The day before farmers market day meant veggie and herb remnants from the previous week’s shopping were all we had for dinner. Granted, they were pretty darn tasty, and fresh, remnants and included an always abundant selection of herbs, perfect to round out any fresh dish. With shrimp in the freezer, pasta in the pantry, white wine and olive oil (always) and some basic seasonings to add to my left over veggies we were able to create this flavorful, healthy and very fresh pasta. Our wine paired perfectly, a tasty Albarino, but from an unlikely location, Uruguay. Bodega Garzon was started in 1999 with the hope to bring a little bit of Tuscany to Uruguay. Their completely sustainable winery, the first in North America outside of the US, produces wine from fruit grown in well draining, mineral rich soils that are greatly influenced by their close proximity to the Atlantic Ocean. Zippy, fresh and lively, filled with white flowers, citrus and stone fruit, perfect to enhance the very fresh and flavorful dish.
Shrimp, Fennel and Herb Pasta
1 pound shrimp, we had smaller 25-30 count; buy whatever you have is great. Shelled and deveined.
1/2 cup thinly sliced fennel, with fronds for garnish
2 tablespoons green onions, sliced very thin (you could also use 1 shallot or 1/4 of shaved white onion)
3 cloves garlic, smashed
1 tablespoon minced fresh rosemary
1 tablespoon chopped fresh basil
1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley or cilantro (or both)
3 inch piece daikon radish, thinly sliced, optional (we had it so we added…added a nice hit of spice…you could also add peppers, squash, radishes, tomatoes, whatever is in your pantry, but you want the licorice flavor of the fennel to shine with the shrimp)
3 tablespoons olive oil + more for drizzling
1/2 white wine
6 ounces pasta, we used angel hair
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
juice of 1 lemon
salt and pepper
Prep all your ingredients before starting and set aside on a cutting board or in small bowls. The preparation is pretty quick, so have everything ready when you start the pasta.
Fill a stock pot half way with water and set over high heat to boil to cook the pasta. Add 2 tablespoons salt and a drizzle of olive oil to the water.
Place a large sauté pan over medium heat with 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Season the shrimp with salt and pepper, and a touch of red pepper flakes. Add to the oil with a squeeze of 1/4 lemon. Cook until just pink, stirring often (should only take a few minutes.) Remove from the pan into a bowl with the juices. Set aside.
Add the 2 additional tablespoons olive oil to the pan and add the chopped fennel, rosemary, green onions and garlic. Sauté for 3-4 minutes, stirring often. When the pasta water comes to a boil drop the pasta, stir into the water and cook for 7-10 minutes, or until barely al dente. If using any other veggies, add them to the sauce, stirring to incorporate with 1/2 lemon (you should still have 1/4 lemon left for final seasoning.) Season with 1/2 teaspoon salt and a 1/3 teaspoon pepper, or to your taste, and a pinch of red pepper flakes Add the wine and bring to a boil, then simmer for 5 minutes. Add the soft herbs, stirring through.
When the pasta is almost ready, just al dente, scoop 1 cup pasta water into the sauce. Drain the pasta and add to the sauce. Using tongs or spoons fully immerse the pasta into the sauce, stirring to fully incorporate. Add the shrimp, stirring again. Add the arugula, stirring through. Spoon into large bowls. Drizzle with olive oil and the final squeeze of lemon. Garnish with fennel fronds and serve.