This is another diabetic recipe. I have high cholesterol so I seldom eat pasta. Back in the day I ate it quite often. It was my food of preference and definitely what I preferred to cook. Staying away from pasta certainly has not reduced my love of pasta. And, by the way, staying away from pasta has not lowered my cholesterol. Rachel Ray says pasta dishes can be an excellent way to eat. It's all in the sauce! She also says we should make those sauces at home so we control what goes in he sauce. All good reasons for me to choose this recipe for today. Note: I am going to disregard the "serve immediately" because I don't want to run to the kitchen to cook as soon as I finish work. Here we go. This photo is from the magazine. I took a ton of photos while I was making this dish, but I have no clue what happened to them.
First, I have to thaw out 6 ounces frozen peeled deveined baby shrimp. (One of the reasons I am making this dish is because I need to use up the shrimp and red pepper already in the frig.) The recipe calls for 6 ounces; I will use the 12 ounces I have. Oh no. Bad kitty keeps trying to get up on the counter. Thought I would take a picture of her before I hisss at her again, thinking she had her head in the sink for a drink of water. Just as I snapped the camera, her head came up and she had some of my baby shrimp in her mouth! Okay, so I work on thawing and patting dry the shrimp so I can cover it until the recipe directs me to use it. I no longer have 12 ounces, but I still have more than 6 ounces.
Second Step: Cook pasta according to package directions. The recipe calls for 2 ounces multi grain or whole wheat farfalle pasta (3/4 cup). Back in the day I may have had this in the pantry. In my world today, I have half a box of tri-colored rotini, which measures 2 cups. I am going to cook all of it because (1) I need to use it, (2) I need a little more than called for because I am using more shrimp and (3) I can use the extra for something else. A nice sauce and I will have another dish! I should have put the water on before working on the shrimp to save time because now I am rushing in order to be at work on time. Why don't they just tell you to do that first? Now I gotta wait for this big ass pot of water to boil.
Third Step: I am getting my food processor out because I need to blend 1 1/4 cups of fresh spinach, 1/4 cup fresh basil leaves, 1/2 of a medium avocado, 1/4 cup half and half, salt and black pepper. That will be blended until smooth. I am using 2 cups of spinach because that is just about all I have...the rest will go on a sandwich at lunch. Ummm, most of the basil is no good so I use what I have and add some dried basil. No comparison in taste, but since this is for a puree I will chance it because I really want to bring out the taste of basil (Oh! The water is finaly boiling. I need to put the pasta in to boil. Well, it sounded like it was boiling. That will take another minute.) The avocado is added. It is very large so I will have more than what is called for. Pasta added to the water and the timer set for 7 minutes. To get the consistency I want, I added 1/2 cup of half-and-half and a couple of scoops of avocado. I also added a little more dried basil. Pasta is done and ready to be drained. (Hint: be sure you have removed the shrimp from the colander.)
Fourth Step: In a large skillet coated with nonstick spray and heated to medium heat, cook for 3 minutes the sweet red pepper you have cut into matchstick strips. Add the shrimp and cook 2-3 minutes or until the shrimp is opaque. Stir in the pureed spinach mixture and the reserved pasta water. I forgot to reserve the 2 tablespoons of pasta water (Rachel Ray suggests this, too, but I don't remember the reason she gave). Since the pot I cooked the pasta in has a wee bit of the water left in the bottom, I will use that pot to cook the pepper instead of the skillet. Wow, I need to get to work in 10 minutes. Not sure if I cooked the peppers long enough, but I am adding the shrimp. Next I add the spinach mixture and the pasta water, which we have discussed. Add the remaining 1 cup of spinach. Wait...what! Only 1/4 cup of the spinach was to be used for the the puree. Oh dear. I used all the spinach in the puree. Tick tock. Would the spinach be opaque by now if I had used a skillet? Naw. Tick tock. Once the shrimp is done, the pot gets removed from the heat and I add the remaining 1 cup of spinach, which I do not have. I will add the little bit of spinach that is left...the spinach I was going to eat at lunch with the rest of the avocado with olive oil and balsamic vinegar. I also now add the cherry tomatoes.
Everything has been combined. Taste test. Needs a little something, like the taste of fresh basil. I add balsamic vinegar. Yum. I will defintely make this again this summer with basil from my garden. In the frig. Off to work. Dinner is ready! I will top with fresh Parmesan cheese and fresh parsley. Funny, Dolly does not get people food, but when I am cooking, she waits, always hopeful that today is the day I will change my mind.