Winter Kitchen: Comfort Pasta

Nothing says winter comfort like pasta made with fresh ingredients. In any season, the aromas of basil, tomatoes and garlic cooking make any stresses from your day disappear (having a glass of good red wine in hand doesn’t hurt either). I couldn’t tell you the last time I ate pasta, but occasionally it’s just the thing to settle you in and warm you up. The tomato sauce is always the key ingredient in Italian pasta dishes. I learned an incredible and simple sauce while on our honeymoon on the Amalfi Coast this pas fall. I didn’t have fresh vine ripened tomato puree on hand (like we used in Italy) but I did have my favorite can of San Marzano diced tomatoes. I used whole wheat thin spaghetti and added shrimp to this dish…

Tomato and Basil Spaghetti with Sauteed Shrimp
whole wheat thin spaghetti
3 cloves of garlic, minced
1 can San Marzano diced/pureed tomatoes
large shrimp, peeled and deveined
fresh basil, chopped
olive oil
course sea salt
freshly ground black pepper
crushed red pepper flakes, to taste

Directions
In a small sauce pan, add a little olive oil and heat 2 cloves of garlic and basil over high flame. Add the can of tomatoes and bring to a boil. Lower the flame and simmer the sauce for about 10 to 15 minutes.

In the meantime, bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add a few pinches of salt and the pasta and cook according to directions. Once cooked, strain the water and bring the pasta back to the pot.Season the shrimp on both sides with salt and pepper. Add olive oil to another medium pan and heat the remaining garlic for a few minutes until you smell a subtle aroma. Add the shrimp, turning once until cooked through ( a few minutes on each side). You may have to do this in a few batches, depending on how many shrimp you have. Set aside.

Toss the spaghetti, tomato sauce and shrimp in the large pot. Serve into bowls and season with crushed red pepper flakes and top with fresh basil.

Enjoy!

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