Shrimp Saganaki Pasta
By: Eleni Saltas
It’s not often I crave pasta, but when Great Lent rolls around and my body demands more calories but lettuce and raw vegetables don’t satisfy, I make sure my pantry stays loaded with different pasta types ready to be boiled into something special. A special meal to me is shrimp saganaki.
Saganaki simply refers to a variety of dishes prepared in a small frying pan or skillet. Cheese set aflame with loud shouts of “OPA” is the most well known saganaki style. For the seafood lovers, there’s also mussel and shrimp styles of saganaki you must try. Those seafood dishes aren’t set aflame nor do they come with a show when presented at your table, but the flavors truly are award winning.
As I finished preparing shrimp saganaki one night, I realized I didn’t have any bread to dip up its tasty tomato-y sauce with. “Bummer,” I thought, because that’s usually what I look forward to the most. Luckily my pantry was stocked with all sorts of pasta shapes from rigatoni to linguine, so I quickly boiled some water with enough salt in the pot to taste like the sea, and mixed the noodles into the awaiting saganaki sauce. So there you have it–shrimp saganaki pasta–a filling meal that ensures no sauce ever goes to waste.
- 1 pound (16 ounces) raw shrimp*
- 8 ounces favorite long strand pasta type (I prefer linguine or angel hair)
- ½ cup of extra virgin olive oil
- 1 yellow onion, finely diced
- 4-5 cloves of garlic, minced
- 1 bell pepper or 5 assorted sweet mini peppers, diced
- ½ cup white wine or ouzo
- 4 medium tomatoes, finely diced (or one 15 ounce can of diced tomatoes)
- 1 (15-ounce) can tomato sauce
- 2 tablespoons drained capers (optional)
- 1-2 tesapoons chili flakes
- 1 tablespoon dried oregano
- Sea salt and pepper, to taste
Step by Step Instructions
Peel and clean the shrimp. If frozen, leave the shrimp out to thaw beforehand and pat dry. Season well with salt and pepper and set aside.
In a large frying pan or skillet, heat olive oil over medium heat and sauté the onions, peppers and garlic until translucent. Deglaze with white wine or ouzo and cook until nearly evaporated.
Add the diced tomatoes, tomato sauce and capers. Season well with oregano, chili flakes, and salt and pepper. Reduce the heat, cover the pot and let simmer for 20 minutes to allow the tomato sauce to develop flavor. Adjust taste to your liking.
Meanwhile, prepare your pasta. Bring water to a boil, and season the water with a generous amount of salt. Cook your pasta al dente.
Back to your tomato sauce, remove the lid, check for seasoning and cook for an additional 5 minutes. Add the shrimp and allow it to cook in sauce for about 3-5 minutes, being careful not to overcook.
Using a slotted spoon or pasta fork, bring the pasta directly from the pot to the skillet with tomato sauce and toss until well coated.
Garnish with fresh parsley and serve warm.
*If you’re using frozen shrimp, pick a package that’s peeled and deveined. Be sure to thaw completely beforehand for better results. Use your favorite size of shrimp here. The smaller shrimp will take less time to cook. I prefer large prawns.