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Challenge Meal #3 – Pasta with Garlicky Shrimp & Arugula

on April 25, 2013

So Challenge Meal #1 and Meal #2 were good, but Meal #3 has been my favorite so far. It’s so simple (you’re really only cooking the shrimp and the pasta – everything else gets thrown in the pot before you serve it), it doesn’t require a lot of ingredients (but you would never guess), and it’s super light despite being a pasta dish. In fact, the pasta almost isn’t even necessary in this dish because everything else is just so delicious – the garlicky shrimp, the peppers, the creamy feta, and the wilted baby arugula. And guess how much this meal cost me? Guess! About $19! You would pay more than that in a fancy Italian restaurant for just one portion. Again, I’m amazed what a little planning can do for my wallet.

I’ve mentioned before that I like a meal to look pretty in addition to tasting good, and I happen to think that this dish is pretty easy on the eyes. Dare I say it even looks a little fancy? I think your guests would totally be impressed if you served this meal at a dinner party, and you wouldn’t even have to spend hours prepping in the kitchen.

Definitely a dinner trifecta: easy, beautiful, and delicious.  

PASTA WITH GARLICKY SHRIMP & ARUGULA

(Again, I’ve noted my freebie ingredients below and tried to measure for you.)

  • 1 lb shrimp, deveined and shells removed
  • 3 garlic cloves, chopped
  • About 1 cup fire roasted peppers, chopped
  • Salt & pepper – FREEBIE
  • Pinch of red pepper flakes – FREEBIE
  • Olive oil (if needed)– FREEBIE
  • Couple splashes of white wine (leftover from Meal #2)
  • 1 lb short pasta (I used strozzapeti)
  • Handful of baby arugula
  • Feta cheese (leftover from Meal #1)

Peel your shrimp. I hate this part. I actually got the shrimp out of the way while my oldest two were at school and while my youngest was napping because, well, trying to peel shrimp with three kids in the house that constantly need me to tie a shoe, build a tower, or break up a fight would mean A LOT of hand washing in between each shrimp. Or my kids would just smell like shrimp the rest of the night. Yuck.

Rinse your shrimp and season with salt and pepper.

Chop your garlic. I only used two garlic cloves because whoa! Check out the size of this clove. HUGE.

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Image(This jar says yellow and red peppers. Unless I’m color blind, there were ZERO yellow peppers in there.)

Heat some of the oil from the jarred peppers in a pan. Add a little olive oil if you can’t seem to get enough out of the jar. Add garlic and a pinch of red pepper flakes to the pan and cook for a minute or two over medium heat, stirring often so that the garlic doesn’t burn.

Add shrimp to pan and cook until they start to turn pink. Add a couple splashes of white wine and finish cooking the shrimp.

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You’ll probably want to taste a shrimp at this point. You know, just to make sure it tastes ok. I went back for a second and third, but don’t tell anyone. I then put them in a bowl along with the sauce from the pan and refrigerated them for later.

Cook your pasta according to the directions on the package. Make sure you cook it just shy of al dente because it will continue to cook for a few more minutes after you add the shrimp. Reserve a few cups of the cooking water, then drain your pasta and return it to the pot.

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If you refrigerated your shrimp like I did, simply throw them and the sauce in the pot with the warm pasta. The pasta will warm them up. Stir to combine and add pasta water one ladle at a time until the sauce thickens a bit (cooking over medium heat).

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Once your sauce has reached your desired consistency and the shrimp and pasta are coated nicely, add chopped peppers, arugula, and feta cheese and stir to combine.

Of course you need to top each serving with a little more feta.

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Quite possibly the best $19 I’ve ever spent. 3 meals down, 2 more to go…

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