Shrimp Alfredo: You can do it better at home
As regular readers know, the manner in which we break crisply from the political routine is to cook something. Today, it’s Shrimp Alfredo. This is one of those dishes that people often order in restaurants because they think it’s too much hassle to make it at home. But it’s not. It’s easy, really good – and you can whip it up from scratch in not much more time that it would take you to make a frozen pizza.
Here’s all you need:
- 1/4 cup butter (that’s a half stick)
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 1 clove garlic, crushed
- 1-1/2 cups freshly grated Parmesan cheese
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
- 1 lb. of raw shrimp
- 1 lb. of pasta (I like linguini, but I used angel hair pasta this time)
A food processor works really well to grate the Parmesan cheese because manually grating a cup and a half of it is rather tedious. Put it in a bowl and set it aside. Chop up the parsley with a chef knife and leave it at the ready.
Boil some water to make your pasta. I like to toss a little salt in the water, but not too much. It’s nice if you can time this so that you’re draining your pasta about the time you’re ready to stir it into the Alfredo sauce.
While you’re waiting for the water to boil, you can prepare the shrimp. The reason I like raw shrimp is because they taste better and they provide more flavor to the dish. Peel the shrimp and cook them hot and fast in with a thin coating of olive oil seasoned with a bit of garlic in a large skillet. This only takes about three minutes, turning them about halfway through. Set the shrimp aside in a bowl, but don’t clean the pan (because that’s flavor in there!) Melt your half stick of butter and then add the cream. We’re going to bring this to a boil and then back it off to simmer around five minutes. It will reduce a bit and I give it an occasional stir to keep it from scalding. After it has simmered, stir in the chopped parsley and the crushed garlic.
Now, we’re ready to stir in the cheese. You want to do this with a whisk so you can mix it in as you add it, allowing the cheese to melt into the simmering cream. Your Alfredo sauce may reach the consistency you want before the last of your cheese has been melted in. That’s great, because it will leave you some grated cheese to sprinkle over the top of your finished creation.
Drain the pasta and toss it in the Alfredo sauce until it is thoroughly coated. You can add the shrimp at the very end or you can add them as you toss the pasta. Plate your servings and sprinkle a little grated Parmesan on top. Voila
TIP: There are obvious ways to cut corners, such as using pre-grated cheese, purchasing pre-cooked shrimp, or substituting garlic powder and dried parsley flakes. Just remember that the fresher your ingredients, the better your final result is likely to be. The great chefs pride themselves in using fresh ingredients and you should, too.
Crack open a chilled bottle of white Bordeaux or Chardonnay and bon appetite!