Fire-Breathing Dragon Pasta with Shrimp and Chicken

Fire-Breathing Dragon Pasta

My inspiration for this super spicy dish was “Fra Diavolo” an Italian dish meaning “Brother Devil” that is traditionally made with tomato sauce spiked with red pepper flakes and seafood, usually shrimp. I took this recipe a step further by also adding chicken and Chipotle peppers into the mix. I was seriously craving spicy food! Extremely spicy food.

A generous dose of chipotles and red pepper flakes went into my homemade tomato sauce to give it rich, bold, and sassy flavor. To add a bit of balance I mixed in milk and sour cream. The result was exactly what I was looking for. Super creamy and spicy enough to cure my craving. The measure of success? The lip tingling and wisps of fire in my breath that temporarily turned me into a dragon. I didn’t name it fire-breathing dragon pasta for nothing. And I mean that in the best way.

Fire-Breathing Dragon Pasta
(by Reeni)(feeds 4-6)
1 Yellow Onion, diced
Olive oil, for sauting
Salt and Pepper to taste
6 cloves Garlic, minced
3 Chipotles in Adobo Sauce, seeds removed, chopped + 1 tablespoon of the Adobo
1 pound boneless, skinless, Chicken Breasts, cut into large cubes
2 teaspoons Italian Seasoning
3 cups good Tomato Sauce
1 teaspoon Red Pepper flakes
1/2 pound medium-sized Shrimp, cleaned with tails off
1 cup Whole Milk or Heavy Cream
1 cup Sour Cream
1 pound Pasta like spaghetti or penne
4 dried Red Chile Peppers
Parmesan, fresh grated, for serving
1. Saute onion in two tablespoons Olive oil in a large, deep-sided skillet or a medium sized saucepan until tender and translucent, season with salt and pepper. Add garlic and saute until fragrant. Add the chipotles, chicken pieces, and Italian seasonings. Season with more salt and pepper. Saute over medium heat turning chicken to sear on all sides.
2. Add the tomato sauce and red pepper flakes. Bring up to a simmer and continue to simmer for ten minutes or until chicken is cooked through. In the meantime cook the pasta to al dente according to package directions and add the dried chiles to the cooking water with the spaghetti.
3. Stir in the shrimp and milk. Slowly add in the sour cream while stirring. Bring to a slow simmer. Simmer until shrimp begin to curl. Remove from heat.
4. Serve over pasta(remove the chiles when draining) with fresh Parmesan cheese.

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Fire-Breathing Dragon Pasta

I’m sending this to Presto Pasta Nights hosted by Deb @ Kahakai Kitchen this week.


Fire-Breathing Dragon Pasta

Shrimp and Green Chile Quiche

Shrimp & Green Chile Quiche

The moment I read the title of this recipe I knew I would be making it. The very same night. It’s so unique and unlike any quiche I’ve ever eaten. For those of you who have never eaten quiche they are French in origin and are essentially a savory egg pie. Eggs and cream along with the star ingredients of your choosing are baked in a buttery pastry. The cream adds a richness and the eggs a light and fluffy quality. I love the mild spicy kick the green Chiles give to this one and the succulent flavor and texture of the shrimp with the creamy, buttery eggs. I can see it on a brunch table as part of a relaxing weekend breakfast. And it was just perfect served with a fresh green salad for dinner. Any time is the right time to serve this delicious quiche!

Shrimp & Green Chile Quiche

Shrimp and Green Chile Quiche
(adapted from Step by Step Cookbook)

Pastry:
2/3 cup all-purpose Flour
1/3 cup Whole Wheat Flour
pinch of Salt
4 tablespoons Butter, cold, diced
2-4 tablespoons cold Water

Filling:
5 eggs, beaten
1/2 cup Milk
1/2 cup Heavy Cream
3 cloves Garlic, minced
1 cup shredded Extra Sharp Cheddar Cheese
3 Green Onions, chopped
1 can (4 oz.) diced Green Chiles
8 ounces medium sized shrimp* tails off
Salt

1. Sift the flour with a pinch of salt into a medium sized mixing bowl or in a food processor pulse once or twice.

2. Cut in the butter using a pastry blender or in a food processor until mixture resembles fine crumbs.

3. Mix in the water gradually until the pastry comes together in a ball.

4. Wrap the pastry well and chill for 30 minutes.

5. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Roll out the pastry on a well-floured surface with a floured rolling pin.

