Sunday, January 22, 2012

Last night's recipes- shrimp penne pasta, salad and chocolate panna cotta

My parents came up Saturday and we had a delicious supper with them & Bailey.  I must share a few of these recipes for you to try.

Candied Walnuts, Dried Cranberries, Cucumber Salad
My mom whipped up this salad and it was so yummy!  She did the candied walnuts in the microwave - so easy and they were deluxe.

2 1/2 c. walnuts (or you could do pecans)
3/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup water

Microwave 8-8.5 minutes, stirring about every 3 or 4 minutes.  You want the sugar and water mixture to really crystallize on the nuts.  Spread out on a cookie sheet, separating the nuts (warning- they are going to be HOT, so be careful not to burn yourself).

We served with a Pomegranate dressing.

Shrimp Penne Pasta with Herb Cream Sauce
This is one of my girl Giada's recipes that I've slightly modified.
The following makes 4-6 good sized servings.

1 pound penne pasta (I use whole wheat)
1/4 c. olive oil
1-1.5 pounds of media shrimp, peeled & deveined
4 garlic cloves, minced
freshly ground salt & pepper
1 (15 oz.) can whole tomatoes, drained and chopped
1/2-3/4 c. chopped fresh basil
1/2 t. crushed red pepper flakes (I just dump and it may end up being a little more than this, I like the kick)
1 c. dry white wine
1/3 c. bottled clam juice (FYI- in HT it is usually near the canned tuna fish, high on shelf)
3/4 c. heavy cream
1/2 c. grated Parmesan cheese (I probably do more like a cup, again I just dump in)

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat.  Add the pasta and cook as directed.  Drain and set pasta aside.

In a large skillet, heat oil over medium-high heat.  Add the shrimp & garlic and season with salt & pepper -- cook until the shrimp are pink (about 3-4 minutes). 

Using a slotted spoon remove the shrimp from the pan and set aside.  You will still have left over oil and garlic in the pan.

Add the tomatoes, 1/4-1/2 c. of the baisil and the red pepper flakes to the skillet and cook about 2 minutes - stirring frequently. 

Add the wine and cook and 2 minutes.  Add the clam juice and cream and bring the mixture to a boil.  Continue cooking on medium-high heat about 7-8 minutes until the sauce thickens.  Mine never gets really thick -- don't expect alfredo like consistency.  Add some of the cheese to the sauce to thicken it up (at the end).
Pic below was towards the beginning of the 7-8 minutes of it simmering

In a large bowl add the pasta, shrimp, sauce and top with the remaining fresh basil and some additional cheese (optional).  Toss together until it's all coated with sauce.  Season more to taste.

My mom wanted to try a fun new dessert recipe so she flipped through my favorite cookbook Giada's Kitchen (more and more of my "go-to" recipes seem to come from this book).
Chocolate Panna Cotta with Amaretto Whipped Cream
That's what she picked and it did not disappoint.  It was very rich after our pasta though!

The following makes at least six servings (you could do smaller because it was rich).

2 c. whole milk
1 c. granulated sugar
1 t. vanilla extract
1 packet of unflavored gelatin
4 eggs, lightly beaten
1 (12 oz.) bag of bittersweet chocolate chips
1/2 c. toasted sliced almonds
1 c. whipping cream
1 T powdered sugar
1 T Amaretto

Preheat oven to 350.  Spray casserole dish or 6 small individual oven-safe dishes (we opted for the latter).

In a small saucepan, combine 1.5 c. of the milk, granulated sugar and the vanilla.  Bring to a simmer and stir until the sugar is dissolved.  Remove from the heat.

In a small bowl, sprinkle the gelatin over the remaining 1/2 c. of cold milk and let it dissolve for 2 min. Combine the cold milk and gelatin with the hot ilk and sugar.  Stir to dissolve the gelatin, about 5 minutes (you can heat the milk gently if the gelatin isn't dissolving easily).  When gelatin is dissolved, combine the eggs with the warm milk mixture, whisking constantaly to avoid scrambling the eggs.  Pour the mixtrue through a fine-mesh strainer into a large mearsuring cup or small pitcher.

Meanwhile melt the chocolate over simmering water in a double boiler.  Once it's melted, gradually combine the milk and egg mixure with the melted chocolate, stirring between each addition to create a smooth chocolate mixture.

Pour the mixture into your pre-greased dish(es).  Sprinkle the top with the slivered almonds.  Place the casserole dish(es) in a larger baking pan and add hot water to the larger pan until the water comes halfway up the sides of the casserole dish.  Place both pans in teh over and bake the panna cotta until the sides are firm and the center jiggles slightly (about 45 minutes-1 hour).  Remove from the oven and let cool for at least 30 minutes.

Just before serving, whip the cream in a medium bowl using an electric hand mixer.  Add the powdered sugar and Amaretto and whip to combine.  Top with the Amaretto whipped cream and enjoy!

We enjoyed hosting you, Mom & Dad!

I found a beautiful chest at the Studio123 sale and decided I couldn't pass it up (it will go in the guest room/home office so it wasn't totally out of the question for me the purchase it, right?!).  Then I found a desk at Revival Antiques for a steal (great lines, but needs some TLC)...more to come!


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