Spring has sprung, and with it the abundant season of fresh produce is about to begin. April is the best time of year to get fresh asparagus and it tastes so good when you roast it at a high temperature. Tossed together with some sweet shrimp, cherry tomatoes, and a creamy sauce with a hint of lemon and this dish screams to me the tastes of spring.To go with this pasta dish, I have the film "Something's Gotta Give". Whenever I think of this film I think of the location that the film takes place in, the gorgeous Hamptons in New York. Though I've never been to the Hamptons, I know they have access to fresh seafood and great local and fresh produce. The sauce itself also has routes from the Hamptons as it's a variation of a recipe I learned from Ina Garten's cooking show, The Barefoot Contessa. It's a simple and elegant meal that you can make in about 35 minutes and you won't believe how delicious it tastes.
1 Pound of raw Shrimp (peeled and deveined)
1 Large shallot (diced)
2 cloves of Garlic (minced or grated)
1 bunch of fresh Asparagus
½ pound of Cherry Tomatoes
Pinch of crushed red pepper flakes
1 cup of Heavy Cream
Juice and the Zest of one Lemon
Freshly Chopped Parsley
Penne Pasta (Or whatever you prefer)
Kosher Salt and freshly cracked black pepper
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Grated Parmesan cheese (optional)
Preheat your oven to 425 degrees.
Fill a large pot about ¾ of the way full with water. Salt the water heavily and turn the heat up to high to bring the water to a boil.
In a medium sauce pan, coat the bottom of the pan with about a tablespoon of olive oil. Place the pan on the stove top over medium low heat. Add the diced shallot to the olive oil and cook the shallot for about 5 to 7 minutes - stirring occasionally. The shallot will be very aromatic and begin to get tender. Add the the two cloves of garlic and cook for another minute being sure to stir constantly so the garlic doesn't burn. Add the cup of heavy cream, the lemon zest, the lemon juice, and salt and pepper. If you're skeptic about adding lemon to the cream, I have to tell you that I've had people who hate lemon love this sauce. The lemon doesn't over power the dish at all, just gives it a nice subtle background flavor. Simmer the sauce over low heat giving a stir every few minutes. Season the sauce to taste.
Rinse off your asparagus and gently bend the stalk of the asparagus. Where the asparagus snaps is it's natural breaking point and the bottom part of the vegetable that breaks off should be discarded. An easy way to get through doing this for a large amount of asparagus is break abut 6 or 7 of them and use where they broke as guide on where to cut the rest with a knife.
Next, rinse the cherry tomatoes and slice them into halves. Place the asparagus on a baking sheet along with the cherry tomatoes and toss them together with a tablespoon of olive oil and some kosher salt and pepper. Roast the vegetables in the oven at 425 for about 20 minutes.
Prepare the shrimp by removing the peels and the veins. For presentation I sometimes like the to leave the tails of the shrimp on but you can certainly remove them if you wish. Place the shrimp on a cookie sheet and season them with about a ½ teaspoon of kosher salt, ½ teaspoon of black pepper, and just a pinch of crushed red pepper flakes. Drizzle about a tablespoon of olive oil over the shrimp and toss the shrimp together to coat them with the oil and seasons.
Place the shrimp in the oven and roast for about for about 7 to 10 minutes until the shrimp are just pink. The shrimp will also be firm to the touch. You want to be careful to not overcook seafood which is rather easy to do so keep a close eye on them. I usually try to time it where I add my shrimp to the oven about half-way through the cooking time for the asparagus and the tomatoes so they get done at just about the same time.
By now the water should be coming to a nice rolling boil, add your pasta and cook to the directions according to the package. While the pasta boils and the shrimp and veggies finishing roasting, chop the fresh parsley that we'll add right before we serve the dish.
Once the veggies and shrimp are roasted, remove from the oven. Drain the cooked pasta and pour the pasta into a large serving bowl. Add the roasted asparagus and the tomatoes to the pasta. Next, scrape the shrimp into the bowl. Be sure to add any juices that have accumulated on either of the sheet pans. Pour our cream sauce over top the pasta, shrimp, and veggies and mix everything together. Shower the dish with some freshly chopped parsley and freshly grated Parmesan cheese. Serve the pasta hot with a fresh and crusty bread! A nice chilled glass of Pinot Grigio is the perfect wine to go along with this pasta dish. Grab a bowl of pasta, a glass of wine, and lets get started with this weeks movie.
"Something's Gotta Give" is the 2003 romantic comedy starring two of films most iconic faces, Jack Nicholson and Diane Keaton. Written and directed by Nancy Meyers, the film was a popular hit among audiences and critics and Diane Keaton earned an Oscar Nomination for her role as Erika Barry.
Nicholson plays Harry Sanborn, a mid-sixties Hip-Hop music executive with an eye for women much younger than himself. His latest catch is the young and beautiful Maren (Amanda Peet) who has invited Harry to spend the weekend with her at her mothers lavish beach house in the Hamptons. The two arrive at the gorgeous and impressive piece of real estate and prepare for a romantic weekend alone - that is until Marin's mother Erika (Diane Keaton) and her aunt Zoe (Francis McDormand) surprisingly walk in on Harry standing in her kitchen in his underwear.
Appalled by her daughter's choice to date Harry, Erika wants nothing more for Harry to head back to the city and leave the three of them to enjoy their weekend. No such luck however as Zoe suggest they all act like adults and enjoy their time there together. Erika sucks it up, thinking it would only be for a day or two. That is until Harry has a sudden heart attack and is forced to stay bed ridden until his doctor clears him healthy enough to travel. Refusing to stay in a hospital, Marin convinces her mother Erika to allow Harry to recover at her home. Keaue Reeves costars as Harry's doctor who soon takes his own romantic interest in Erika while caring for Harry.
Forced to spend more time together than they both wish, their personalities clash at first but the two begin to grow and unlikely bond. Erika and Harry soon begin to let their guards down and realize they may actually enjoy each others company more than the could ever imagine. The results lead the two on a journey of humor and heartbreak. "Something's Gotta Give" doesn't reinvent the genre of the romantic comedy movie but it does bring a sense of freshness to it and shows that love can happen for anyone. Whether you've seen this film before or let this one slip under your radar, "Something's Gotta Give" is a fantastic movie to enjoy over and over again. Here is the preview for a quick look at what most consider Nancy Meyer's best film to date.