Midnight in the Pasta Garden of Vegetables and Shrimp

My friend Angie sent me a text tonight asking to have dinner, and she offered to grab a few groceries on the way over!  So, as she put it, it was “science experiment time.”

I don’t know that it was really much of a science experiment, but with what she brought, and a few little things in my fridge, we made it work.

Here’s the stash:

Quinoa Polenta, whhhhhaaaat?

Quinoa Polenta, whhhhhaaaat?

It's a grab bag!

It’s a grab bag!

In the brown paper is some shrimp, and I used that instead of the bag in the foreground.  She’ll take that home.  There was one yellow squash, one zucchini, one eggplant (not pictured), baby tomatoes, organic pasta, and organic quinoa polenta (I have never seen that before).  Anyway, I added to the mix one green onion stalk, some fresh parsley, capers, lemon juice, and olive oil.

And here we go.

Midnight in the Pasta Garden of Vegetables and Shrimp

(serves 4)

1/2 pound of capellini (if you use a wider cut, like linguini or fettucini, use the whole package)

1/4 polenta log (skip this if you don’t have polenta in this form)

1 medium eggplant

1 yellow squash

1 zucchini

handful + of cherry or grape tomatoes, cut or whole

handful baby spinach

3/4 pound 16-20 shrimp

1 tbsp capers

3 tbsp lemon juice

pinch of red pepper (or more, you know…)

black pepper and salt to taste (I ended up putting a little finishing salt on it because I almost never cook with it)

green onion, finely chopped

fresh parsley, finely chopped

1/2 cup vegetable oil to fry polenta

olive oil to saute vegetables in (again, you may end up adding a little more because eggplant sucks that stuff up)

First, remove the skin from the eggplant, dice into quarter-sized pieces, and soak in salt water.  This will help with the bitterness.  You can prep everything else while this soaks.

Next, chop the parsley and green onion.

Parsley and green onion

Parsley and green onion

I hope you started boiling the water for the pasta…

Yeah, ok.  I know, I forgot, too.

So go do that.

In a small or medium saute pan, heat some vegetable oil for your fried polenta bits.  If skipping this, then, well…skip this.

In a large saute pan, add some olive oil and red pepper.  You can add the squash, zucchini, tomatoes, and eggplant all at the same time.  Throw in the salt and pepper, too.  Once that cooks for about 3-4 minutes, toss it around, and let cook some more.

Here for the party!

Next, add the spinach on top with the green onion, and check the moisture level.  If the squash mixture seems to be too brown or dry, add a little later to deglaze and help with steaming.  Throw the lid on.

Add the spinach and green onion

Add the spinach and green onion

Turn off the heat for a few minutes.

Your water should be boiling, or it already was, and you added your pasta (please, for the love of my dead Italian grandmother, do not add oil to your pasta water.  Just, please, it makes me so sad).

SALT your water, and drain pasta when it is al dente.  No one likes soggy pasta.  Not even your dog.

If frying the polenta, crumble it into the hot vegetable oil, and fry for a few minutes.  Remove onto a paper towel to drain.



Throw the pasta, shrimp, and capers in the saute pan with all the veggies, re-season, turn heat back on.  Cook for a few more minutes to heat the shrimp through.  If your shrimp is raw, put it in with the spinach.

All together

All together

I know you’ve been dying to see ME actually cooking, so since Angie was here, she took some nice action shots for you.

Don’t worry, I made sure to look SUPER PRETTY for you tonight.

photo (13)

Food pusher

I have no words...

I have no words…

And I truly wear an apron, you guys.  I can’t even think about getting my yoga pants (yeah, I’ve been wearing them alllllll day) dirty!  For shame!

After a few minutes, you should be ready to plate.  You can sprinkle a little parmesan cheese on top, or add some more red pepper and a drizzle of olive oil.  If you friend the polenta, put that on top. Whatever you’d like.  ENJOY!

The finished product

The finished product

And of course you want to see Angie enjoying the food while watching Breaking Bad!



Have a great night, folks.  Check you tomorrowwwwwsssss.


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