June 6, 2009

Jen's Roasted Shrimp & Broccoli Pasta with Lemon Cream Sauce Surprise

So, I have been crazy busy. Apparently, blog neglect is the first symptom of a crazy schedule. I don't know if the new week will be any quieter, but I am hoping to at least stay caught up. That's the dream, anyway. I am going to plan some easy dinners, so I can keep my head above water. That should help, and I think I am now up to date on my meal posts. Whew!

Yesterday, I was out all day and forgot to thaw out a protein item for our dinner. Yikes! At 5 pm, I made a quick decision to use shrimp since I knew they could be thawed/cooked relatively quickly. I wanted an all in one type of dish, and what better way to get that then to throw some shrimp into some pasta with a veggie of some sort. I spied some lemons sitting out on my counter; which helped me formulate an idea. Pasta, shrimp, broccoli...in a lemon cream sauce. Eureka!!! I did not use a recipe, but instead made one up on the fly. I did not write it down as I was cooking, so I will just recreate it now. As with my curry dish a few night's ago, this was definitely one of my surprise concoctions. I really did not have a clear idea of where I was going or how I was going to get there. Thankfully, all worked out well. This pasta dish turned out super-yummy! This will become a dish that I make again, especially since it came together fairly quickly (only 1/2 hour to 45 minutes max; including thaw time).

Jen's Roasted Shrimp & Broccoli Pasta with Lemon Cream Sauce Surprise

1 lb. of fresh or frozen raw shrimp, peeled and deveined
pasta of your choice (I used pappardelle)
2 heads of broccoli, florets only
6 cloves minced garlic
1/2 of a large white or yellow onion, diced finely
2 Tablespoons of capers, drained
1 Tablespoon of red pepper flakes
1/2 cup of dry white wine
2 medium sized lemons, juiced
zest of 2 lemons
1/2 cup of sour cream
1-2 cups half and half
1 cup of water or chicken broth
4 Tablespoons butter, divided
2 Tablespoons of flour
salt and pepper, to taste
olive oil
chopped fresh parsley, for garnish

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil for pasta.

If shrimp is frozen, place in colander under stream of running water, tossing ever minute or so until thawed (this takes approximately 5 minutes total). Dry thawed shrimp well with paper towels, and place on a baking sheet. Season shrimp liberally with salt and pepper. Pour approximately 1 Tablespoon of olive oil over shrimp. Toss seasoned shrimp with clean hands on baking sheet, making sure all shrimp is evenly coated. Roast in oven for 5-10 minutes, depending on how large the shrimp are. Be careful not to overcook. Once shrimp are roasted, remove from baking sheet to a platter and set aside.

On the same baking sheet, place broccoli florets and season with salt and pepper. Again, coat with approximately 1 Tablespoon of olive oil, then toss seasoned florets with oil by using clean hands. Make sure all florets are evenly coated. Roast broccoli in oven for 15-25 minutes, or until florets are slightly browned at the tops, and still crisp. Remove from oven and set aside.

Meanwhile, cook pasta according to packaged directions. Drain and set aside.

In a large skillet, heat 2 Tablespoons of olive oil over medium-high heat. When pan is ready, add onions and a big pinch of salt. Saute onions until soft and translucent. Add garlic and cook for 1-2 minutes. Do not burn garlic. Add red pepper flakes and cook for another minute. Add white wine and lemon juice and let it reduce by half. Reduce heat to medium-low. Add water (or chicken broth), half and half, and sour cream. Stir to combine, making sure dairy items do not curdle. Season with salt and pepper. Bring to a boil reduce to simmer for 10 minutes. Sauce should be watery at this point.

In a microwaveable bowl, melt 2 Tablespoons of butter. Once melted, add flour and mix until paste is formed. Whisk into sauce for thickener. Repeat if necessary, until desired sauce consistency is achieved. Once sauce ready, adjust seasoning if needed. Add in roasted broccoli, roasted shrimp, capers,lemon zest, and chopped parsley. Stir to combine. Melt in last 2 Tablespoons of butter. Serve over cooked pasta.

Jen's Notes:
All measurements are approximate.

The Result:
Keeper!!! This was delish!

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