I’ve been seeing drunk food all over facebook lately– the stuff you make when you’ve had a lot to drink and suddenly you are Gordon Ramsey, nay, Alain Ducasse, nay, not even a Picasso of food could rival your superhuman creative flair in the kitchen. It’s revolutionary. It’s avante-garde. It… usually features heavy use of the microwave.
But hey, I’m not judging. I’ve been there, 1000%. The stuff I used to come up with when I would wander back from the bars in college was– uh, what should we call it?– well, it was certainly something. For example, I was famous for my quesadilla hot dogs. Those were literally hot dogs rolled in cheesy tortillas, which were then rolled in second cheesy tortillas, and then dunked into salsa. What can I say, they were easy and my roommate loved them.
Anyway, that aforementioned roommate (who I’ve talked about in past posts– her name is Jackie) came to visit me last weekend, and of course as an ode to our old college years, we opened up a bottle of wine. 🍷
Apparently, these days, my tispy food of choice is no longer quesadilla hot dogs, pork roll nachos, or any other sort of weird Mexican / processed meat fusion. Apparently, these days, I’m all about seafood and pasta in a tangy, creamy sauce… and I also have the presence of mind to write down and photograph the recipe. Yeah, I’m being serious. This Creamy Lemon Butter Shrimp Pasta with Spinach and Caramelized Garlic is the best thing to ever come from a 2 AM, under-the-influence kitchen adventure. Does this mean I’m growing up? 😂
I may have created this recipe for the first time in the wee hours of the night, but it’s absolutely a dinner recipe– one that I will be making again and again, at that. The fact that I made it after a couple of glasses of wine just goes to show how deceptively easy and intuitive it is to make though! If I can do that, you definitely can make this for a date night or weeknight dinner with no stress at all, and you’ll blow everyone away. I promise.
So what’s in it? First, shrimp. I use peeled and deveined frozen shrimp, which save a ton of time and are incredibly quick to cook. Jackie and I always try to get our fill of seafood in when we’re eating together because our boyfriends are picky and refuse to touch anything that calls the ocean its home.
Well, typically that’s the case. James actually agreed to try this pasta, and wound up eating and loving the shrimp!
Such a proud moment.
Shrimp go perfectly in this dish because they’re tender, sweet, and light, which balances well with lemony, creamy sauces like we have here. However, if you’re not sold on using shrimp, feel free to swap it out for chicken or go totally meatless with it. It’s all about the sauce anyway.
Yeah, let’s talk about that sauce a little. Here’s the cast of characters: butter, chicken broth, white wine, cream, lemon juice, capers, parmesan cheese, and paprika. The acid of the lemon and wine brighten up the creamy ingredients, while the capers and parmesan pack a savory, salty punch. Oh, and it all is a gorgeous golden-orange color thanks to paprika, which also adds just a bit of mild red pepper flavor.
All together, it’s the sort of sauce you fall in love with. It’s impossible to make it and not wind up sopping up any excess sauce with crusty bread, or whatever you can find in your pantry, or just spooning it into your mouth. Impossible, I say.
If you looked at that list and thought “but where’s the garlic?”, fear not my friend. I would never do you wrong like that. Of course there’s garlic in there.
Because I wanted to complement the sweetness of the shrimp, I caramelized my garlic before adding it to the dish. The flavor distributes throughout the sauce as it simmers, and you also get to enjoy little roasted cloves throughout. YUM. That was Jackie’s favorite part.
Also essential to the yum, of course, is the pasta! You’ve got to have some starch to smother in all of that creamy sauce, right? All of that, plus some delicious spinach greens, fresh basil, and parsley give you a dish that you’ll put on repeat for years to come. You know, whether you make it at 2 AM like I did, or for dinner like a normal person.
Either way, there’s plenty of leftover wine to enjoy it with. Just sayin’, it’s certainly a perk.
Oh, and don’t forget to take a picture of it before you chow down, OK? If you tag #hostthetoast on Instagram, it will show up on the You Made It page, where I can totally check out your version of Creamy Lemon Butter Shrimp Pasta with Spinach and Caramelized Garlic. I’m looking forward to it!
- 16 garlic cloves, peeled
- ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
- Olive oil spray
- 8 ounces fettuccine or pasta of choice, cooked according to package directions
- ¼ cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
- 1 pound frozen peeled and deveined shrimp, thawed and pat dry
- Kosher salt and black pepper, to taste
- ⅔ cup heavy cream
- ⅔ cup low-sodium chicken broth
- ¼ cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
- ¼ cup dry white wine
- 2 tablespoons capers
- Juice of 1 lemon
- ½ tablespoon paprika
- Pinch of crushed red pepper
- 2 cups baby spinach
- Fresh basil and / or parsley, to top
- French bread, to serve
- Preheat oven to 350°F. Spray a baking sheet with cooking spray. Set aside.
- Toss the garlic with kosher salt in a small bowl. Pour the garlic mixture onto the prepared pan and bake until caramelized, about 15-20 minutes, tossing occasionally.
- As the garlic cooks, prepare the shrimp. Melt the butter in a large pan over medium-high heat. Season the shrimp with salt and pepper and add to the pan. Cook until just pink and cooked through, about 3 minutes total, flipping halfway through. Remove the shrimp from the pan and set aside.
- Reduce the heat to medium and add in the cream, chicken broth, parmesan cheese, white wine, and capers. Cook, stirring, until the parmesan has melted into the sauce. Add in the caramelized garlic, lemon juice, paprika, crushed red pepper, and spinach and cook for an additional minute.
- Add in the cooked shrimp and pasta. Stir and continue to cook until heated through. Serve warm, topped with basil and parsley, with french bread, for dipping.
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