This meal has become a standby this summer. I have an herb pot on my patio that is full of perennial herbs. I grow two kinds of mint, oregano, parsley, chives and rosemary. This pot has gone to sleep each winter and come back to provide me with wonderful herbs each spring for the last decade. The mint grows better than anything else and it is the herb I have the least use for. I saw this recipe while looking through “Italy al dente” by Biba Caggiano this summer and I knew it would be a good use for my abundance of mint.
The recipe is actually supposed to be a squid recipe. Although I am not exactly a Locavore, I do try to be aware of where my food comes from and I try to buy local when I can. Well, it turns out the squid I always assumed my little gourmet market sold was local, was actually defrosted from a big frozen block that is shipped in from China. This kind of pissed me off. The Santa Barbara channel, from what I hear has abundant squid, which we fish, and export all over the world! So china ships us squid and we are probably shipping squid to China. Makes a ton of sense. I am able to sometimes get shrimp at the Farmer’s market, which makes it very local. If not, the shrimp comes from Mexico at the market so it ends up being a shorter trip from producer to me if I go with shrimp instead of Chinese squid. Besides, the shrimp tastes like it was made for this dish. It is simply scrumptious.
If you decide to make this pasta, be sure to use good quality canned plum tomatoes. The original recipe asks you to run the tomatoes with their juice through a food mill. I just break them up with a spoon. Any mint should do, but spearmint would be ideal.
Spaghetti with Shrimp, Tomatoes and Mint
Adapted from the spaghetti con Calimari, Pomodori e Menta recipe in Italy al Dente by Biba Caggiano
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
2 large cloves garlic, minced
1 small onion, chopped
2 to 3 anchovy fillets (packed in olive oil), chopped
Red pepper flakes to taste
1 28oz can plum tomatoes with juice
Salt to taste
1 lb. Shrimp, peeled and deveined
8 to 10 fresh mint leaves, chopped
¼ cup fresh parsley, minced
1 lb spaghetti or linguine
optional: garnish with either grated or shaved parmagiano reggiano
Put water on to boil. Add a couple of teaspoons of salt when the water comes to a boil. Start cooking the pasta right about the time you are cooking the onions…
Heat the oil in a large skillet (you want a pan big enough to fit the sauce and the pasta). Add Garlic and sauté for a minute. Add onion, anchovies, and chili flakes. Cook, stirring, until the onion is golden, 4-5 minutes. Add the tomatoes and season with salt. Break up the tomatoes with the back of a wooden spoon. Cook the tomatoes uncovered, stirring occasionally for 4 to 5 minutes. Add the shrimp, mint and parsley. Reduce heat to medium low and simmer 4 to 5 minutes until the shrimp are just cooked through. The pasta should be done right about now. The pasta should be tender but firm to the bite. Drain the pasta and add it to the sauce. Toss the pasta over low heat until the pasta and sauce are combined.