Monday, February 15, 2016

Limincello Fennel Sauce Shrimp and Spaghetti

4 TBS olive oil, plus extra for pasta and garnish
4 TBS butter
1/2 cup shallots, chopped
2/3 cup fennel stalk, chopped
2/3 cup red bell pepper, chopped (stem and seeds removed)
2 peppercini peppers, chopped fine (stems removed)
3 cloves garlic, chopped
1/2 tsp salt, or to taste
1/2 tsp coarse black pepper, or to taste
1/3 cup pistachio nuts, chopped fine
1/2 lb colossal shrimp (cleaned, peeled and deveined)
2/3 cup limincello
1/4 cup sambuca
1/2 pint heavy cream
2 TBS fresh basil, chopped
1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped (plus extra for garnish)
1/4 cup fennel leaves for garnish
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar, for drizzling
12/16 ozs favorite pasta (I use spaghetti)

1.  In large skillet, on medium/high, heat 4 TBS olive oil and 4 TBS butter until melted.  Stir.
2.  Add shallots, fennel, peppers and garlic.  Saute until soft (approx. 5-8 mins) Season with salt and pepper.  Add pistachio nuts and stir and toast until slighly browned.  (do not burn).
3.  Add Shrimp to skillet leaving space between each piece.  Season with salt and pepper.  Saute for approx 2 mins then flip and slightly brown other side, approx another 1-2 mins or until starts to turn pink and tails curl.  Do not fully cook  (Note: shrimp will be addded back to sauce later which will continue to cook).  Remove shrimp from skillet.
4.  Add limincello and sambuca to deglaze skillet.  Stir to loosen any bits that might be stuck on bottom.  I call this "flavor".  Let alcohol cook out for approx. 3-5 mins.  Add heavy cream.  Stir and let thicken slightly.  Add shrimp back to skillet.   Add basil and parsley and stir.
5.  Add water to large pot for pasta.  Season with salt and bring to boil.  Cook pasta "al dente" then drain.  Add pasta to large bowl.  Drizzle with approx. 4 TBS olive oil.  Season with salt and pepper, toss.  Add pasta to clean presentation plate, or serve in individual plates. 
6.  Arrange shrimp on top of pasta.  Laddle sauce on top of shrimp.  Sprinkle parsley and fennel leaves on top.  Drizzle olive oil and balsamic vinegar around edges of pasta. 

Serves approx. 4-5 people

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