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Spaghetti with shrimp and pistachios

Updated: Apr 26, 2021

Spaghetti is one of the most frequently eaten pastas, simple to cook, and great with kids. It is a quick and easy dinner. This recipe is going to take your spagjetting experience to the next level. Most of us cook spaghetti, or pasta, in water. Here the chef first makes a flavorful shrimp broth in which he cooks the pasta. This simple step adds all the flavor of the sea to the dish. In addition, the broth is also used as a light broth for the pasta dish making it light and fresh, unlike the usual greasy and rich sauces. This recipe is all about the sea. ]

Pistachios are the oldest known cultivated nut, grown in the Middle East between 10,000-3,000 BC. They spread throughout the Mediterranean through Alexander the Great arriving in Greece in the 6th century BC. The most flavorful pistachios, the Bronte pistachios, come from Sicily. These green gems, often called green gold, have an intense green color and deep flavor due to the lava rock on Mount Etna that they grow on. These nuts burst with flavor and add the pop to this dish. A highly unusual topping for a pasta, but one that works beautifully.

This is a wonderful cookbook from a master of the Sicilian land and sea. This cookbook is a lesson on cooking and the distinct cuisine of the island. I highly recommend this cookbook to those that are looking for amazing regional Italian cuisine.

For more wonderful recipes from this cookbook, click here.


For the stock:

1 tablespoon olive oil

1/2 carrot, chopped

1/2 onion, chopped

1 celery stalk, chopped

1 garlic clove, minced

2-3 black peppercorns

2 stems parsley

1/2 tablespoon tomato paste

Heads and shells from 10-12 shrimp

10 cups water

Salt to taste

For the pasta:

1/3 cup pistachios

1 lb spaghettI, #15 preferred (the thinner variety)

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 tablespoon garlic, minced

1 red chili, halved, de-seeded and finely sliced

1/2 lb shrimp

1/4 cup white wine or some lemon/lime juice

1 tablespoon parsley and garlic oil

To make the stock:

Add the oil to a stock pot and add the all the vegetables, garlic and spices. Sauté for 3-4 minutes on low heat ctill soft but do not color.

Add the shrimp heads and shells and continue cooking till the shells start turning a bright red color. Add the water and salt and simmer gently for 15 minutes. Cool and strain out the solids keeping the stock.

To make the pasta:

Roast the pistachios on a low flame on a dry pan, till fragrant and lightly colored. Cool completely and grind to a powder in a spice mill. It is ok of there are a few large nuts left in the powder, they add to the texture of the dish. Do not overgrind as the powder will turn into a butter and it will not be of use for this dish.

Make the parsley and garlic oil by grinding a handful of parsley and 3-4 cloves of gallic with olive oil to from a thick paste. Alternatively, the best way to make this is in a mortar and pestle. This paste is best if used the next day after the ingredients have come together. It can be stored in the fridge for a long time. Use extra as a dip with bread or in scrambled eggs or on pasta. Cook the pasta as per the instructions on the package, but instead of using water use the stock. Reserve the stock when you drain the pasta.

Heat the oil on medium to low heat in a pot large enough to hold all the pasta. Add the garlic and chilies and sauté for a minute, do not brown the garlic. Add the shrimp and sauté for 2 minutes. Add the white wine, or lemon/lime juice and cook till the liquids have evaporated. Add 1 cup of the stock, from the pasta. Add the pasta and mix in well. Heat throughly and adjust the liquids, I prefer to have some of the delicious stock in the bowl. Stir in the parsley oil and serve in individual bowls or a deep bowl topped with the crushed pistachios.

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