Last weekend I had dinner at Sojourn restaurant in Manhattan, NY. Several of their small plates were sampled but two stood out for me. I really enjoyed their lobster arrabiata with squid ink pasta and their braised short rib over creamy polenta. Inspired by Sojourn's lobster arrabiata, I made my own version of shrimp arrabiata for dinner tonight. I used shrimp instead of lobster because that’s what I had in my freezer. Unfortunately, I was unable to find squid ink pasta so I used regular linguini which turned out just as good. This sauce is meant to be spicy hot. Here’s how I made it:
½ lb. linguini
~ 20 large shrimp –peeled, deveined and washed
28 ounce can peeled whole tomatoes – pureed
½ onion finely minced
7 cloves garlic finely minced
½ - 1 teaspoons crushed red pepper flakes *
Parsley roughly chopped
Basil roughly chopped or torn
3/4 teaspoon Sugar
½ tablespoon butter (optional)
* The amount of red pepper flakes depends on how hot you want it, I used 1 teaspoon which was HOT, but I like it that way. If you prefer less heat reduce this to half a teaspoon.
Cook the pasta according to your preference and keep warm. I like to add some salt to the water before boiling the pasta and prefer to cook pasta al dente. You may want to cook the pasta while the sauce is simmering.
Puree the tomatoes until smooth.
Heat about two tablespoons extra virgin olive oil in a medium sized pot. Sauté the minced onion and 4 cloves of minced garlic until soft. Add teaspoon red pepper flakes and continue to sauté for a few more seconds. Season with a generous pinch of salt. Add the tomato puree, ½ a teaspoon of salt, sugar, two to three shakes of ground black pepper and a handful of fresh parsley roughly chopped and bring to a boil. When it comes to a boil turn the heat down to a medium low flame and continue to simmer for 15 minutes. After 15 minutes add about 4 -5 basil leaves roughly chopped or torn by hand, then continue to simmer for 15 minutes longer. Remember to taste as the sauce cooks, you may want to add more or less salt according to your taste. After the last 15 minutes remove from the flame and keep aside.
Heat about 1 tbsp of olive oil in a medium size nonstick skillet. Sauté 3 cloves of minced garlic until it gives off an aroma and is soft…almost caramelized but be careful do not burn it. Add in the shrimp at this point and sauté. Add about a tablespoon of chopped parsley. Season with salt and pepper. Add butter and continue to sauté the shrimp until cooked through. Don’t overcook! At this point add half the arrabiata sauce to the shrimp, stir together and let this simmer for a few seconds. Toss the warm pasta in with the shrimp and arrabiata sauce. Serve garnished with chopped parsley. Freeze and save the balance of the sauce for another dish. I hope you’ll try it and enjoy it as much as I did!