Hey there sunshine. Here’s another chill weeknight recipe you can throw together in a flash. I’ve recently been thinking about how strange it is, in this age where a major portion of people my age work in bars/restaurants, among other intensive and uncommon schedules, that it is truly antiquated to many of my friends and peers to refer to a “work-week” and “weekend”. My boyfriend always works Saturdays and my shop is sort of an all-waking-hours obsession for me so what really is a weeknight anyway?! There should totally be another word. Pre-work night? Mid-working-from-home-and-cooking-at-the-same-time-night? Ehhh… Ponder a better option while you peruse this one skillet spicy pasta goodness.
One last note before we get into the recipe. Most dishes like this one utilize heavy cream. Since that is something I never have on hand and rarely remember to buy, I’ve often researched different acceptable substitutions. FYI: As with many of life’s great debacles, the answer is MORE BUTTER. Just add in 1-2 tablespoons of the good stuff per cup of milk, generally. That’s the basic theory I went with in this variation. The mixed fat content does cause the sauce to require a bit longer summer time in order to bring it together, but the overall buttery-ness of the final product makes it worth every second. Enjoy!
2 tablespoons olive oil
1-2 tablespoons butter
1 pound fresh or frozen shrimp, deveined & deshelled (which is about 12 large shrimp or 20 small)
3 cloves garlic, diced
1/2 package baby bella mushrooms, sliced thin
1 cup milk
8 oz. spaghetti or pasta of choice
1 1/2 cups your choice of cheese – I suggest a blend of Mozzarella & Parmesan… Or take the easy way like I did and get a good ole bag of an “Italian Blend”…. Whatever works!
crushed red pepper flakes
Heat a large cast iron skillet until hot and add in the olive oil and the butter. As soon as it begins to bubble, add the diced garlic and prepared shrimp.
Grill the shrimp on one side for 1 to 2 minutes over medium/high until they’re no longer transluscent and turn slightly pink. Flip the shrimp to the other side immediately sprinkle the cooked side of with liberal amounts of dry basil, paprika, and salt.
Go ahead and cook the garlic and the shrimp on that side for 1 minute, then flip back to original side to sear in flavor and sprinkle with more of your delicious seasonings.
Give your whole pan a final few stirs around to fully coat shrimp and remove entire contents from skillet. Shrimp should be slightly underdone so they can come up to perfect in the sauce. Set shrimp and garlic aside.
To the same skillet, add your pretty sliced mushrooms. (You can also add more butter or olive oil if necessary.)
Cook on medium high for about 3 minutes, occasionally stirring, until mushrooms become soft and release juices. Add salt and pepper to taste.
To the skillet with mushrooms, add your set aside shrimp and garlic and the cheese mixture. Than, slowly pour in the milk.
Let your cheese begin to melt then whisk everything together until smooth and bring to boil. Now’s the time to taste and spice it up a little more, if you prefer and then reduce immediately reduce to simmer.
Cook, constantly stirring, until all cheese melts and it becomes “saucy”. Don’t worry if the sauce looks broken around the edges and doesn’t immediately come together…. The noodles will soak up all the extra butteriness once they get added in. Cover with lid and remove from heat.
Cook pasta according to package instructions,which I like to do ahead of time so I have it all ready and don’t have to do it while fussing with the sauce. Don’t forget to do the ole throw it at the microwave trick to make sure it’s done! I know you’ve never heard that one before 😉
Try and reserve some of pasta water, which can be tricky. I suggest a flag bowl with a collander that fit over top of it. Drain through collander into bowl and rinse pasta with cold water. Add pasta to the skillet with shrimp and mushrooms and cream sauce.
Stir well, season with more salt and add even more crushed red pepper flakes and basil, if you’re feeling adventurous. If the cream sauce is too thick and you want it creamier – add some pasta water or chicken broth in small amounts until you reach desired consistency.
Finally, plate and serve with some bread to mop up the sauce and a nice light salad. Hope y’all try and enjoy!