Spaghetti with Shrimp and Arugula

The weather is supposedly turning warmer, the sun is supposed to be coming out…. but… it’s not!  Apparently we’re now paying for our beautiful Winter Olympic weather in January and February with a rainy, chilly June. 

But, the days are definitely longer and I am feeling ready for summery, light food! 

I was perusing my cookbooks, looking for a quick, light pasta dish, and I stumbled upon this recipe in Jamie’s Italy.  It’s quick, simple and it tastes delicious!  I had some for lunch the next day, and it was pretty good (of course, a light pasta dish with shrimp is truly best right after it’s made).

Arugula is a delicious, slightly bitter green.  It’s native to the eastern Mediterranean region (I looked it up on Wikipedia!).  I first had arugula in Florence, Italy this summer.  It was on this beautiful light tortellini dish covered with good quality olive oil, cherry tomatoes, arugula and shaved Parmesan cheese.  It was one of the best dishes I have ever had, and since then, the sight of arugula transports me right back!

My amazing Florentine dinner!

In Italy, people eat dinner late.  Most restaurants don’t even open until 8:00pm, when it’s cooler outside.  These restaurants are typically tiny, and so they set out tables and chairs right on the sidewalk or on the street!  Talk about sidewalk dining!  It’s a fantastic experience!  One day, I hope to recreate the amazing meal I had in Florence, but, tonight is not the night!

In my grocery store, they sell baby arugula prepackaged in a plastic container.  I have only seen it this way in my town, never in bulk.  In the original recipe, it says to roughly chop the arugula.  I didn’t, because mine was already quite small.

If you have leftover arugula after making this dish, it’s fantastic in a salad with a slightly sweet poppy seed dressing, fresh sliced strawberries, sweet-spiced pecans and some goat cheese.  I think I feel another blog post coming with that recipe!  Yum!

By the way, I find that most recipes have very large portion sizes.  The original recipe calls for 1 lb of dried spaghetti for 4 servings of pasta.  This makes way too much for my husband and I.  I used 1/2 lb. of dried spaghetti and I had leftovers for lunch the next day.  I did serve the pasta with garlic bread on the side.

Spaghetti with Shrimp and Arugula
spaghetti con gamberetti e rucola
Recipe adapted from Jamie’s Italy
Serves 2 – 3

1/2 lb dried spaghetti
salt and freshly ground black pepper
extra virgin olive oil
2 cloves garlic, peeled and finely chopped
1/4- 1/2 tsp. dried crushed red chili flakes
1/2 lb. peeled raw large shrimp
1/2 small wineglass of white wine
2 Tbsp. sun-dried tomato puree (I whizzed a few spoonfuls of sun-dried tomatoes in my mini food processor)
1 handful of baby arugula

Cook the spaghetti in a large pot of boiling salted water according to package directions.  In a large pan, heat 1-2 Tbsp of  olive oil.  Add the garlic and chili.  As the garlic begins to color, add in the shrimp and saute them for a minute.  Add the white wine and the sun-dried tomato puree and simmer for a couple of minutes.  When the pasta is ready, drain, reserving a bit of the cooking water.  Toss the spaghetti with the sauce and add some of the arugula to it.  Taste, add some of the reserved water if necessary to loosen the sauce and correct the seasonings, if needed.  Transfer to a plate and sprinkle with the remaining arugula.

Arrivederci!
The Hungry Teacher

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