I was just making meatloaf for supper tonight and wondering if I had ever posted my recipe (I had). However, that mental irrelevance reminded me that The Lovely One wanted me to remember and record* a recipe we pieced together helter-skelter awhile ago and just ate the leftovers last night…
Last Saturday night My Beloved and I enjoyed an invented dish.** She had felt like having shrimp but didnʼt want me to marinade and grill them as we usually would do. I had pulled the bags of frozen, precooked shrimp from our freezer the day before and placed them within the refrigerator to thaw, so we were basically ready to go. Precooked shrimp just need to get warmed, after all.
Once Janet concluded her nearly weekly phone call with her sister,*** we got started on dinner. We had no plan. She-Who-Must-Be-Obeyed was feeling creative…
So she had me chop up an onion and sauté that in a tablespoon or so of olive oil with some diced garlic (lots of the last, to my taste) as she cut up some asparagus that we had found on sale (reduced a buck a bunch) as we bought groceries that morning. She added the asparagus to my onions and garlic and decided we needed some diced tomatoes. When she noticed that the can I brought in from the storage cupboards was “Italian style,” our dishʼs orientation was set. We dumped the drained can into the onions, garlic and asparagus, and she decided we needed a second can. I also brought in two cans of button mushrooms (sliced), which she okayed adding.
Then we spiced and seasoned — a dash or four of hot sauce, pepper, a pinch of sea salt, some paprika,**** a pinch of red pepper flakes (and whatever sounds good to you when you make this; the “Italian style” tomatoes tasted like they had oregano, basil, rosemary, thyme and probably marjoram). We continued cooking until the asparagus was still crunchy but tenderized. And we removed the tails from our no-longer-frozen shrimps.
Meanwhile, Janet selected spaghetti as the proper pasta (now that our shrimp dish had taken an Italian turn). We had a box of whole wheat (because I like the taste of whole wheat products — fully flavored), of which she used about half, precooking those many sticks of pasta, broken in half and/or thirds. As the pasta was cooked al dente and drained, I added the shrimp (which only needed to get warmed) and a bit of corn-starch water to thicken the “broth” we had created, then the spaghetti and a handful or so of shredded “Italian cheeses” — mozzarella, provolone, Romano, asiago and Parmesan (it was a packaged product). We kept cooking for maybe another five minutes and then, transferring to two plates, ate.
The result? It was wonderful. Thatʼs why you are reading about it today (finally).
Here are the ingredients…
- large onion (or two)
- garlic (crushed)
- fresh asparagus (letʼs pound or so, cut into about one-inch pieces)
- diced tomatoes (two cans or four to five fresh tomatoes)
- mushrooms (two cans or plenty of fresh ones — which, if fresh, should be sautéed before adding the asparagus)
- shrimp (we used frozen precooked, and so added them only at the last minute to warm; otherwise you add them either before or after the onions and garlic and cook until just about pink) — remove tails
- pasta (we used whole wheat spaghetti broken in half, cooked and then mixed into the dish at the very end, along with some shredded Italian cheeses — not much of the last though)
- corn starch (mixed with a little water and gradually added to the dish to thicken — just a very little)
The preparation and cooking steps are narrated above.
* Okay, it wasnʼt reallly that much of an invention. But since we didnʼt know what we were doing or where we were headed, coming out with incredibly edible food in the end felt wonderful. And inventive.
** (somewhere; I am fairly confident she did not mean here)
*** Janet and her sister generally speak for a couple of winey hours most Saturdays, which is why I often get something written those afternoons. Then in the evening we like to enjoy our “best” meal of the week, making something “nice.” That goal usually means I grill. And we get bread! Last Saturday it was “rounds” — sliced baguette with olive oil and garlic salt, broiled in the oven.
**** I have been adding paprika to just about everything I cook since we returned from Budapest (and I will finish our weekʼs trip review someday).
I almost entitled this post “Serendipity.” It would have been more than splendidly appropriate.