Linguine with Asparagus, Shrimp, and Scallions
Anchovy and asparagus may seem a little odd, but here the anchovy brings what bacon or pancetta would to the asparagus and shrimp: it underscores and brings up their flavors, but isn’t allowed to dominate.
Serves 4 as a main dish or 6 as a pasta course
1 pound asparagus, preferably fat-stemmed
2 bunches (about 2 dozen) slender scallions
1 ¼ pounds medium to large shrimp, peeled and deveined
½ cup extra virgin olive oil
2 large cloves garlic, lightly crushed, peeled, and minced
¼ to ½ teaspoon hot red pepper flakes, to taste
1 pound linguine
1 teaspoon anchovy paste or 2 small anchovy fillets packed in olive oil, patted dry and minced
2 tablespoons finely chopped flat leaf (Italian) parsley
1 tablespoon finely chopped oregano
1. Bring 4 quarts water to a rolling boil in 6-8 quart pot. Wash and trim cut end of asparagus. Peel tough parts of stems (lower third) with vegetable peeler. Cut off tips and set aside; cut stems in 1-inch lengths. Trim scallions and thinly cut on diagonal into 1-inch-long pieces, separating white and green parts. Cut shrimp into 2-3 pieces.
2. Stir in small handful salt and asparagus stem pieces into boiling water. Cook 1 minute and lift out with skimmer. Keep water simmering.
3. Put oil and garlic in large, heavy-bottomed skillet or frying pan over medium-high heat. Sauté until garlic is fragrant, about 5-10 seconds after it begins sizzling. Add hot pepper flakes to taste and white parts of scallions and toss until scallion is translucent and garlic is barely beginning to color, about 30 seconds. Turn off heat.
4. Stir linguine into boiling water. Cook, stirring occasionally, until al dente using package suggestions as rough guide. When pasta is almost done, reheat skillet over medium-low heat.
5. Add shrimp, anchovy, asparagus stems, and asparagus tips to pan, raise heat, and season with salt if needed. Tossing constantly, cook until shrimp are just curled and pink. Add herbs and scallion greens and turn off heat. Toss well.
6. Drain pasta, immediately toss with sauce and serve. This sauce should not be served with cheese.
i tend to double the amount of asparagus, i like rotini instead of linguine and, for the sea food averse, you can substitute boneless/skinless chicken thighs (suitably cut up) for the shrimp
serve with a very chilled sauvignon blanc