6. Fold the pastry in half and then in half again, transfer to a 9-inch pie or tart dish. Cut away any excess with kitchen shears or by rolling the rolling pin over the top of the dish.

7. Sprinkle the cheese, onion, Chiles, and shrimp over the pastry. In a large bowl beat the eggs, add the milk and cream and beat again just until well incorporated. Mix in the garlic. Pour into pastry.

8. Bake for 50-55 minutes until firm and golden brown. Let set for five minutes before slicing/serving.

*Use fresh shrimp. Frozen will render a soggy, water-laden quiche.

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Shrimp & Green Chile Quiche

Baked Lemon Oregano Orzo and Shrimp

Baked Lemon-Oregano Orzo & Shrimp

This Mediterranean-flavored casserole has been brewing and bubbling in my head for months now. I kept pushing it to the back burner, until finally, with a ton of leftover Orzo sitting in the fridge, I saw the perfect opportunity to make it. Even though I didn’t have a well-planned out recipe, a quick inventory of what I had on hand didn’t disappoint. My counter top was quickly cluttered with a jar of Spanish olives, crumbled Feta, sun-dried tomatoes, lemons, frozen shrimp, onions, and garlic.

This is a fairly simple recipe, most of the work comes from cooking the shrimp and orzo beforehand, and cutting up the rest of the ingredients. Already cooked, frozen shrimp will lighten the load a little, just be sure to thaw them out first. Everything is tossed together and poured into a baking dish where a sunshine of a sauce is poured over top made with Olive oil, oregano, lemon juice, and zest. Seasoned bread crumbs and shredded Parmesan are sprinkled over top to give it a golden crust.
The result? Intensely-flavored, bright, and so delicious! I loved the different flavors dotted throughout; the soft, creamy crumbles of Feta; the briny olives; succulent shrimp; and the sharp, sun-dried hunks of tomato all nestled in between billowy, plumb mounds of orzo. If you love these Mediterranean flavors the way I do than this is just the dish for you!

Baked Lemon-Oregano Orzo & Shrimp

Baked Lemon Oregano Orzo & Shrimp
(by Reeni)(Serves 3-4)
1 small yellow onion, diced
1/2 cup Olive Oil plus extra for sauteing
4 cloves garlic, minced
Sea Salt and fresh Pepper
3-4 cups cooked Orzo pasta
1 pound medium Shrimp, cooked, tails off
1/3 cup Spanish Olives, cut in half
1/3 cup Sun-dried Tomatoes, rough chopped
1 cup crumbled Feta Cheese (4 ounces)
2 lemons, the zest of one, the juice of two
1 teaspoon Oregano, dried
2 tablespoons Bread Crumbs
2-3 tablespoons Parmesan Cheese
1 tablespoon Butter
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Saute the onion in a tablespoon or two of Olive oil in a medium size skillet over medium-low heat until soft and tender. Make a paste out of the minced garlic. Sprinkle with sea salt and on a cutting board drag the flat side of a large knife over it until a paste forms. Add it to the onion, stir and allow it to melt into the onion. Set aside.
To a large bowl add the Orzo, Shrimp, Olives, Tomatoes, Onion mixture, and Feta. Mix carefully. Spray an 8×8 deep-dish casserole pan with baking spray. Add the Orzo mixture to the pan in an even layer.
In a medium bowl add a 1/2 cup Olive oil, the zest of one lemon, the juice* of two lemons, 1/2 teaspoon Sea salt, and 1/4 teaspoon Black Pepper, whisk well and pour evenly over the Orzo mixture.
Sprinkle the Bread Crumbs and Parmesan Cheese evenly over the top. Dice the pat of butter and dot over top.
Bake for 20-25 minutes or until heated through.
*To get the most juice out of the lemons, microwave for 15 seconds and roll against the counter top before juicing.

