This week’s recipe is one of those no-rules ones that’s adaptable at will. Pasta with fresh Gulf shrimp and lightly sautéed seasonal vegetables is something I absolutely love to have around the house this time of year. It’s cozy, healthy and packed with flavor. Change out the vegetables as the season evolves. Clip some herbs from your backyard pots to really make it sing. Serve it with a simple salad and a loaf of crusty bread for an easy dinner. The only labor-intensive part is peeling the shrimp, but it’s well worth it.
Clean-up is easy; I use one large sauté pan to cook all the ingredients except for the pasta.
Penne with Gulf Shrimp and Spring Vegetables
• ¼ cup olive oil
• 1 yellow onion, chopped
• 2 bell peppers (preferably red, yellow or orange), cut into 1-inch pieces
• 2 cups grape or cherry tomatoes, sliced in half
• 3 cloves garlic, minced
• 3 small to medium yellow squash, cut into 1-inch slices, then sliced across the middle
• 3 small to medium zucchini, cut into 1-inch slices, then sliced across the middle
• 2 pounds fresh head-on* large Gulf shrimp, peeled and deveined
• Kosher salt and cracked black pepper
• 1 16-ounce package penne pasta (regular or whole wheat)
• ½ cup chopped fresh herbs for garnish (use basil, or a combination of basil, parsley, thyme, chives and tarragon)
In a 12-inch nonstick sauté pan, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the onion and cook for about 3 minutes. Add the bell peppers and tomatoes and cook for about 5 minutes. Add the garlic, squash and zucchini and cook for another 5 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and pour the vegetable mixture into a bowl. Do not wipe the pan clean. Allow the oil to remain and return the pan to the heat. Salt and pepper the shrimp on both sides and add to the hot pan. Sauté about 1.5 minutes on each side until the shrimp are curled and just cooked through. Return the vegetables to pan, toss to combine everything and remove from the heat. Prepare the pasta according to directions. Toss pasta, shrimp and vegetables together.
Plate the pasta dish and garnish with fresh herbs. And despite what Italian food snobs say about how wrong it is to pair cheese and seafood, go ahead—load it up with parmesan cheese.
*I always try to use head-on shrimp because they’ve been handled less, but if you’re partial to headless, go for it.
Other vegetables to use:
Carrots (diced small or shredded)
Maggie Heyn Richardson is a regular 225 contributor and the author of Hungry for Louisiana, An Omnivore’s Journey. Follow her on Instagram, @hungryforlouisiana.