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SPQR: Modern Italian Food and Wineby Shelley Lindgren
Spaghetti with Shrimp and Tomato Passatina
This is a pasta born from my experience of con niente, a meal created from nothing more than the few ingredients we managed to find around us. With this pasta, I’ve striven to recreate the simplicity of the meal we made at Roberto’s casone on the lagoon. The shrimp—gamberetti—were simply cooked with tomato, then sent through a food mill, shells and all. This rich, pink sauce became the condimento for the store-bought spaghetti that Roberto had on hand.
serves 4 to 6
extra virgin olive oil
150 grams / 1/2 yellow onion, finely diced
12 grams / 3 garlic cloves, minced
150 grams / 1 carrot, cut into 1/4-inch pieces
454 grams / 1 pound shell-on raw baby shrimp
kosher salt and black pepper
a pinch of dried red pepper flakes
115 grams / 1/2 cup white wine
240 grams / 11/2 cups canned tomatoes
50 grams / 4 breadsticks, like grissini, broken up
2 grams / 2 teaspoons chopped parsley
340 grams / 12 ounces fresh spaghetti (page 264) or dried
Heat a thin film of olive oil in a large, wide pot over medium heat. Stir in the onion and sweat until softened, 3 minutes. Stir in the garlic and sweat 1 to 2 minutes more until aromatic. Add the carrot and sweat until softened, 3 to 4 minutes.
Turn up the heat to medium-high, stir in the shrimp, and season with salt, pepper, and pepper flakes. Pour in the wine and bring to a simmer. Stir in the tomato and return to a simmer. Pour in 1 cup of water, lower the heat, and cook for 8 to 10 minutes or until the shrimp are soft enough to break up with a wooden spoon if pressed. Stir the broken grissini pieces into the pot, remove from the heat, and stir in the parsley.
Place a food mill fitted with a coarse plate over a clean pot. In batches, pass the shrimp and broth through the food mill. You will have a coarse paste. (If it’s too dry to go through the food mill, stir in more water). Taste the shrimp paste and season with salt and pepper.
Bring a pot of salted water to a boil. Cook the spaghetti for 4 minutes if using fresh, and as directed on the package if using dry. Drain the spaghetti, reserving a cup of pasta water, and return the spaghetti to the pasta pot. Stir spoonfuls of the shrimp paste into the spaghetti until evenly coated, adding a few spoonfuls of water if the pasta looks dry, and simmer for one more minute before serving.
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