This is the dish, that when my husband called at 4:30 in the afternoon in early December 2011 and asked what I thought about him inviting his boss over for dinner that night, I remained fairly calm and said “sure, I can make that happen”. Never mind that a mere 30 minutes prior to that call, I had begun dragging the large boxes of Christmas decor up from the basement. Fortunately, I had dusted while having a lengthy conversation with a friend that morning…very out of character for me…I must have had some sort of premonition. I was a mess, the kids were a mess, and the house was strewn with Christmas decor…not decorated, just piles everywhere. I did the best I could with making everything and everyone presentable. Thankfully, our dinner guests knew that he had sprung this on me last minute, making the dinner itself that much more impressive. This is one of those dishes you would think takes forever to prepare, but in reality you could be eating this in around 30 minutes if you needed to. Let’s get started!
Ingredients (this will serve 4):
- 1 pound large shrimp, peeled and deveined
- olive oil 2-3 TBS
- 1 can whole anchovy fillets
- 1 large sweet onion, diced
- 3 whole carrots, minced (I use my mini-processor)
- 1 TBS garlic minced
- crushed red pepper flakes
- white wine (for deglazing the pan, maybe ¼ cup)
- 1 large can tomato puree (28 oz)
- 1 large can crushed tomatoes (28 oz, I use those with basil)
- dry Italian seasoning mix
- salt & pepper
- fresh basil (I chiffonade mine…roll up the leaves and cut into strips)
- fresh parsley, coarsley chopped
Start by heating a large saute pan over medium to medium-high heat, add olive oil to coat bottom. When nice and hot add in the onions and carrots.
Let these work for a few minutes, then clear a small area to add in the anchovies. I know they look icky, but trust me…they add a great base flavor for this sauce. I usually buy the flat anchovies, but all I could find on this grocery trip was these…wrapped around capers, they worked just fine :).
Then you let them cook down, I help them by smashing them with whatever
weapon utensil I have chosen to cook with. Don’t be shy, they will practically dissolve…not the capers though.
Keep it all working, eventually the carrots and onions will become golden. Time for the garlic!
The bits will start sticking to the bottom of the pan, allow the garlic at least a minute to sweeten up. If you are a garlic fiend, by all means add it to your liking. Ready for a drink??? Time to deglaze the pan, pour yourself a glass while you’re at it ;).
Let it all come together…it will be kind of a mushy consistency. Now for the Diavolo…HEAT! This should be to your taste, we like spice…so I add a lot of crushed red pepper. You want at least a little bite, or it is just shrimp in red sauce…which is delish, just not diavolo ;).
On to the saucy part of the show!
I try to always have some variety of these two in my pantry…I use it for my spaghetti, I also love making salsa with crushed tomatoes sans basil ;). Stir ’em in!
Give this a few loving stirs, you want everything to come together…get those flavors all working together. This is why I wear an apron…so I don’t have tomato sauce on every shirt I own.
Now, I like to give it a taste…then add in the dry spices…Italian seasoning, salt & pepper. All of this to taste. If you want a guesstimate, I would say 1-2 TBS Italian seasoning, 1 tsp each of salt & pepper. You can add, taste…add more. You can always add, so until you know how you like it…go easy with the salt.
Almost done with the sauce! Toss in the basil, mix it all up…and let it simmer.
I find the longer the flavors have to marry, the better…but it can be as quick as 10 minutes. When you are almost ready to eat…in my house, that means Darling Husband is within sight (he’s been known to get involved in a project where 5 minutes = 2 hours)…drop the shrimp in. I usually turn the heat up until I have a gentle bubble going on. The shrimp only need 3 or so minutes.
I serve mine over whole wheat angel hair pasta, but fettucine or linguini are fabulous too! One day I am going to make my own pasta…I need the pasta attachment for my Kitchen Aid before I attempt that. I also like to finish it with a bit of chopped fresh parsley…
So, that’s my Signature Dish and I’m sticking to it…for now ;). What is yours???
Please link up your Signature Dish post below! Be sure to only use the permalink to the particular post (not just the URL for your blog). I can’t wait to see what everyone is going to bring to the ‘table’!!! I would appreciate if you include a link back this post over at your blog :)…if you would like, you can also include this:
Today’s secret revealed…still terrified no one will show up for my party, it is that insecure teenager coming out ;).