Lemon-leek fusilli with shrimp & fresh herbs

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Who doesn’t love Tuesday night pasta?

Remember when you were a kid and food themes were a big deal? Those golden days when you could go to bed and sleep soundly knowing your next big meal would involve some form of macaroni enveloped in a thick layer of phosphorescent powder and topped with salty but weirdly addictive bacon bits and ketchup? I do. It was called Tuesday night pasta, and I loved it.

Of course, my tastes have changed since then. I no longer eat macaroni and cheese from a box (most of the time) and I’d rather eat real provolone and brie than mix strange powders with milk and hope it makes cheese (I still don’t know what KD is made of and I’d rather not know, now that I think about it). Habits however, die hard. Being honest, I’m glad my parents had a set weekly regimen when I was younger because I’d rather know what I’m eating in advance then get home and stare blankly into a refrigerator stocked with only two potatoes, condiments and a liter of soda. This is why meal planning is so useful. Instead of buying ingredients on a whim, you only buy what you need and save the big spending for a single day of the week. Instead of being recipe-stumped, you think up seven days of possible meals in one day and stick to it. Pasta Tuesday? It’s still pretty awesome.

This recipe is so quick to make! All you really need is pasta, some kind of onion/leek/root, butter, a lemon, parsley, frozen shrimp and a sharp cheese. Anything else you put on just adds Pizazz. I love leeks but be careful when preparing them because they often have dirt in odd places and need a thorough washing before you add them to the pan. The shrimp I used were Jumbo deveined and although I assume you could buy fresh shrimp somewhere (Not in No Frills you can’t!), frozen work fine. Just take them out of the freezer earlier that day and they’ll be ready to go.

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound fusilli
  • 1/3 cup butter
  • 1 small leek, cleaned thoroughly and thinly sliced (or a few green onions/1 regular white onion)
  • 1 bag jumbo shrimp, frozen
  • 2 teaspoons freshly grated lemon zest
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup parsley, chopped very finely
  • 1/3 cup  grated parmesan/ firm goat cheese/ feta
  • Salt and pepper

How to:

  1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add salt, a little oil and pasta. Cook  according to package instructions or until al dente (slightly chewy but cooked through), drain (reserving 1/4 cup cooking water!) and set aside

  2. Heat butter over medium heat in a pan, swirling pan and watching closely until butter starts to caramelize. Once butter is slightly nutty and golden, take your pan off the heat for a minute. Add thinly sliced leeks and return pan to heat, cooking until translucent

  3. Add shrimp, and cook for a few minutes until both sides are pink and shrimp is slightly springy (so cooked through, if you’re not sure slice into one!) Stir in lemon zest and juice and season with pepper and salt.  Add 1/4 cup pasta cooking water, turn up heat and cook about 1 minute more until sauce thickens slightly. Add your cheese, parsley  and mix. Transfer to a large bowl

  4. Serve while still hot, adding more cheese and/or butter as desired
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