Spaghetti con Gamberi (Spaghetti With Shrimp)

Seafood plays an important part in the Italian diet; especially in the southern regions. Here is a simple, quick recipe that uses shrimp but can also use langoustines which is a small lobster. It also contains yaki nori which is a roasted seaweed that most people will recognize from sushi. When you first taste this dish you are greeted with a sweetness coming from the cherry tomatoes which is then replaces with a bit of spiciness.

Ingredients

½ cup extra-virgin olive oil
3 cups cherry tomatoes, quartered
1 tsp. crushed red chile flakes
4 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
1 lb. jumbo shrimp, peeled and deveined
11/2 cups dry white wine
Kosher salt, to taste
10 oz. spaghetti
2 tbsp. finely chopped parsley
1 sheet yaki nori (roasted seaweed), cut in slivers; optional
Juice of 1 lemon
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Instructions

Heat ¼ cup oil in a 12″ skillet over medium-high heat. Add tomatoes, chile flakes, and garlic; cook, stirring, until soft, about 6 minutes. Add wine; cook until reduced by half, about 6 minutes. Add shrimp; cook, turning once, until just pink, about 3 minutes. Meanwhile, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil; add spaghetti, and cook until al dente, about 7 minutes. Drain, reserving ¼ cup cooking water, and add pasta to skillet along with cooking water, remaining oil, parsley, nori, and juice; cook, tossing, until sauce thickens, about 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.

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Want the best meatballs you’ll ever eat? The secret is to bake them!

Here is a meatball recipe that is a little out of the ordinary but is my absolute favorite. It is based off Alton Brown’s Baked Meatball recipe. My version strays the most because I do not use ground lamb in mine like he does. It isn’t that I am opposed to eating lamb; rather, I live in Vinton, Iowa. Ground lamb just isn’t readily available to me.

The sauce for tonight’s dinner is from Coralville, Iowa based Galassi Foods. Susan and I have been wanting to try the sauce for some time. We tried the Sweet Tomato Basil. Although we found this sauce just a little too sweet for our liking, we will definitely try their other varieties.

Both were served over Barilla pasta. Barilla is another Iowa made product. What can I say, we try to support our local producers as much as possible.

Here is tonight’s recipe.

Ingredients

¾ pound ground pork
¾ pound ground round
5 ounces frozen spinach, thawed and drained thoroughly
½ cup finely grated Parmesan
1 whole egg
1 ½ teaspoons dried basil
1 ½ teaspoons dried parsley
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon kosher salt
½ teaspoon red pepper flakes
½ cup bread crumbs, divided

Directions

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

In a large mixing bowl, combine the pork, ground round, spinach, cheese, egg, basil, parsley, garlic powder, salt, red pepper flakes, and ¼ cup of the bread crumbs. Using your hands, mix all ingredients until well incorporated. Use immediately or place in refrigerator for at least 1 hour or up to 24 hours.

Place the remaining ¼ cup of bread crumbs into a small bowl. Using a scale, weigh meatballs into 1.5-ounce portions and place on a sheet pan. Using your hands, shape the meatballs into rounds, roll in the bread crumbs and place the meatballs in individual, miniature muffin tin cups. Bake for 20 minutes or until golden and cooked through.

This recipe will make approximately 20 to 24 meatballs. I like to make a whole recipe and then freeze uncooked the ones I will not eat that day.