Baked Lemon-Oregano Orzo & Shrimp

Grilled Corn and Shrimp Cakes

Grilled Corn & Shrimp Cakes

If you like shrimp you will love these delicious cakes. I was craving crab cakes but didn’t have any crab – shrimp worked great as a stand-in. I love shrimp and always have cleaned, cooked, frozen ones on hand for times when I need a quick dinner. These are packed with both shrimp and corn and seasoned well with Old Bay, cilantro and a little cayenne (which can easily be omitted).

Pan-frying them gives them a nice golden crust while leaving the centers soft. I love how the corn ‘pops’ between my teeth. Smoky and sweet all at the same time. The cool aioli is a lovely contrast to the warm, spicy cakes. I had a little trouble getting my cakes to stick together but after refrigerating them and adding a tiny bit of extra bread crumbs they held up. These are a perfect warm weather treat when you don’t want to turn on the oven. Pair them with a fresh salad for a quick meal, or make a wrap/sandwich out of them if your looking for something a bit more substantial.

Grilled Corn & Shrimp Cakes

Grilled Corn & Shrimp Cakes
(by Reeni)

1/2 pound shrimp, cooked, diced small
1 small ear corn, grilled, kernels removed from cob
1/2 cup panko crumbs
1/2 cup seasoned bread crumbs
2 eggs, beaten
1 tablespoon Mayonnaise(like Hellmann’s or Best Foods)
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1/3 cup diced onion
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/3 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped
1 teaspoon Old Bay
1/2 teaspoon Sea salt
1/4 – 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper(optional)

In a large bowl mix all the ingredients together. Refrigerate for 1/2 to 1 hour. Remove from fridge and pat into cakes, using about 1/3 cup of the mixture for each one.

Cook in a large skillet coated with a light coat of oil over medium-low heat about 5 minutes on each side or until golden brown. Serve with aioli.

Aioli

1/3 cup mayonnaise
4 cloves garlic, crushed, then minced
2 teaspoons lemon juice, fresh squeezed

In a small bowl whisk all the ingredients together. Refrigerate until serving.

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Grilled Corn & Shrimp Cakes

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Spicy Honey Walnut Shrimp and Egg Rolls

Spicy Honey Walnut Shrimp w/ Snow Peas

I haven’t been feeling inspired in the kitchen lately. I’ve been kind of lost, just wandering around peeking in cupboards and behind boxes and jars. Kind of like Winnie-the-Pooh when he woke up and couldn’t find his hunny pot.
I could blame it on the weather. I naturally gravitate toward heavier comfort food that isn’t always appealing during the summer. My garden was a great source of inspiration last summer. I’m sure it will be the same again, but it will be a while before I harvest any rewards from it. Meanwhile I’m waiting for the lightning bolt of inspiration to hit and drive away this foggy, uncertain thinking. I’m hoping I find my kitchen magic again, and soon, like Winnie-the-pooh who eventually, after some searching, found his missing hunny pot.

I have wanted to make honey walnut shrimp for a long time. Well, kind of. What stopped me before was it seemed to be a one-note dish; sweet shrimp with crunchy walnuts and little else to flavor it. Very delicious but I wanted more. Given my current state of mind this was perfect. Unfussy. Unpretentious.

