"Cooking is like love. It should be entered into with abandon or not at all." ~Harriet van Horne


Estella's Pasta with Shrimp and Tomatoes

Published by: Kathy

  • Jul
  • 24

While cleaning out a drawer in my desk, I came across a folder with several recipes that I have never prepared.

Some of the recipes I found, I have eaten, but never prepared.  There was one recipe in particular, that I have heard about, but never tasted.  The recipe was for Shrimp and Angel Hair Pasta.  The recipe was hand-written and given to me by my friend, Rita’s mother-in-law, Estella.  (Everyone just calls her, “Stella”)  Through the years, Stella has been kind enough to share several of her recipes with me…Two of them were “cookbook worthy” and can be found on pages 62 and 83 of my book.  One of those recipes is titled “Estella’s Angel Hair Pasta with Tomatoes”.  The recipe I found, which incudes shrimp, is a variation of the other recipe.  There is some debate as to which recipe came first, but there is no arguing that both are to die for!   Rita tells me that Stella prepares this shrimp pasta dish on Christmas Eve, as her offering for the Feast of the Seven Fishes, (an Italian tradition.) and everyone raves about it.   I knew Monday, when I found the recipe, that this would be my Sunday dinner.  I served it with a salad and garlic bread…YUM!

The pasta was amazing!  It was very simple to make and ready to serve in an hour.  The sauce was light, yet full of flavor.  The shrimp were the perfect addition to turn this dish into a complete meal.  I can actually visualize adding scallops and mussells the next time I make it and turning it into a Seafood Pasta.

As usual, I tweaked the recipe, just a tad…My husband is not a fan of angel hair pasta.  It’s tricky to prepare and turns in to a ball of mush if you let it sit too long.  I agreed, and I made standard spaghetti noodles instead.  I also added crushed red pepper flakes for a little kick and cooked the sauce longer than the recipe called for.  It was perfection!


Estella’s Pasta with Shrimp and Tomatoes

  • 1  lb. spaghetti noodles (feel free to use Angel Hair if you like)
  • 1  1/4  lb. uncooked shrimp, peeled, deveined, with tails removed
  • 1/3  c. extra virgin olive oil
  • 6  cloves of garlic, minced
  • 2   (14.5-oz) cans petite diced tomatoes
  • 5  green onions, chopped
  • 1/2  c. dry white wine (I used sherry)
  • 1/4  tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
  • 6-8  fresh basil leaves, chopped
  • Salt and pepper to taste

In a large skillet, over medium heat, saute olive oil and garlic; cook for 2-3 minutes, stirring constantly to avoid burning the garlic.  Add tomatoes, green onions, wine, red pepper flakes and basil.  Bring sauce to a simmer, stirring frequently, then reduce heat to low.  Simmer for 45 minutes.  Add the shrimp to the sauce, stir and cook for 4-5 minutes, turning the shrimp to cook on both sides.  The shrimp will be pink when they are cooked.  Season the sauce with salt and pepper to suit your taste buds. 

While the sauce is cooking, cook your spaghetti according to the directions on the package.  Cook al dente.  Drain cooked pasta and combine with sauce.  Toss well, making sure to coat all the pasta.  Sprinkle with parmesan or romano cheese and more chopped fresh basil.  Makes 4-5 servings.





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Shrimp Etouffee

Published by: Kathy

  • May
  • 21

I have always loved eating Creole or Cajun food and will order it every chance I get.

There is a depth of flavor, unique to that cuisine, that I can’t compare to anything I have ever eaten…including my beloved Cuban fare.  One of my favorite dishes is Shrimp or Crawfish Étouffée.  “Étouffée” is a Cajun dish typically served with shellfish or chicken over rice and is similar to gumbo. (In french the word “étouffée” means “smothered”.)  When I decided to try making it at home, I immediately went to a tiny 64-page cookbook that I purchased years ago on my first trip to New Orleans.  I found a recipe for Crawfish Étouffée that looked pretty good.  Never happy to settle on one recipe, I went to the internet looking for some other options.  My research led me to a dilemma…To roux or not to roux??  The recipe in my Louisiana cookbook, did not call for a roux; it was thickened by the addition of cornstarch at the end of the cooking period.  However, the other recipes I came across started with the making of a roux.  That settled it, I was going to do this right…roux, it is!  Then the question became, “what color should the roux be, (i.e, peanut butter, caramel, dark brown-red) to give the most authentic flavor to my étouffée”?  Should I use butter or vegetable oil as my base?  Well, I finally settled on a “caramel” colored roux with a butter base.   Also, all the recipes I looked at used different liquid elements…chicken broth, clam juice, shrimp stock (made from scratch using shrimp heads), etc.  I took a chance and bought ready-made seafood stock (found in the soup isle of the grocery store) and picked a winner.  It worked great!   When it was all said and done, I had mixed and matched the components of two different recipes, to arrive at my interpretation of “Shrimp Étouffée”.  I have made it twice so far, and the results were incredible both times.


( Spicy Dish!)

  • 6 T.  butter
  • ½  c. all-purpose flour
  • 1  c. yellow onion, chopped
  • ¾  c.  green bell pepper, chopped
  • 1  c. celery, chopped
  • 3  cloves garlic, finely minced
  • 1  t. black pepper
  • ½  tsp. cayenne pepper
  • 1  tsp. Cajun seasoning
  • ½  c. green onions plus extra for garnish, chopped
  • ½  c. fresh parsley, chopped
  • 3  c. seafood stock
  • 1  (14.5-ounce) can diced tomatoes
  • 1  bay leaf
  • 1  tsp. salt
  • 2 pounds medium shrimp, peeled, deveined and with tail removed
  • Cooked white rice, for serving

In a large Dutch oven melt the butter over medium heat.  Add the flour and stir to make a roux.  Stir the roux continuously and cook until the color of caramel, 10-15 minutes, being careful not to burn.  Add the onions, green pepper, celery and garlic to the roux and cook, stirring often, until vegetables are limp.  Add the black pepper, cayenne pepper, Cajun seasoning, ½ cup of green onions, fresh parsley, seafood stock, diced tomatoes, bay leaf and salt.  Bring the mixture to a boil, reduce the heat to low and simmer for 45 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Add shrimp and stir. It should take 3-5 minutes for the shrimp to cook.  DON’T OVER COOK!   Serve over cooked white rice and garnish with chopped green onions.  Serves 5-6.  


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