Shrimp in Tomato Basil Cream Sauce

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Fresh Tomato Basil Cream Sauce

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Shrimp & Fresh Pasta in Tomato Basil Cream Sauce

 “It’s no secret that I love tomatoes, homemade pasta and seafood…

…and the multiple combinations and possibilities using herbs, wines, butters and cream. Having worked in many restaurants, we often made tomato and cream sauces, calling them “Rose Sauces”. The term was used as a quick way to communicate to our guests about the color of the sauce, but it did not succeed in describing the flavors or ingredients to them. Over time, I dropped that term from my menus, and wrote descriptively about tomato sauces; offering critical ingredients that dominated the flavors of the dish. If made often, you will see when combining tomatoes and cream, the results can vary depending upon the type of cream and its origin, or where the tomatoes and garlic were grown. These factors do influence the flavors in your sauce. This fact holds true for the origin of all your ingredients. So I am careful and choosy when making classic sauces. For this dish, I decided to bring back a classic sauce using fresh pasta, tomatoes, cream and shrimp. Note: If you do not eat, do not want, or do not have shrimp on hand – this sauce and dish work equally as well without. You may also choose to omit the cream, and use as a delicious “any day” Tomato Sauce.

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Natural, Quality Ingredients

The tomatoes I used for this recipe are ripe whole tomatoes in puree (canned) from Italy, the cream is local and organic, the garlic and basil were grown in upper Bucks County. This is an easy recipe that anyone can make at home. So, Let’s Get Cooking! 🙂 ” ~ Chef Bruce

 Fresh Tomato Basil Cream Sauce

(with Shrimp & Fresh Pasta}

Prep Time: 20 minutes ** Cooking time: 20 minutes

* Natural Ingredients: (Serves 2)

4 ounces fresh pasta (you may use dry as well).

** Cook the pasta according to directions, but do not over cook the pasta. The pasta will be added to the shrimp and sauce so it will be cooked a bit more in the sauce.

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Fresh, Homemade Pasta

2 Tbsp Extra Virgin Olive oil

2 Tbsp unsalted butter

10 Shrimp, shelled and deveined *

1 Tblsp Chopped fresh garlic

1/4 tsp red pepper flakes, or chopped fresh chilies

1/4 cup dry white wine (I prefer Pinot Grigio or Sauvignon Blanc)

1/2 cup diced tomatoes in puree, or use your own fresh tomato sauce

1/2 cup fresh cream (I used organic half & half)

1/2 tsp salt

Fresh milled black pepper

1/4 cup chopped fresh basil leaves

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Simmering the Tomatoes, Herbs & Spices

* Method:

  1. Place a 10 or 12 inch sauté pan on medium flame. Add the olive oil and butter.
  2. When the butter is melted and starts to sizzle, add the shrimp to the pan in single layer. Cook the shrimp on both sides for about one minute each side.
  3. Add the garlic and stir but do not burn the garlic. Add the white wine and cook for about one minute.
  4. Add the tomatoes and bring to a boil.
  5. Add the cream, salt, milled pepper and basil. Bring to a boil again and then add the cooked pasta.
  6. Stir all ingredients together and taste if more salt or pepper is needed. If you think you need more sauce, just add a few tablespoons more cream.
  7. Plate, and serve. If your pasta absorbs the sauce, you may add a few tablespoons of water or chicken stock. Enjoy!
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Fresh Tomato Basil Cream Sauce w Pasta

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Easy Garden Tomato Vegetable Soup – A Recipe Your Grandma Would Approve!

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Serves 4  *  Prep Time: 20 minutes  *  Cooking Time: 20 minutes

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Garden Tomato Soup

The abundance of tomatoes and zucchini in Pennsylvania is staggering in the month of August. The price is right, quality is super, so of course my “chef antennae” go to work.

I ask myself, what can I create that is easy to make, and that the family will eat? (always my dilemma)

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The recipe below is quick, economical, tastes great and makes you feel like you are eating healthy. And you can tell Grandma you ate your vegetables today!