I added red chilies for a little heat and snow peas for nutrition’s sake. The mayonnaise and condensed milk make it seem like a heavy dish, but it isn’t at all. It’s light and the thick, creamy, smooth sauce is sweet and nicely spiced. I served the shrimp over salad greens but craved rice when I was eating. Rice would have been more satisfying and been a nice texture to include with the succulent shrimp and crispy walnuts. And did I mention the egg rolls? Another first for me. The filling was made from shrimp, cabbage and for a nice bit of crunch – water chestnuts. They were little packages of lightly-fried, golden-brown goodness.

Spicy Honey Walnut Shrimp w/ Snow Peas

Spicy Honey Walnut Shrimp
(by Reeni)
For the walnuts:
1 cup walnut halves
1 teaspoon vegetable oil
1 tablespoon honey
Pinch of Sea or Kosher salt
 For the shrimp:
1/2 cup mayonnaise (like Hellmann’s or Best Foods)
2 tablespoons honey
1 tablespoon sweetened condensed milk or heavy cream
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1 pound shrimp, cleaned
cornstarch
1 tablespoon vegetable/Canola oil
1 cup snow peas
2 small red Chile peppers, diced or cayenne pepper
Salad greens or rice, for serving
1. Toast the walnuts in a dry saute pan on low-medium heat for about five minutes. In separate bowl whisk the oil and honey together. Pour over the walnuts, toss, and saute another five minutes. Remove and spread on parchment. Sprinkle with salt.
2. In a large bowl whisk the mayo, honey, condensed milk, and lemon juice. Set aside.
3. In a large saute pan or wok heat the oil over medium heat. Saute the peppers for a 2-3 minutes. Sprinkle about a teaspoon of cornstarch over the shrimp and toss to coat. Add the shrimp and snow peas to the pan . Saute until shrimp start to curl. Remove from heat and add the shrimp to the bowl with the mayonnaise mixture. Toss until shrimp is coated well. Serve over salad greens or rice. Top with walnuts.

Shrimp Egg Rolls

Shrimp Egg Rolls
(by Reeni)
2 tablespoons Canola or Vegetable oil, plus more for frying
3 cloves garlic, minced
1-inch piece of ginger, minced
2 cups cabbage, shredded
3/4 cup carrot, shredded
1/4 cup bamboo shoots, thinly sliced
1 cup Water chestnuts, chopped
1/2 pound shrimp, chopped
1/3 cup green onion, chopped
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon rice vinegar
8 egg roll wrappers
1 egg, beaten
1. In a large saute pan add the oil, garlic, ginger, cabbage, carrot and bamboo shoots. Saute for about ten minutes until cabbage softens. Add the water chestnuts, shrimp, soy sauce and rice vinegar. Saute until shrimp are cooked. Remove from heat and let cool slightly.
2. Keep a moist cloth over the wrappers and the egg rolls to prevent them from drying out. To fill place a wrapper with a corner facing you – like a diamond shape. Place about a 1/3 cup or so of the filling in the middle of the wrapper. Roll the corner closest to you over the filling. Brush the top corner with egg wash. Fold in the sides of the wonton and continue rolling the egg roll up until it is closed. Press to seal, using a little egg wash.
3. Fry 3-4 at a time in 2 inches of oil until golden brown, turning them with tongs. Drain on paper towels.
Dipping Sauce (great with dumplings, too)
1 teaspoon sesame seeds
1/3 cup soy sauce
1/3 cup rice vinegar
1 tablespoon honey
1 to 2 teaspoons sesame oil
Pinch of red pepper
1. Toast the sesame seeds over low-medium heat in a dry skillet until lightly golden brown. Set aside to cool.
2. Whisk the rest of the ingredients together in a small bowl. Add the cooled sesame seeds.

Spicy Honey Walnut Shrimp w/ Snow Peas

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Lemon Garlic Shrimp with Parmesan Polenta and Grilled Romaine

Lemon-Garlic Shrimp w/ Parmesan Polenta & Grilled Romaine

Gremolata was my inspiration for this dish. A gremolata is an uncooked condiment made up of finely minced garlic, parsley and lemon zest. Traditionally it is served over Ossobucco alla Milanese, an Italian dish of braised veal shank. The mission of the gremolata is to wake up and brighten the flavors in a dish. It livens up heavy meat dishes and works wonderful as a garnish for seafood, fish and vegetables.

