Friday, June 18, 2010

Your Mother Was Right + A Birthday - Capellini with Shrimp and Tomatoes

"Listen to your Mother." It's a common phrase, one almost all of us have heard at some point or another, some of us ad nausium. And yet...very often we didn't. We insisted on learning for ourselves the hard way. Even if we knew she was right. And that was the most frustrating part of it. Knowing she was right, and ignoring the advice anyway.

My Mother has an impressive track record when it comes to intuition and advice. As much as I sometimes hate to admit it, I know that when she has advice to offer, I should listen. I can't think of one boyfriend or friend she was ever wrong about. I didn't take her advice as often as I should have, but, these days, with her stats being what they are, hers is the advice I ask for and most often take. I wish I'd taken it more often growing up. Her many years of social work speak for themselves. Not for nothing!

When it comes to food, her instincts are pretty spot on as well. She has a way with seafood pasta, and it brings to mind weeks spent at the beach on the Northern California Coast. Buying live crab and bringing it back to the house where they would meet their fate in a pot of boiling water. My Father would don an apron and crack the crab (when we did this at home our cat would attach himself to my Dad's leg, clawing away in a crab frenzy) and my Mom would make the most basic of seafood pasta's. Good seafood, pasta, garlic, lemon and white wine. Toss in some parsley, maybe some capers and tomatoes, throw in some crusty bread, a bottle of wine, a leafy salad and we were set.

It's still one of my all-time favorite meals. It's not often that I see a seafood pasta on a menu that I can resist...and yet, it's never quite as good as my Mom's. There's nothing quite like homemade, especially when it's a team effort.

On a side note, yesterday was my Father's 70th Birthday. When it comes to the lottery of being born into a family, I hit the jackpot, I'm well aware. And I couldn't be more thankful, more loved, supported or lucky. Happy Birthday Dad, words can't express how much I love you, and how thankful I am that you are my Father. You are the best man I know, and nothing makes me more proud than to say that you are my Dad.

Capellini with Shrimp and Tomatoes

3/4 lb capellini
1 lb large shrimp, peeled & deveined (I used frozen)
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 tbsp butter
1 tbsp olive oil
1/4 cup white wine
juice of 1 lemon
a pinch of red pepper flakes, more if you like a lot of spice
1/2 bunch of parley, chopped
3/4 cup cherry tomatoes

Heat the oven to 300 and roast the tomatoes on a pan for 20-30 minutes, until they start to shrivel and darken in color. You can also skip this part and just saute the tomatoes with the garlic.

Bring a pot of salted water to boil. In the meantime, heat the butter and olive oil in a large skillet over medium high. Once the pan is hot and the butter is melted, turn the heat to medium and add the garlic. Saute for about a minute, taking care not to burn the garlic. Add the chili flakes.

Add the shrimp to the garlic and cook until the shrimp is almost cooked through and turning pink, about 3 minutes. Add the wine and lemon juice and turn the heat to low. Remove the shrimp, and turn the heat under the pan to medium-high, reducing the wine, lemon and garlic liquid a bit. You should end up with about 3/4 cup of liquid.

At this point, the capellini should be ready to cook. Cook according to directions, about 3 minutes. Drain and add to the skillet with the wine, lemon and garlic. Add in the shrimp, tomatoes and parsley. Season with salt, freshly ground pepper and Parmesan. Serve hot.

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