and mix things up.
Usually if I have a bag of frozen shrimp, I’ll saute them in a white wine and olive oil mixture with lots of garlic and toss in with pasta and fresh basil. Delicious, yes. But also predictable. Since we’d had that dish not long ago, I went for a variation that would have a completely different taste. Roasted tomatoes tossed with noodles creates a really great pasta base. Honestly, I think you could just add some basil, salt and pepper and you’d be good. I added the sauteed shrimp, plenty of spinach, sauteed mushrooms and a handful of blue cheese crumbles and tossed everything together. The cheese melts and coats the noodles and gives it a unique flavor that mixes nicely with the tomatoes.
Honestly, this dish is divine. I made it the first time with roasted grape tomatoes and Senor asked for it again about four days later. I used regular sized tomatoes this time because they’re Minnesota-greenhouse-grown and while being local, are also a lot cheaper than grape tomatoes are in Minnesota in March. You pick your battles. Another battle I choose to pick is checking on the sustainability and safety of our seafood. The shrimp came from Target and if you check the bags closely enough, you can find US shrimp in the freezer section. Much better than the typical ‘from China’ option. If you’re interested in learning what fish you should avoid and which fish is a safer choice, check out the Seafood Watch website here.
Aside from boiling the noodles, the longest cooking time will be the tomatoes. Seriously, this dinner is ready fast. More the better for eating heaps of it.
Roasted Tomato Pasta with Shrimp
2 Tbl. olive oil
5 medium sized tomatoes, quartered or 2 pints grape tomatoes
6-8 small cloves of garlic, peeled
frozen, uncooked shrimp (I used half a bag, or about 25 medium sized shrimp)
5 white mushrooms, quartered
1 cup fresh spinach
1/4 cup bleu cheese crumbles
5 oz. dry pasta
kosher salt, garlic, black pepper, crushed red pepper to taste
shredded Parmesan to top
Quarter the tomatoes and spread them onto a foil-lined baking tray. Top with peeled garlic cloves. I used our toaster over for this since it’s faster and more energy efficient than using an oven.
Once the tomatoes are roasting, start the water for the pasta. I used a combination of basil linguine and regular spaghetti noodles because the combo is delicious and pretty. Win win.
Boil the pasta like normal until it’s soft; drain and set aside. Add the olive oil to a large skillet and heat on medium-high. Add the shrimp and cook until they are no longer clear but pink. Once pink, add in the quartered mushrooms, sauteing with a bit of garlic powder until the mushrooms and shrimp are both crisp on the edges.
Once the tomatoes are done roasting (the skin should be wrinkled throughout), turn off the heat on your skillet. Add the tomatoes, cooked pasta, blue cheese and spinach to the skillet.
Using tongs or two spoons, toss the ingredients together until incorporated. Let the residual heat soften the spinach and melt the cheese. Once well incorporated, sprinkle lightly with kosher salt, crushed red pepper, and black pepper.
Serve immediately, topping with shredded Parmesan cheese and freshly ground black pepper.