This recipe comes together quickly and everything goes well together. Grilling the romaine gave it a unique, earthy taste. The shrimp are tender, succulent, and vibrantly fresh-tasting with the gremolata. The velvety Polenta was wildly fragrant from the fresh rosemary and had a little bite from the Parmesan that complimented the shrimp and romaine. It melted in my mouth. The shrimp and romaine would make a great meal on their own. The shrimp served over rice or pasta would be equally delicious. The shrimp is the real star of the show here. If you’re a shrimp lover than this one’s for you!

Lemon-Garlic Shrimp w/ Parmesan Polenta & Grilled Romaine

Lemon Garlic Shrimp and Parmesan Polenta with Grilled Romaine
(by Reeni)

2 Romaine heart bunches, each heart cut into thirds or quarters, lengthwise
1 cup Polenta(long-cooking) or cornmeal*
2 tablespoons fresh Rosemary, rough chopped
2 tablespoons Butter
1 cup fresh shredded Parmesan or Romano
1 yellow onion, diced
olive oil for sauteing
4 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup white wine(optional)**
1/4 cup fresh parsley, rough-chopped
lemon peel, fresh grated from 2 lemons
1 and 1/2 pounds Shrimp, medium or large, cleaned
Parmesan, for serving

Cook the Polenta according to package directions. Turn off heat and stir in the rosemary, butter and Parmesan.

For the shrimp:

To a large skillet or saute pan add the oil and onion. Cook over low heat until translucent.

Add garlic and saute for two to three more minutes. **If using wine add it now and bring to a simmer. If not using wine add a tablespoon of olive oil. Then add the parsley, lemon peel and shrimp all at once. Saute until shrimp turn pink and curl up.

For the Romaine:

Grill the Romaine bunches briefly in a grill pan, on your outside grill or on a George Foreman grill. Sear each side. You don’t want to cook it through until it is limp.

To assemble:

Place a few spoons of Polenta on a plate, a Romaine bunch on top and then the shrimp. Serve with extra Parmesan.

*A regular grind cornmeal can be substituted.

Cornmeal Polenta

1 cup cornmeal
8 cups water
1/2 teaspoon Sea salt

In a large, deep pan over high heat bring water and Sea salt to a boil. Gradually stir in cornmeal.

Reduce heat and simmer very gently, stirring frequently, use a long handled spoon, mixture may bubble, for about 35 minutes.

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Lemon-Garlic Shrimp w/ Parmesan Polenta & Grilled Romaine

Spicy Barbecue Shrimp and Cheddar Cheese Polenta

Spicy Barbecue Shrimp & Cheddar Cheese Polenta

This a spicy Shrimp and Polenta recipe that is fairly quick and easy to make but will really impress. Polenta is made from ground yellow or white cornmeal and slowly cooked rendering a smooth and creamy texture. This recipe has a generous amount of Extra Sharp Cheddar melted into it and a bit of butter that makes it rich and decadent.

The shrimp are sautéed in a trinity of onion, green pepper, and garlic and are infused with a fiery Creole seasoning and barbecue sauce. The contrast between the textures and flavors of the intensely hot, succulent shrimp and the cool, velvety polenta is indescribably delicious. Blissful.

