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Spaghettini with Shrimp, Tomatoes & Chile Crumbs
Rating: 5 out of 5 (full of fresh fun flavours for summer!)
Initial Thoughts: This pasta dish looks like the embodiment of summer! Bright fresh ingredients.
THE TEST: This month Aimée from Food, Je t’Aimée and I had quite the giggle, as we both eneded up with different covers for July’s issue of Food & Wine Magazine!
Here’s what I got:
And here’s Aimée’s copy:
To add to the confusion, I gave her the page number for the recipe on my cover and it matched to what she had in her magazine. No wonder the poor girl was confused! She kept wondering how on earth I knew what to make, and it wasn’t until we emailed photos of our covers that the mystery was solved. July must have multiple covers because it’s a special issue that highlights the magazine’s annual Best New Chefs segment.
As for the recipe itself, there are basically four components to the dish. First you roast plum tomatoes with olive oil and red wine vinegar before peeling and grating them back into the pan. Next comes the breadcrumb mixture, which involves crisping fresh breadcrumbs (I used sourdough) in a pan with olive oil, lemon zest and red pepper flakes. The smell was incredible! Boil the pasta, sauté prawns with olive oil and salt and pepper, and mix everything together along with fresh basil and halved cherry tomatoes.
Now it may sound like a lot of steps are involved in the preparation and I’ll be honest and say I did get overwhelmed, but that was simply because I had the genius idea of testing this recipe at the same time as undertaking three cookbook reviews. But on its own, this pasta dish is not difficult nor is it really time consuming. Plus you can make the breadcrumb mixture and tomato sauce ahead of time (up to two days).
THE RESULTS: We all loved this dish and I will definitely be making it again in the future! The spaghettini was the perfect pasta choice as it really emphasized the lightness of the meal, while the burst of citrus from the lemon zest and heat from the red pepper flakes brought depth and well-rounded flavour to the dish. I’m a fan of seafood in my pasta, and the shrimp paired perfectly with the other ingredients and provided a slight salty element that was nice.
But by far my favourite part of this recipe is the breadcrumb mixture. Wow. I am already imagining how good it would taste on top of grilled fish, or macaroni and cheese, even as a topper for savoury muffins!
Now I know that Aimée was slightly disappointed with this dish in terms of the overall flavour, so be sure to head over to Food, Je t’Aimée and read about her experience with this recipe. I think she may be right about the quality of tomatoes being a determining factor in the success of this dish, so make sure if you attempt this recipe to have top notch veg. And don’t forget to check out Kendall Harris of Wine2Three’s wine pairing. I was so happy when she opted to pair this pasta with Chianti, as I’ve been wanting to experiment more with this particular type of wine.
If you would like to join us next month, the more the merrier. So pick-up a copy of the latest issue of Food & Wine Magazine and be sure to send us your thoughts, comments and photos. We’d love to hear from you.
Spaghettini with Shrimp, Tomatoes & Chile Crumbs
As part of my culinary New Year’s resolutions, I have committed to creating each month’s cover recipe from Food & Wine Magazine.
NOTE: If any of you would like to follow along with me and join in on the fun, I’d love to compare notes! So pick-up a copy of the latest issue of Food & Wine and get cooking. Be sure to send your comments and photos to firstname.lastname@example.org.
The mission of Food & Wine Magazine is to find the most exciting places, new experiences, emerging trends and sensations in the culinary and wine industries. From travel and entertaining to luxury and design, this magazine brings an energetic and stylish take on food and wine. For more information on Food & Wine Magazine, please visit www.foodandwine.com
One of the cardinal rules of food and wine pairing is “what grows together, goes together.” Food from a certain region is best paired with wine from that same region. Because this dish is an Italian inspired tomato-based pasta, I immediately thought of pairing it with an Italian wine. Such a laidback, light summer meal needs a Chianti.
Chianti is a wine region in Italy, located around the cities of Florence and Siena. But Chianti is also a variety of red wine made with the grape known as Sangiovese. A minimum of 80% Sangiovese is needed in order for a wine to be Chianti, and sometimes you’ll even find 100% Sangiovese. It was traditionally bottled in round fat bottles enclosed in a straw basket casing, the kinds of bottles you may have seen used as candle holders in casual Italian restaurants. Nowadays Chianti mostly comes bottled in a traditional glass bottle, as is this wonderful 2010 Chianti by Castiglioni. Chianti is not meant to be aged but rather to be consumed as a “young” wine, and ideally paired with Italian food like this month’s cover recipe. The fresh, bright fruit flavours in Chianti give the wine nice acidity, a quality that makes your mouth water making it an excellent food wine and one that pairs very well with the acidity in tomato-based pastas.
Chianti is a great wine to have on hand for impromptu, casual Italian meals at home. Especially in this wonderful summer season of al fresco dining!
Kendall Harris shares her adventures in the wine world as Wine2three on Twitter & Facebook. She is WSET (Wine & Spirits Education Trust) Advanced Certified & is currently developing a weekly wine series on ShawTV, where she is a full time reporter. Join her on Facebook – click LIKE at www.facebook.com/wine2three for regular fun wine info!