 

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 Easy Tomato Vegetable Soup

I added a couple time saving tips that will not affect the flavor, if time is short.

* Ingredients:

1 cup pasta, (I used brown rice macaroni, but you can use any pasta)

2 Tblsp Olive Oil

2 cloves garlic, chopped coarsely

1/2 red or white onion coarsely chopped

1 small fresh green pepper coarsely chopped

1 large carrot, sliced in coins or 1/2 inch dice

1/4 cup fresh fennel bulb, coarsely chopped

3 cups fresh tomato puree from tomatoes that are peeled and pureed in your food processor (if time is short, use V-8 juice or tomato juice)

2 cups chicken stock (if time is short use water)

1 Zucchini, 1/2 inch dice

1 tsp salt

Ground black pepper (5 turns of the pepper mill)

1 tsp sugar

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Softening the Vegetables

* Method:

  1. Cook pasta according to package directions, wash the pasta, cool and set the pasta aside.
  2. When you start cooking the pasta, place a 4-6 quart stock pot on medium flame and immediately add the olive oil.
  3. Add the garlic, onion, fresh pepper, carrot and fennel and stir; do not burn or try to get color on the vegetable; just get them hot. This takes about 5 minutes.
  4. Add the zucchini, chicken stock, tomato puree, salt, ground pepper and sugar and turn the flame to high heat.
  5. Bring the soup to a boil and cook on a boil for 10 minutes.
  6. Add the cooked pasta, bring to the boil. Soup is ready to serve.
  7. Enjoy!
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Easy Tomato Soup, Ready to Enjoy!

Seared Shrimp over Summer Salad ~ Summertime on a Plate! (Story and Recipe by Chef Bruce)

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It’s Saturday morning. The windows are open and bright sunlight fills my kitchen while I’m cooking and prepping for the weekend. By 11am, my kitchen feels like 100 degrees. All I want is a cold beer and a chilled lunch. What can I make quickly for me and Jane that will get me to my Two Brothers French Ale and some yummy food?

     ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Here is some insight into how I create quick dishes. I look in the fridge & pantry. I see raw shrimp, baby lettuces that have to be used soon, fresh fennel bulb that has been sitting in the fridge for 5 days and one corn on the cob I bought two days ago. In my pantry are several ripe cherry tomatoes, a half a baguette and a mango that is begging to be used. Jane just bought a bottle of first press olive oil and I have raw honey on my work station. I can put those ingredients together! I see some type of salad, topped with tasty shrimp and an easy dressing.

The Pan Seared Shrimp over Summer Salad is actually two recipes

that come together on one plate.

The 1st recipe is the chilled corn & tomato & mango salad (crunchy, sweet, acidic).

The 2nd recipe to prepare is the warm pan seared shrimp (zesty, sweet, salty).

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Seared Shrimp over Summer Salad

 Pan Seared Shrimp over Summer Salad

Serves 2   *   Prep and cook time: 30-45 minutes

Corn & Tomato & Mango Salad (chilled):
1 Tblsp rice wine vinegar

1 tsp honey

1 corn on the cob, boiled, corn cut off the cob

1 cup halved ripe cherry tomatoes

1/2 cup diced fresh mango

1/4 cup, or less, diced fresh fennel bulb

1/4 tsp or less salt

Fresh milled pepper

1 Tblsp chopped fresh cilantro (optional)

2 handfuls chopped lettuce or greens (any kind)

1 Tblsp olive oil

Method:

  1. In a mixing bowl, add the vinegar and honey. Stir until they combine.
  2. Add the remaining ingredients and stir lightly to not break up the tomatoes.
  3. Place the lettuce on two dinner sized plates
  4. Spoon the salad over the lettuce

 

Pan Seared Shrimp (hot):

1 Tblsp oil

10 large raw shrimp, shelled and deveined; pat dry

1 tsp Gojuchang Korean chili paste; or 1 tsp Sriracha

Pinch salt

1/2 tsp honey

1 tsp olive oil

Method:

  1. Place shrimp in a small bowl and coat the shrimp with the chili paste or Sriracha
  2. Place sauté pan on fire, add oil, get oil hot, add shrimp and sauté on both sides.
  3. When the shrimp are cooked, drizzle the honey over the shrimp.
  4. Immediately spoon the shrimp over the salad. (If you leave the shrimp and honey in the hot pan, the honey will burn)
  5. Drizzle the olive oil over both salads.
  6. Enjoy!

