Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Scampi Rockefeller {...more cooking with Absinthe}

I mentioned the other day that I've been experimenting with absinthe in the kitchen.  This dish is another product of those experiments.  A close favorite to the salmon in that initial post, actually.  It's a riff on two classics - Scampi with it's garlicky butter sauce and the absinthe and "green" of (Oysters) Rockefeller.  

Combined, they make one of those dishes that I can just keep on eating... without feeling guilty.
It's light and fresh, yet altogether satisfying with the strands of angel hair pasta that twist their way over and around the plump, pink shrimp.  I've been so pleasantly surprised at how well that light, black-licorice flavor of absinthe plays up not only the tarragon in any dish... but also butter.  I mean, I'm not one to shy away from butter sauces anyway, but when absinthe and butter make a date and get saucy, it's a little bit like the heavens have opened up and sent out a warm, enveloping breeze on a mild, summer's day.

You know, if you like that kind of thing.

Scampi Rockefeller

by Heather Schmitt-González
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 15-20 minutes
Keywords: entree absinthe pasta shrimp garlic American

Ingredients (serves 2)
  • 4 oz. uncooked angel hair pasta
  • 2 Tbs. unsalted butter
  • 5 scallions, thinly sliced
  • 6 cloves garlic, minced
  • big pinch crushed red chile flakes
  • 12 oz. large shrimp, peeled & deveined
  • ¼ c. Absinthe
  • 1 Tbs. white wine vinegar
  • 4 oz. baby spinach
  • ¼ c. chopped, fresh tarragon
  • salt
  • freshly ground pepper
  • Jalapeño Tabasco (the green kind)
  • freshly grated Parmesan cheese
Instructions
Bring a pot of water to a boil for the pasta. Salt it generously and add the pasta. Cook for 4 minutes, or until al dente.

In the meantime (while your water is coming to a boil and the pasta is cooking), heat butter in a large, deep-sided pan. Add scallions, garlic, and crushed red chile flakes. Sauté until soft and fragrant, stirring, 1-2 minutes.

Add shrimp and continue to sauté until they begin to turn pink, ~3 minutes. Carefully pour in the absinthe and white wine vinegar and allow to bubble up and cook for 30 seconds. Toss in spinach and sauté until wilted, 1-2 minutes longer.

Drain pasta, reserving ⅓ cup of the cooking water. Add pasta and reserved cooking water to the pan along wtih the tarragon, stirring to combine. Season to taste with salt, pepper, and a few good dashes of the Tabasco. Remove from heat.

Serve with freshly grated Parmesan over the top and the bottle of Tabasco on the side.
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