Monday, November 15, 2010

Pasta with Shrimp, White Beans, Garlic & Parmesan

Adapted from Cook’s Illustrated Magazine, November 2008 issue
Serves 4
 Shrimp Pasta & Sliced Ciabatta
1 1/2 pounds large (31-40 per pound) shrimp
6 medium-sized garlic cloves, peeled
1 Tbl plus 2 Tbl extra-virgin olive oil, divided
1 pound short, tubular pasta (I used mezze-rigatoni)
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
2 tsp all-purpose flour
1/2 cup dry white wine
3/4 cup clam juice
one 15-oz can Great Northern white beans, drained and thoroughly rinsed
1/2 cup freshly grated parmesan (finely grated to a powder-like consistency), plus another
     1/2 cup or so (grated on the small holes of a box grater) for passing at the table
3 Tbl unsalted butter
1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley leaves
2 tsp lemon juice
kosher salt & freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Peel the shells and tails off of the shrimp.  Be careful not to rip off the entire tail while you’re removing the shell – An intact tail makes for a much prettier shrimp.   

De-vein the shrimp (i.e. remove the intestinal tract).  Use a paring knife to make a shallow slice along the center of the outer edge of the shrimp.  This will expose the dark grey ‘vein’ running along the length of the shrimp.  Scrape it out with the knife.  (You may not even have to do this.  Many times shrimp is already de-veined when you buy it.  If it hasn’t been de-veined, the outer edge of the shrimp will be intact, and you’ll see the vein just below the surface.  If it has been de-veined, a tell-tale slice will run down the edge of the shrimp.) 

Finely minced two of the garlic cloves and set aside.  Smash the remaining four garlic cloves with the broad side of a chef knife. 
In a medium-sized mixing bowl, toss the prepped shrimp with the minced garlic, 1 Tbl olive oil, and a good pinch of kosher salt.  Let marinate at room temperature for about half an hour, or in the refrigerator for up to four hours. 
In a very-large skillet, heat the four smashed gloves and the remaining 2 Tbl olive oil over medium-low heat, stirring frequently, until the garlic is light golden brown and fragrant, about 5 to 7 minutes.  Turn off the heat, and using a slotted spoon, remove the garlic from the skillet.  Set aside the skillet, and discard the garlic. 
Bring a large pot of salted water to a rolling boil over high heat.  Cook until just tender, then drain the pasta in a colander, reserving 1/4 cup of the cooking water.  Transfer the cooked pasta back to the pot.
While the pasta cooks, place the skillet with the garlic-flavored oil over medium heat, and let sit for 1 minute.  Add the shrimp with its marinade to the pan, arranging it in a single layer if possible.  (If not possible, you’ll have to cook the shrimp in two batches.)  Cook the shrimp, undisturbed, until the shrimp starts to turn pink around the top edges, about 1-2 minutes.  Flip over the shrimp and continue to cook about 1 minute longer.  Using a slotted spoon, transfer the shrimp to a medium bowl. 
Add the red pepper flakes to the skillet and cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, for 1 minute.  Add the flour and cook, stirring constantly, for 1 minute.  Stir in the white wine and cook, stirring frequently, for 1 minute more.  Add the clam juice and drained beans.  Cook until the sauce starts to thicken, about 2 to 3 minutes.  Add the half cup of finely grated parmesan and stir until melted into the sauce, about 3o seconds.  Turn off the heat, then stir in the butter, parsley and lemon juice. 
Add the shrimp and sauce to the pasta in the large cooking pot, and stir to combine.  Add the reserved cooking water if the sauce is too thick.  Season with salt and pepper, to taste.
Serve hot.  Pass with the extra grated parmesan around the table.