Simple Comfort Pastas: Shrimp, Artichoke & Basil and Creamy Tomato & Basil

Comfort food takes all forms.

Some days it’s rich, thick macaroni and cheese. Some days its hearty and fragrant pho, or even still some days, it’s just a stack of salted crackers each spread with a tiny bit of sweet butter. All depends on what needs comfort.

These two dishes speak to the indomitable comfort of cramming your face with pasta. Some nights simply demand a bowl full of carbs being shoved in your face with a delicious ferocity. You feel me?

I’m not a red sauce person, so comfort for me is rarely the traditional spaghetti and meatballs dish. But garlickly, lemony, savory sauces drizzled over thin spaghetti is my ultimate jam.

What adds to the comfort level of these dishes is the ease of them.  You can get crazy with different fresh ingredients; but the goal here is pasta-in-face. I had everything in my pantry and fridge currently and would wager you do too, which means pasta-shoving is that much closer. I prefer to use a thin, long noodle here; as I think it complements these light sauces best; but you can use whatever you’ve got on hand. See “pasta-get-in-face” attitude.

While I think either one of these dishes is best served in pajamas, with a side of Netflix; each is certainly lovely enough to serve to guests alongside a simple salad and tons of wine. Yup, wine, another comfort food.

Shrimp, Artichoke and Basil Capellini
Time: 15 min ~ Serves: 2
4 oz pasta (capellini, angel hair or other thin pasta)
1/2 tbs unsalted butter
4 garlic cloves, peeled and minced
8 oz artichoke hearts, rinsed (pat dry first) and diced
4 oz – 8 oz canned tiny wild shrimp, drained*
1 lemon (zest and juice)
small handful (about 1 oz) fresh basil, torn
Sea Salt, Black Pepper
Red pepper flakes
Extra virgin olive oil or other finishing oil (Walnut, Hazelnut etc.)
*The shrimp here add a bit of protein and a punch of umami flavor;  you can certainly add more if you want more of the actual shrimp; but I like that this was really more of a whisper of shrimp. A shrimp whisper if you will (are you still reading this insanity?)  IMG_3093   IMG_3096
Boil pasta to package instructions; drain and set aside.

In a deep skillet over medium heat; melt butter. Saute garlic until lightly brown and fragrant. Add artichokes and shrimp. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.  Toss until shrimp and artichokes are warmed through. Add pasta directly to the skillet; and toss to coat with sauce. Remove from heat. Drizzle in lemon juice and add basil and lemon zest; stir to combine thoroughly. Add salt/pepper/red pepper flakes here to taste. Just prior to serving, drizzle oil over each portion. Serves 2. IMG_3094

Creamy Tomato & Basil Capellini
Time: 15 min ~ Serves: 2
4 oz pasta (capellini, angel hair or other thin pasta)
2 Roma tomatoes, diced
1 oz fresh basil, torn
1 egg, beaten*
Sea Salt, Black Pepper
Balsamic Glaze or aged balsamic vinegar

*Much like this Creamy Lemon Spaghetti; we’re using an egg to achieve a creamy texture without butter, cream or cheese.

Boil pasta according to package instructions; drain and return to the pasta pot (with about 1 – 2tbs cooking liquid). Put heat under pasta on very low. Add the beaten egg; stirring constantly so that the egg coats the pasta and cooks; but you do not get scrambled eggs.

Once strands are coated; toss in tomatoes and basil; stirring to just warm the tomatoes a bit (this dish is best served with a bit of bite to the vegetables, I think). Salt/Pepper to taste. Remove from heat and serve immediately. A drizzle of balsamic glaze or aged balsamic is all this needs to finish. Serves 2.


Whispering shrimp, we love you.


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