Believe it or not, this was the very first (real) meal I ever cooked when I was living on my own. I purchased my first cookbook, Moosewood Restaurant Cooks at Home, opened right up to this recipe, and figured I’d give it a go.
Looking back now, I think it was pretty ambitious of me to start out with a recipe that included shrimp, dry sherry, and saffron. Quite obviously, my parents were still paying my food bill.
I remember being absolutely amazed by how good it turned out. Moosewood cookbooks have been my favorite ever since, and I still adore this pasta.
Saffron is the star here. I freakin’ love saffron. I would probably put it in everything if it wasn’t $25 a bottle. And by bottle, I mean a few tiny strands inside a foil baggie, tucked inside said bottle.
Whenever I cook with saffron I like to spout off a bunch of random facts about the spice. My husband is sooooo over it. But I’ll share them with you, because they’re fun!
- Saffron is the most expensive and precious spice in the world.
- Each saffron strand is actually the dried stigma of a small crocus flower.
- It takes 80,000-90,000 flowers to produce only one pound of saffron.
- And the stigmas have to be harvested BY HAND.
Maybe I’m a nerd but I’m fascinated by all this.
I follow this recipe pretty much as it’s written in the book, although I let it cook for longer than instructed. The original recipe only calls for about 5 minutes of simmering time for the sauce, but I like to allow more time for the flavors to meld. And oh how they meld.
Don’t forget to link up your recipes at the end of this post. I want to see your vegetarian (or seafood) recipes!
- 1 red or orange bell pepper, cut into long thin strips
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- pinch of crushed red pepper flakes or cayenne
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- ½ cup dry sherry
- ⅔ cup chopped scallions
- 1 large ripe tomato, diced or 1 cup drained chopped canned tomatoes
- ½ lb whole wheat spaghetti or linguini
- ⅛ teaspoon crumbled saffron threads
- ¼ cup boiling water
- ⅔ cup frozen green pea
- ½ lb shelled deveined shrimp
- salt to taste
- grated parmesan cheese (optional)
- In a large skillet, saute the bell pepper, garlic, and crushed red pepper in olive oil for 5 minutes over medium to medium-high heat.
- Add the sherry and then stir in the scallions and tomatoes.
- Mix the saffron into the ¼ cup boiling water and add to the sauce mixture.
- Increase to high heat and reduce the sauce for 1 minute. Adjust heat to low and allow sauce to simmer.
- Put on a large pot of water to boil for the linguini.
- When the water boils add the linguini to the pot and also add the peas and shrimp to the sauce.
- The sauce is finished when the shrimp are thoroughly cooked. Season with salt to taste.
- Ladle sauce over individual bowls of pasta and serve with Parmesan cheese (if desired).