I have this lofty goal of streamlining my liquor shelves. Although I’ve always cooked and baked with booze without a second thought, I started making a point of doing so a while back. You see, one of the benefits of being a food and beverage writer is that oftentimes, free bottles of booze show up at your front door. The (very small) downside of that is that those bottles can start to take over.
So yes, adding the booze to the food I’m making has become quite deliberate. Yet, the amount of bottles seem to be increasing instead of decreasing. Of course, the fact that I also buy booze of my own accord doesn’t help. But you can hardly blame me for not being able to resist a good deal.
The grocery store that I go to most often will sometimes have a cart near the check-out that is filled with marked down bottles of wine or beer. Would you be able to pass up a 6-pack of Hard Cider for $5.00? Crisp, bubbly, and refreshing…yeah, obviously I’m not.
Not to fret, though – I put it to good use.
Take for example, this pasta and shrimp tossed in a luscious and creamy sauce. While cream sauces can be heavy and cloying, this one sits lightly on your tongue, and actually has an unexpected sweetness to it. It’s a cream sauce that you can enjoy even though the weather is getting warmer (or so I hear – hasn’t happened in Northern Indiana yet).
So, next time you can’t resist that bright orange clearance sticker beckoning you from a 6-pack of hard cider, you can always justify the purchase by knowing that at least one of those bottles will go towards a meal of Creamy Shrimp Pasta in Hard Cider Sauce. Then pop the top on a cold one and savor it while you bask in your frugal nature.
Creamy Shrimp Pasta Recipe
- 12 Spinach Tagliatelle (Central Market) or pasta of your choice
- 1 Unsalted Butter
- 1 Olive Oil
- 2 Garlic peeled
- 1 Shallot thinly sliced (large)
- Crushed Red Pepper
- 1.5 All-Purpose Flour
- 1.25 Hard Cider such as Mike’s Hard Smashed Cider or Woodchuck
- 1.5 Heavy Cream
- 1.5 Fresh Thyme
- 0.5 Sea Salt
- 0.25 White Pepper
- 1 Jumbo Raw Shrimp peeled and deveined
- 1.5 Dried Tarragon fresh and chopped
- 1.5 Fresh Parsley chopped
- 1 Lemon Juice freshly squeezed
- Bring a pot of salted water to a boil. Add pasta and cook until just al dente, ~5 minutes (or according to package directions). Drain and set aside.
- While the water comes to a boil and the pasta cooks, get on with the sauce and shrimp.
- Add the butter, olive oil, and garlic cloves to a large, deep-sided skillet over medium heat. Once the fats are hot and the garlic is golden brown, carefully fish out the garlic cloves and discard (just used to add a hint of garlic flavor). Add sliced shallots and the crushed red chiles, cook until just soft, 2-3 minutes. Sprinkle the flour over everything and stir; cook for another minute.
- Pour in the hard cider and allow it to bubble for 30 seconds. Carefully pour in the heavy cream, and add the salt, white pepper, and thyme; cook until thick 2-3 minutes, stirring from time to time. Add the shrimp and cook until they just turn pink, another 2-3 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in the tarragon, parsley, and lemon juice. Taste and adjust seasonings as needed.
- Transfer the still warm pasta into the pan and toss to combine. Serve immediately.