Pasta with Cherry Tomatoes, Basil and Shrimp
Chef Nick Stellino
Serves 4 to 6
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Bring a pot of water to a boil for the pasta.
Mix the salt, pepper, onion powder, garlic powder and paprika together. Sprinkle the spice mixture over both sides of the shrimp and set aside. In a large sauté pan, cook the oil over high heat until it starts to sizzle, about 1 to 2 minutes. Add the shrimp and cook for 2 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, lift the shrimp out of the pan and place on a tray lined with paper towels to absorb the excess oil. Reduce the heat to medium and add the onion and garlic to the pan, stirring well. Cook for 2 to 3 minutes until the onion starts to soften. Add the tomatoes; add the optional sugar if they are not sweet enough. Cook, stirring, for 3 minutes. Add half of the basil and increase the heat to high. Stir well and bring to a boil. Cook for 1 minute, continuing to stir well, then cover the pan and reduce the heat to simmer, cooking for 10 more minutes.
While the sauce is simmering, add the pasta to the boiling water and cook according to the directions on the package. While the pasta is cooking, add the shrimp to the sauce. Stir well, cover again, and continue to cook on simmer for 3 to 4 minutes. Drain the pasta and return it to the pot. Pour the sauce over the pasta and cook it over medium heat, stirring, for 2 to 3 minutes. Add the remaining basil, toss well, and serve. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
If you want a different look, cut the shrimp in ¼-inch dice before you add it to the tomato sauce.
If the sauce is reducing too much and becoming dry, add ¼ cup of the pasta water.
While many other Italians do not like Parmesan cheese on their seafood pasta, I love it, so I add plenty of grated Parmesan to this pasta.