Monday, February 4, 2013

Pappardelle with Shrimp in a Bacon, Leek & Shallot Cream Sauce on Baby Kale

This winter pasta is spicy, savory, creamy, crunchy, and just plain amazing. You usually have me at bacon, but you really have me at bacon AND leeks, AND heavy cream, AND shallots, AND shrimp. Did I mention it is a very easy dinner and takes about 30 minutes start-to-finish. What I love most, is the balance of all the different elements: there is spicy flavor of the shallots and leeks, the smokiness of the bacon, and the freshness of the shrimp and kale against the sauce. I serve mine over baby kale, because the warm sauce just wilts the kale and it becomes part of the dish. You don't have to. Also, if you prefer to use chicken, you could swap it for the shrimp, but the shrimp really works well here. Read all about it, after the jump!

Pappardelle with Shrimp in a Bacon, Leek & Shallot Cream Sauce on Baby Kale (Serves 4) *adapted from Bon Appetit

You will need: 

  • 2 T extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 T unsalted butter
  • 1 lb peeled deveined shrimp - about 12 
  • 4 pieces of thick-cut bacon, cut into 1/2-inch pieces*** You could also use pancetta
  • 3 medium leeks, white and pale-green parts only, halved lengthwise, sliced crosswise 
  • 3 T shallots, chopped fine
  • 1 T kosher salt
  • 3/4 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 1 T dijon mustard 
  •  3 tsp fresh thyme, minced
  • 1 pound pappardelle (you could use any flat noodle)
  • 1 C freshly grated Parmesan cheese 
  • 1/2 T crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 C chicken stock 
First, in a large pot, heat the butter and olive oil over medium heat. Add the chopped bacon and cook until bacon is crisp and brown, about 5-7 minutes.  Add the leeks and shallots and season with half of the salt. Increase heat to medium-high and continue to cook until leeks begin to brown and shallots are translucent, about 7 minutes. Add cream, 2 tsp of the thyme, and 1/2 cup of chicken stock. Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce heat to medium low, add mustard and remaining salt, and simmer, stirring frequently until sauce is thickened, about 8-10 minutes. Add shrimp, cook over medium heat until they are pink and opaque. Reduce heat to lowest. Meanwhile, cook pasta according to package directions until al dente. Make sure your water is adequately salted. Drain pasta, reserving 1 cup of the pasta cooking liquid (I put it in a pyrex measuring cup). Increase heat to medium-low. Add pasta, Parmesan, red pepper flakes and 1/2 cup pasta cooking liquid to sauce and using tongs, toss until pasta is coated with sauce. Increase heat to medium and continue stirring, adding more cooking liquid as needed, until sauce coats pasta and cheese is melted. Stir in remaining cheese and sprinkle with thyme. Serve over baby kale (the sauce on the kale is yummy) or as-is! Delicious! 

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