Most of the time, we don’t really feel the need to go out to eat. We’d rather spend the money making something extra special at home, and there aren’t many places we eat around us that make things we can’t make in our own kitchen.
Because we don’t like noisy, crowded restaurants, we have always stayed home on Valentine’s rather than fighting the crowds in the college town we live in. What can we say? We prefer a quiet, romantic night at home to the parking nightmare, shout-across-the-table-to-be-heard, no-elbow-room-in-the-lobby atmosphere of a restaurant.
Call us old-fashioned… we do it all the time.
When Michael and I do go out to eat, I love ordering shrimp. Living in a seafood desert, I don’t have much chance to buy fresh shrimp, but I absolutely love it (Honey Walnut Shrimp from P.F. Chang’s anyone?). It’s something special that I often enjoy more at a restaurant than at home.
This year for Valentine’s, I had a hankering for shrimp and we decided to give using frozen raw shrimp a go. It went pretty well, and I really enjoyed our dinner–shrimp pasta with tomato cream sauce, “house” salad with homemade croutons, and apple tarte tatin for dessert. It was perfect!
I adapted this recipe from one in The Pioneer Woman’s cookbook, and I really enjoyed it!
- ¾lb small pasta (penne or bowties/farfalle)
- 1lb shrimp, peeled, deveined, and tails removed
- 2 Tbsp butter
- 1 Tbsp olive oil
- 1 small onion, diced
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 (8oz) cans tomato sauce
- ½c half-and-half
- salt and pepper
- ⅓c lightly packed chopped basil
- parmesan cheese for garnish, if desired
- Cook pasta according to package directions, until al dente (with a small bite). Drain, reserving ½c pasta water.
- In a large skillet, cook shrimp with 1 Tbsp butter over medium heat until just opaque and pink, 3-4 minutes. Remove from pan and set aside. If the shrimp you used was large, chop it into bite-sized pieces. In same pan, melt remaining Tbsp butter with olive oil and cook onions until translucent and tender, about 4-5 minutes. Add garlic and cook 1-2 minutes more until fragrant.
- Return shrimp to pan. Add tomato sauce and half and half. Toss sauce with cooked pasta and thin sauce with pasta water as desired to coat (I don’t like it too thick). Salt and pepper to taste. Stir in chopped basil and serve with parmesan cheese as desired.