Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Grilled Shrimp and Tomato Pasta Salad

I write this post listening to the repair man hack away at our furnace while cursing frequently.  I swore too when I was given the quote for a new circuit board, a part quite necessary in running the air conditioner.  Fucking thing is massive, bigger than the motherboard on my first computer which weighed more than the Stanley Cup.  The entire laptop I'm typing on now was cheaper than this new board that is hesitantly making its way to the interiors of the cooling machine.  Hopefully only another hour or so until we can condition our air for the first time all summer.  I like the heat and humidity for the peppers and tomatoes to thrive, but not so much when it's 86°F and 82% humidity inside the house. Needless to say, we've been using the grill a lot in this warm stretch, although that is a common cooking method this time of year with or without the modern convenience of air conditioning. 

This is one of those summer dishes that is quintessential to the season.  Summer-in-a-bowl is the ultimate summer dish, but we have to wait until the local corn and tomatoes from the garden are ready.  We've made it once this summer for a cook-out with the grocery store produce, it's extremely underwhelming with such poor quality ingredients.  

From start to bowl in 15 minutes, this recipe is quick and easy.  Maybe just a quarter hour after you've thawed and peeled your shrimp, which is my preferred way to purchase them.  With a pound or two always in the freezer, a speedy dinner is always at the ready.  I found a box of rotini infused with spinach in the back of the pantry, not sure where that came from but I let her know it was a great idea, because she doesn't get enough credit for her great ideas.  Don't have both cheeses?  Just one of them will do, and of course, make sure it's the good stuff!  If you don't shred it yourself then it is most likely tasteless. 

Grilled Shrimp and Tomato Pasta Salad
4 servings

1.5 TB unsalted butter
3/4 C panko breadcrumbs
lemon pepper garlic seasoning
1 lb. large shrimp (16-20) shelled and deveined
1 lb. spinach rotini or pasta of your choice
3 large garlic cloves, halved and thinly sliced
1/2 pint cherry tomatoes, halved lengthwise
1/4 C freshly grated pecorino romano cheese
1/4 C freshly grated parmigiano reggiano cheese
3 long green onions, green part only
8 fresh basil leaves, chiffonade

Fire up your grill for high heat and get your salted pasta cooking water over high heat on the stovetop.  Melt the butter in a small skillet and toast the panko breadcrumbs, stirring often, until nicely browned, about 3-4 minutes.  Dump breadcrumbs into a bowl and set aside. Reserve skillet. 

Skewer the shrimp and season with a lemon pepper garlic type blend, or just give them a good raining of S&P.   Oil lightly with EVOO.

Skewer the tomato with the cut side facing up.  Season with S&P.

Begin cooking pasta according to package directions, always test one to two minutes early to ensure your desired tenderness.  

When your grill is ripping hot, place the shrimp skewers over direct heat and put the tomato skewers off to the side a little, cut side up.  Cook for 3 minutes, then carefully flip the shrimp and cook for another 2-3 minutes, until just opaque and cooked through. 

With the now-empty skillet, heat a TB of EVOO over medium high heat.  Once warm, saute the thinly sliced garlic for about 30-45 seconds, until just fragrant.

Into a large serving bowl, combine the drained pasta, shrimp, tomatoes, most of the cheese, and most of the basil and green onion.  Serve in bowls and top with remaining cheese, basil, and green onion. 

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