Garlic Shrimp Pasta

Warning – this recipe is not for the faint of garlic heart – it calls for NINE garlic cloves! Holy mother – so maybe not your best option for a first cooking-of-the-dinner for a new bf/gf, or the best dish to eat if you have anyone important to talk to in oh, say the next week or so.  But I will vouch for this recipe and say it was delicious – I was nervous about the amount of garlic honestly, because even I being a garlic lover shuddered at the thought of using that much of it, but honestly, the other flavors balanced it right out.  And the smell OHHH the smell! I love the smell of garlic cooking!  It’s one of those smells that turn me into zombie mode whenever I smell it – I could be taking a jog or a walk, and that heavenly smell fills my nostrils and then you may as well consider me an extra for The Walking Dead, only instead of being on a quest for the flesh of humans, I am on a quest for garlic.

This recipe is from Americas Test Kitchen.  It’s funny, my mom bought Dave and I this cookbook a few years ago, and it has become more of a paper weight.  But when our internet was acting up and I couldn’t find a recipe on the world wide web, I thought I’d go old-school.  So I blew the dust off of this bad boy and let me tell you – they have some amazing looking recipes!  I’m looking forward to trying many more! 

But this one was definitely a keeper – highly recommended for you shrimp, garlic and pasta lovers! Pretty simple ingredients, the only two that I really scratched my head at was the Vermouth and Clam Juice, since I’ve never used them before.  But Vermouth is a cooking wine you can find in the dressing aisle of the grocery store (or you can use the version you’d put in cocktails).  Or you could just use wine instead, and then you get to drink the rest of it 🙂  And the Clam Juice is in the same section with the tuna and canned seafood.  And don’t be scared by the amount of steps – it seems like a lot, but they’re all very easy – promise!

Garlicky Shrimp Pasta

*yields 4 servings

5 medium garlic cloves, minced or pressed through garlic press (about 5 teaspoons), plus 4 medium cloves, smashed
(*note I did not use a garlic press, but instead one of those handy dandy hand mincers that did the job just great!)

1 pound large shrimp (21-25), peeled, deveined, each shrimp cut into 3 pieces 

3 tablespoons olive oil 

table salt 

1 pound pasta in short tubular shapes, such as fusilli, campanelle, or mezze rigatoni
(I used the mezze rigatoni)
1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes 

2 teaspoons unbleached all-purpose flour 

1/2 cup dry vermouth or white wine 
(I used vermouth)

3/4 cup clam juice 

1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley
3 tablespoons unsalted butter 

1 teaspoon lemon juice plus 1 lemon, cut into wedges
ground black pepper 

1) Toss 2 teaspoons minced garlic, shrimp, 1 tablespoon oil, and 1/4 teaspoon salt in medium bowl. Let shrimp marinate at room temperature 20 minutes. 

2) Heat 4 smashed garlic cloves and remaining 2 tablespoons oil in 12-inch skillet over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, until garlic is light golden brown, 4 to 7 minutes. Remove skillet from heat and use slotted spoon to remove garlic from skillet; discard garlic. Set skillet aside. 

Garlic Shrimp Pasta

3) Bring 4 quarts water to boil in large Dutch oven over high heat. Add 1 tablespoon salt and pasta. Cook until just al dente, then drain pasta, reserving 1/4 cup cooking water, and transfer pasta back to Dutch oven. 
*Note: Dutch oven isn’t 100% necessary – I just used a regular pasta pot

4) While pasta cooks, return skillet with oil to medium heat; add shrimp with marinade to skillet in single layer. Cook shrimp, undisturbed, until oil starts to bubble gently, 1 to 2 minutes. Stir shrimp and continue to cook until almost cooked through, about 1 minute longer. Using slotted spoon, transfer shrimp to medium bowl.

Garlic Shrimp Pasta

5) Add remaining 3 teaspoons minced garlic and pepper flakes to skillet and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute.

6) Add flour and cook, stirring constantly, for 1 minute; stir in vermouth and cook for 1 minute.

Garlic Shrimp Pasta

7) Add clam juice and parsley; cook until mixture starts to thicken, 1 to 2 minutes.

Garlic Shrimp Pasta

8) Take off heat and whisk in butter and lemon juice.

9) Add shrimp and sauce to pasta, adding reserved cooking water if sauce is too thick. Season with black pepper. Serve, passing lemon wedges separately. 

Yum! Garlic and shrimp and pasta – oh my!  The sauce was so good that I actually wished I had used a little less pasta, as to have a better sauce to pasta ratio, so my only suggestion would be to maybe only use 3/4 lb of pasta (so not the entire box)  but that’s just a personal preference. 

Suggested dessert?  Something minty 🙂

However, if you’re eating this with someone else, 2 cases of bad breath cancel each other right out!

Garlic Shrimp Pasta