Posted by: brookenado | November 12, 2012

Oxford’s Mightiest Cook! Or so I like to think…

Dear readers,

I hope you all had as wonderful of weekends as I myself enjoyed.  Two of my housemates were unfortunately away for the weekend, but despite an emptier house, my other housemate and I made the most of the past few days (as well as two of the group not in the house this year).  Why was my weekend so great, you may ask?  Easy…

There was pottery painting, food splurging, a narrowly won hockey game that ended in a shootout, movie splurging (one in theatres I shall go more detail into later,  The Avengers, and Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter – both good), and a fun pick-up game of indoor soccer.  I also got the food I will need for the family dinner I’m making for the six of us on Thursday; should turn out well!

Besides bragging about my weekend, I come bearing another recipe.  On Friday I decided to make some shrimp pasta for dinner.  Well, I didn’t have all the necessary items for one recipe I found, so I just ended up using that and my dad’s recipe as a base for a white sauce.  What ensued was the creation of a new sauce that turned out pretty well, if I do say so myself (housemate agrees).  It is a sage, thyme, lemon cream sauce with zucchini, eggplant, and shrimp.

The final, delicious product

Here’s where it all started: chaosinthekitchen.com/2008/10/fast-food-creamy-shrimp-and-mushroom-pasta/

And what you’ll need to make enough for 4 or 5 servings (while creating I pretty much just eyeballed it, so I do apologize for the lack of real measurements – next time I make it, I’ll try to be more precise!):

– 1/2 box of spaghetti (8 oz)

– eggplant, sliced (more on the thin side) and quartered (used about 1 Japanese or baby eggplant, but add what you like)

– zucchini, sliced and quartered (used about half a zucchini, add to your liking)

– 1/2 a shallot, diced

– 1 clove minced garlic

– shrimp (used about 20 cooked cocktail shrimp, thawed – use more or less to your liking or different sizes)

– about 1/4 to 1/3 cup white wine

– 6 tablespoons butter

– lemon juice (half a lemon, but did not squeeze of all of it)

– 3-4 oz cream cheese (take out of refrigerator as you prepare other ingredients/sauce)

– 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard

– thyme (fresh is ideal for each of the herbs, but not necessary)

– sage, diced (add to your liking, I used 4 or 5 leaves)

– basil

– dash of parsley

– salt

– pepper

– about 1/3 to 1/2 cup of the pasta water to thin sauce (start with a third and go from there)

– 1/4 cup or more grated Parmesan cheese

Alright, get started by boiling some water with a dash of salt thrown in.  As the water heats up, start working on the sauce.  Add two tablespoons of the butter to a sauté pan and throw in your cut up eggplant and zucchini.   Cook for about two minutes or until they start to brown.  Season with salt and pepper then remove from the pan and set aside for later.

Add the white wine to the pan and reduce at high heat for about one to two minutes.  Now go ahead and add the remaining 4 tablespoons of butter, diced shallots, and the minced garlic to the pan.  Stir.  Next comes the cream cheese and Dijon mustard.  Your water should be boiling by now, and I found this to be a good point to add the pasta in.  Let the pasta do its thing and go back to the sauce.  Stir occasionally as the cream cheese melts (add more as you cook if needed).

It’ll all smooth/thin out once you stir in the pasta water

At this point the cream cheese should be melted and things in the pan are looking sort of lumpy (no need to worry).   To thin it out and create a nice even sauce, add water from pasta water.  I added about a 1/3 to 1/2 a cup (I really just took the bowl I was going to use to eat out of and filled it up about a third of the way) to the sauce pan.

Add the fresh thyme and sage to the sauce, as well as salt and pepper.  Add lemon juice in increments, stir and taste; add more to your liking.  Place the cooked shrimp, eggplant, and zucchini into the sauce.  As I didn’t have fresh basil or parsley, I sprinkled some dried basil and parsley into the sauce (I was more generous with the basil).

Now let’s get the sauce on that pasta!

Finally, add the grated Parmesan cheese, more if needed.  Stir and let cook a little more if the sauce seems too watery.  Drain pasta and place back in the pot.  Add the sauce to the pasta and mix.  Serve with grated Parmesan cheese on top, and you have yourself a delightful, not too heavy cream sauce shrimp pasta for dinner!

I found that the fresh sage and thyme, the wine, and the lemon juice adds the perfect amount of a more acidic fresh taste to cut the creamy, saltier taste of the other ingredients.  This is a sauce I will definitely make again, and will of course update with more precise measurements or improvements!  That said, I hope you do decide to try this one and let me know how you find it.  Feedback and adaptations are always appreciated!

Yum! This made for a very happy Brooke, and is great as left overs, too

We are quickly approaching Tuesday and so I say to you, readers, have a fine week.  You’ve made it through Monday and the rest will be a breeze – well, maybe once we pass Tuesday!

Over here in the States we are nearing Thanksgiving and I will be flying home on Friday for the week.  My dad just had heart surgery and everything went really well, but I am still very much looking forward to seeing him and just being home with everyone.  So yes, there is my first “what I am thankful for…”.

Alright I know, I’ve kept you long enough!  There are some exciting posts heading your way soon (I did just meet traveler extraordinaire Rick Steves tonight!), so be on the look out.  Thanks for reading, cheers!  Until then…

Mischief managed

Even Avengers need their sleep. The characters, very well cast, are what made this film so fun and lovable. (Is it strange that as soon as I watched “The Avengers” I went about deciding who was who in my group here?) And now I’m off to conk out as well!

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Responses

  1. Looks good!

    • I’ll have to make it for us sometime…just not next week, I’ll be pasta’d out by Friday!


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