Shrimp Jambalaya

One of the most fitting ways to celebrate Mardi Gras is with this hearty, bold-flavored specialty of New Orléans featuring shrimp and spicy sausage.

A gradual layering of flavors starts with pan-fried bacon and chorizo sausage followed by the holy trinity of onion, bell pepper and celery. Sautéed in the same pan, they pick up all the savory, browned bits of flavor clinging to the bottom…. 

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Coconut Shrimp with Spicy Orange Dipping Sauce

Fried shrimp coated in coconut flakes and panko crumbs straight from the fryer make me slightly weak in the knees. Biting through the crusty coating into the steaming-hot, succulent shrimp trapped underneath makes me deliriously happy.

The deceptively sweet orange marmalade sauce carries a surprise hint of heat that is a perfect counterbalance for all of the savory sweetness going on…. 

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Shrimp and String Bean Pesto Pasta

I can’t get this meal out of my mind. I blame the walnut pesto sauce. The plump, sweet shrimp. The fresh, tender string beans. And  the chewy, rotini pasta. Because one humble ingredient can cause a meal to be entirely unforgettable but the sum of its parts deserve credit too…. 

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Athenos Feta Cheese Prize Pack Giveaway: What Would Yiayia Say?

I spend excessive amounts of time glued to my computer screen. For long stretches of time. I shop. I blog. I socialize. I search for recipes. All of which Yiayia disapproves.

Athenos Yiayia is the quintessential traditional Greek grandmother. … 

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Lemon Garlic Shrimp Scampi with Kale and Polenta

Lemon Garlic Shrimp Scampi with Kale and Polenta

Butter, lemon and garlic show-off the natural sweetness of shrimp in this simple but satisfying meal. The succulent shrimp is served on a bed of fresh kale and soft, creamy polenta spiked with salty Parmesan. It’s a meal that comes together pretty quickly and never fails to please.

I find a special kind of enjoyment in eating one-dish meals like this where the sum of all the parts equals a delicious symphony of flavors that only comes from scooping up a little bit of everything in each bite. It’s immensely fulfilling and completely comforting.

To soften the hearty kale leaves massage olive oil into them and allow them to sit for 10-15 minutes before cooking. It softens the tough leaves considerably and helps to take away some of the bitterness they might have. Fresh spinach leaves or another type of green can easily be used in place of the kale using the same technique (skip this step if using spinach).

If you can’t find polenta or have cornmeal on hand for making cornbread – use it! The two are exactly the same, the only difference being that ‘polenta’ is sometimes cut coarser. The end result will be the same. You can use grits too, if you like!

Lemon Garlic Shrimp Scampi with Kale and Polenta

Lemon Garlic Shrimp Scampi with Kale and Polenta
(loosely adapted from Food Network Magazine)
4-5 cups fresh kale or spinach leaves
1-2 tablespoons olive oil
1 cup polenta or cornmeal
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, grated, plus additional for serving
4 tablespoons butter, divided
sea or kosher salt and fresh ground black pepper
4 large cloves garlic, minced
1 1/4 pounds medium shrimp, peeled and deveined, tails removed
pinch of cayenne pepper (optional)
juice of 1/2 lemon, plus wedges for serving 
2 tablespoons fresh parsley, rough chopped

1. Add the kale leaves to a large bowl, drizzle 1-2 tablespoon olive oil over top, using your hands massage the oil into each leaf. Set aside for at least 10 minutes.

2. Cook polenta according to package directions, when cooked stir in parmesan and butter, season to taste with salt and pepper, put a lid on it to keep warm

2. Meanwhile heat a large skillet over medium-low heat, add the kale and saute until wilted and tender, remove kale and set aside, cover to keep warm.

3. Season the shrimp with salt and pepper. Melt the remaining 2 tablespoons butter in the skillet over medium heat, add the shrimp, garlic and cayenne, if using, and cook, tossing, until the shrimp are pink, 3 to 4 minutes. Remove from heat and add the lemon juice and parsley, toss to coat the shrimp. Season with salt and pepper.

4. To serve layer with polenta on the bottom, followed by kale, then shrimp along with lemon wedges and extra Parmesan.

Lemon Garlic Shrimp with Kale and Polenta

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Pasta with Winter Squash and Shrimp

Pasta with Winter Squash and Shrimp

I can think of no better way to welcome in fall than with this pasta tossed in squash ‘sauce’ with shrimp, garlic and basil. When my eyes fell upon the glorious piles of multi-colored winter squash newly laid out in the market I did a little happy dance right then and there. I love this small window of time when the seasonal produce available overlaps. Farm fresh zucchini and butternut all in the same shopping trip? Life is good.

The sweet and salty sauce is made with roasted butternut and acorn squash pureed with Parmesan cheese and light heavy cream or milk. You have total control over the consistency of the sauce. Thin or thick, smooth or chunky, you decide. There’s a chance you may be thinking that shrimp and squash are weird together, but don’t. Because they’re not. The shrimp are pan-fried with garlic and then everything is tossed together with fresh basil for a well rounded meal that’s a cinch to make.

The acorn squash colors the sauce so that it mimics mac and cheese. It’s tricky. Mild-flavored, rich and creamy, with chewy pasta and succulent shrimp, this is a near perfect bowl of pasta to curl up with on a crisp fall night.

Pasta with Winter Squash and Shrimp

Pasta with Winter Squash and Shrimp
(adapted from Giada De Laurentiis)

1 small butternut squash, halved, cleaned of seeds
1 small acorn squash, halved, cleaned of seeds
3 tablespoons olive oil, plus 3 tablespoons
sea or kosher salt and fresh ground pepper
4 garlic cloves, minced
12 ounces pasta (like barila whole grain rotini or penne)
3/4 pound medium shrimp, peeled, deveined, tails off
1 cup light heavy cream or milk, plus more if needed
1/4 cup Parmesan, plus more for serving
1/4 cup chopped fresh basil leaves

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Place squash cut side up, drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Bake until fork tender. The acorn squash might cook quicker, remove carefully to a plate and set aside.

2.  When cool enough to handle scoop out the squash and add it to a blender of a large food processor. Add the cream and Parmesan, puree until smooth. Add as much milk as needed for a nice creamy consistency, as thin or as thick as you like. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

3. Cook the pasta in plenty of salted water to al dente according to package directions.

4. Meanwhile in a large skillet heat 2-3 tablespoon olive oil over medium-low heat. Add garlic, carefully add prawns, season with salt and pepper and cook until pink, tossing a few times, about 3 minutes, depending on size. Remove from heat.

5. Drain the pasta and add back to the pan along with the squash, prawns and basil. Toss well over low heat, adding more cream if needed. Serve immediately.

Printable Recipe

Pasta with Winter Squash and Shrimp

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What do you like best about fall? Let me know in your comment.


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