Spicy Barbecue Shrimp & Cheddar Cheese Polenta
(by Reeni)
1 cup Polenta
1 yellow onion, diced
1 green pepper, sliced in thin strips
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons Olive oil
1-2 tablespoons Creole seasoning, depending on how hot you like it (Emeril’s Creole/Bayou
Blast seasoning or recipe to follow)
1 and 1/ 2 cups Barbecue Sauce (like Jack Daniels)
1 and 1/2 pounds of medium or large shrimp, cleaned
2 tablespoons Butter
2 cups Extra Sharp Cheddar Cheese, shredded
1. Cook Polenta according to package directions.
2. While the Polenta is cooking saute the onion, green pepper, and seasoning in oil in a large
saute pan on low heat until tender. Add garlic and saute until fragrant.
3. Turn heat up to medium-high and add barbecue sauce and shrimp. Cook until shrimp start to curl. Remove from heat.
4. When the Polenta is finished cooking add the butter and cheddar whisking until melted.
5. Serve the shrimp over a generous helping of Polenta.
Seasoning Mix
(adapted from Emeril)
1 tablespoon Paprika
1 teaspoon Salt
1 teaspoon Garlic powder
1 teaspoon black pepper
1 and ½ teaspoon onion powder
2 teaspoons cayenne or 1 and 1/2 teaspoon Peperoncino
1 and ½ teaspoon oregano
1 and ½ teaspoon thyme
Mix well in a small bowl. Store in a covered container.

Spicy Barbecue Polenta & Cheddar Cheese Polenta

Fiery Hot Shrimp Alfredo

Fiery Shrimp Alfredo

This is a fiery hot recipe for Shrimp Alfredo that uses Emeril’s home made Creole Seasoning mix paired with a light Alfredo Sauce. The fiery spice mix pushes a simple, creamy Alfredo to its limit. My taste buds not only sat up, they took notice.

This is a light version of Alfredo that replaces most of the cream with whole milk (a lower fat milk would separate/curdle) but doesn’t skimp on any of the creaminess. Italian sausage would be excellent in it too.

Have you heard of that silly old rule that says you should never use cheese on seafood? I don’t like it! Who made that one up anyway? Which reminds me: don’t ever try to take the Parmesan shaker away from an Italian girl. Someone may get hurt. Seriously.

Fiery Shrimp Alfredo

Fiery Shrimp Alfredo
(by Reeni)
1 pound shrimp*, deveined, tails off
Seasoning mix (recipe to follow, or use Emeril’s Essence Creole/Bayou Blast seasoning)
8 ounces angel hair(like Barilla)
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon Olive oil
1 and ½ cups whole milk
½ cup heavy cream
1 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano, plus extra for serving
2 tablespoons Butter
1 tablespoon fresh parsley, chopped
Marinate the shrimp in half of the seasoning mix or 2 tablespoons of Emeril’s Creole seasoning in the fridge for 45 minutes.
Cook pasta to al dente according to package directions. If pasta is done before sauce is ready toss drained pasta with a tablespoon of butter or olive oil to prevent sticking.
In the meantime, prepare sauce. Sauté the garlic in the olive oil on low heat in a deep sauté pan for two-three minutes. Add milk and heavy cream, turn heat up to medium and bring just to a simmer. Add shrimp and the rest of the seasoning mix, simmer until the shrimp curl up and turn pink. Sprinkle in cheese and add butter. Stir until butter melts, turn off heat.
Add cooked pasta to the sauce and toss, sauce will be thin but will thicken up as it cools. Sprinkle parsley over the top. Serve with extra Parmigiano
*Italian sausage would be delicious too. Slice up a few and sauté them until cooked in the saute pan your going to make the sauce in. Then proceed with the sauce-making instructions. You could leave them in the pan or remove to a plate. Add back in with the shrimp.
Creole Seasoning Mix
(adapted from Emeril)
1 tablespoon Paprika
1 teaspoon Salt
1 teaspoon Garlic powder
1 teaspoon black pepper
1 and ½ teaspoon onion powder
1 and ½ teaspoon cayenne or 1 teaspoon Peperoncino
1 and ½ teaspoon oregano
1 and ½ teaspoon thyme
Mix well in a small bowl. Use half to marinade the shrimp and the rest gets added to the sauce.

Fiery Shrimp Alfredo