Apr 05 2011

Classic Italian

Published by at 10:56 pm under Italian,Seafoods


Italian Done Light

At some point between arriving on Ellis Island and making pots full of Marinara, Italian cuisine underwent a makeover. In the old country, it was about the small course of cheese and then pasta leading to the main course whether it was the meat or the seafood. In America, all of that became one heaping dish lathered with as much cheese and sauce as possible. And so now, I find myself asking what am I eating? Sauce and cheese?

I only became familiar with no-fuss Italian cuisine or what I like to call “Classic Italian” at age 19, the night I experienced my first adult date, with exquisite Italian dinner and wine at one of Chicago’s oldest Italian restaurants, Italian Village. Our pre-dinner theater experience (Cabaret, the musical), had us looking our spiffiest and most sophisticated, and therefore, the word “underage” did not even enter our waiter’s mind. So as we sat inside the candle lit niche at our own private table, a playlist of Italian opera filled the air and strings of light hung over our heads against a mural of a star-filled night, reminiscent of a romantic evening at a Tuscan vineyard.

After my soup and salad course, I experienced the most simple pasta dish, linguine dressed in a light wine sauce served with vibrant vegetables served el dente with big beautiful shrimp. It was quietly delicious, subtle with its hints of garlic; it was quite clear: the shrimp was the star and everyone else was the supporting cast.

Tonight I’m going back to classic Italian: Jumbo Shrimp with Linguine and Vegetables

1lb linguine
1 lb shrimp 15-20 ct
1lb broccoli
1 cup sun dried tomatoes
6-8 cremini mushrooms
1 cup white wine (a dry wine you would like to drink)
4 cloves of garlic
1/4 cup parmeggiano reggiano
1 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon seafood seasoning
1/2 teaspoon oregano

On low heat in a small sauce pan add extra virgin olive oil and garlic cloves (whole or minced). Bring a big pot of water to boil and Blanche broccoli for 1 minute (then place broccoli in ice water). Add linguini to boiling water and cook until jet shy of al dente. Reserve one cup of starchy water.
Slice creminis and place in a large sauté pan over medium heat with a tablespoon of olive oil. Add pepper, wait 3 minutes until it browns to add salt. Remove mushrooms. Slice sundried tomatoes, add to sauté pan and cook or 3 minutes until they plump up and soften. Remove tomatoes and add shrimp. Add salt, pepper, and a teaspoon of seafood seasoning and 1/2 teaspoon of oregano. Cook 1 minute on each side over medium high heat. Remove from heat. Deglaze sauté pan with 1 cup of wine, picking up bits from the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon. Lower heat after wine reduces and thickens (about 1 minute). Add linguine, broccoli, sun dried tomatoes, creminis and toss. Then add the garlic infused olive oil (remove cloves of garlic if not minced). Then add the starchy cooking liquid to loosen up the sauce to your liking. Sprinkle with parmeggiano reggiano as you continue to toss.

Serve with white wine. Bon appetito!

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