Monday, August 29, 2011

Spaghetti with Shrimp, Feta and Dill


Over the weekend my husband and I were trying to entertain our daughter in this sweltering heat. We decided to take a trip to the library since Bambino loves books and open places to run around. After Bambino made her rounds around the library yelling the sounds "thika thika" at the top of her lungs, I stumbled upon the cookbook area.I was perusing the books and picked up REAL SIMPLE dinner tonight: done! It is a collection of recipes from the magazine REAL SIMPLE. I've read the magazine once before and was impressed with the recipes, so I thought I'd check it out.

I gave the recipe book to Hubby and told him to pick out a recipe for dinner, and this is what he chose. He likes seafood, but I've rarely cooked it because I don't have much experience in it. Well, the only way to get experience is by starting somewhere! This recipe looked easy enough so I thought I would give it a try. I was nervous about cooking shrimp, but it was surprisingly pretty simple!

The results were a success! Hubby loved it! He devoured a huge plate full of the spaghetti. I figured it was because of all the feta cheese, but he said that the fresh dill was what made the dish.

The only thing I changed was that I added some frozen peas. I didn't like that it had no vegetables. Since I didn't make a salad, I wanted to ensure it had protein, starch and vegetables. (No, dill does not count as a vegetable, it's an herb!)

Click here for the original recipe
(The directions on this link are a bit confusing compared to the book. Not sure why the step by step directions are different.)

Ingredients:
12 oz spaghetti (3/4 box)
1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon of olive oil
1 pound peeled and deveined shrimp (I bought the raw, frozen shrimp that was already peeled and deveined, because I did not want to take the time to do all that work)
salt and pepper
juice and zest of one lemon
3/4 cup crumbled feta (The recipe book recommends getting a block of feta and crumble yourself because the block cheese keeps it's flavor better than the pre-crumbled cheese which tends to be dry. I buy the block cheese because it's cheaper. Lucky me!)
2 tablespoons coarsely chopped fresh dill
1/4 cup frozen peas

1. Cook the pasta according to the package directions. Drain the pasta and return to the pot. (I recently saw on Debi Mazar's show on the Cooking Channel that you should never let your pasta sit while you're making the sauce, but since the shrimp cooks so quickly and you don't want to overcook it, you want your pasta ready to add immediately.) Additionally, I wanted to ensure that the peas were cooked without overcooking the shrimp, so when the pasta was almost cooked through, I added frozen peas to the boiling water, and then drained it with the pasta.

2. Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat.

3. Season the shrimp with 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper and cook, tossing occasionally, until pink , 4-5 minutes. (Since the shrimp were frozen, it produced a lot of water when cooked, so I drained it out and then quickly returned it to the pan) Stir in the lemon juice and zest.

4. Add the shrimp mixture to the pasta, along with the Feta, dill the remaining 1/4 cup olive oil and 1/4 teaspoon of salt and pepper. Toss to combine.

Amateur Cooking Difficulty Scale: 3 
This was a very easy dish to make and was done in about 30 minutes. There was not much preparation other than cutting the dill and crumbling the feta. I will definitely be making this one again!

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