Plum Tomato Sauce – A Love Story (and Recipe!)

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* The Love Story *

Jane and I are avid local farm supporters. I must have fresh ingredients and what is fresher than my local farmer picking tomatoes from the vine the very day I make fresh plum tomato sauce! It’s a win-win for me and the hard working farmer.

The tomatoes in this recipe were picked at Ken’s Farm, right on Street Road in Warrington, Pennsylvania. I go to his farm three times a week. I love to cast my eye over the vegetable field and watch his son carefully pick the ripest vegetables, fill wood baskets and walk these beauties up the hill to the little stand by the road. I strike up a conversation with Ken. He tells me a story about when he first worked this field with a friend. When it was time for lunch, Ken would pick tomatoes, peppers, onion, basil, olive oil; season them good and wrap all in a big aluminum foil package and place it over a fire. Ken just loves vegetables. He tells me that he is learning every year; about planting in stages, and how he tends the field. While he is talking, I can see the chicken coop beyond the field. I turn to Jane, “Hey Jane, grab a couple dozen organic eggs while you’re picking up the cantaloupes”. Ken goes on telling me that his baby yellow cherry tomatoes sell out faster than he can pick them; he just can’t keep up with demand. A good problem for sure. “Hey Jane, get me that last basket of the little yellow cherry tomatoes while your grabbing that watermelon”.

It’s so much fun knowing that my end product will succeed with such outstanding fresh product. Thanks Ken.

~  Story & Recipe by Bruce

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* Plum Tomato Sauce Recipe *

This is a great versatile sauce for any pasta, lasagna, cheese raviolis; a great dipping sauce for fried food. Admittedly, I love this sauce as dip for French fries (chefs would never admit that, but it is soooo good).

Preparing the plum tomatoes:

You need about 2 quarts peeled and deseeded fresh plum tomatoes.

Start with about 4 quarts whole fresh plum tomatoes and after blanching and deseeding, you will end up with the 2 quarts needed for this recipe.

(I highly recommend preparing the tomatoes before gathering the other ingredients).

See the photos for how to successfully blanch, peel and deseed fresh plum tomatoes.

When blanching tomatoes, the water should be boiling. Start with one gallon boiling water in a large stock pot. Place about 6 tomatoes at a time in the boiling water. Remove after 30 seconds and place in an ice bath. Continue until all tomatoes are blanched.

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Using a paring knife, remove the skins keeping the peeled tomatoes in a bowl to save all the juice. Discard the skins.

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Then cut each tomato in half. Using the other end of a spoon, scrape out the seeds into another bowl. When all the tomatoes are halved and seeded, pour the seeds into a strainer and capture the juice. Discard the seeds.

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Pureeing the plum tomatoes:

I prefer to use the food processor to save time, instead of hand chopping. I puree about 2 cups of the halved tomatoes at a time thus avoiding big chunks or over pureed tomatoes. I recommend pulsing the food processor.  When I was a chef, I saw cooks use a buffalo chopper to puree the tomatoes (overflow was common). I saw some cooks use a meat grinder (red rain across the kitchen); a stick mixer (takes practice accomplishing uniformity). At home, I am not making 20 gallons, so the food processor works just fine.

Remaining Ingredients:

1/4 cup olive oil

1/3 cup chopped garlic

1/2 tsp red pepper flakes

1 cup diced onion

1/4 cup tomato paste

The 2 quarts pureed plum tomatoes

2 bay leaves

1 tsp dried oregano or 2 tsp chopped fresh oregano

2 tsp sugar

1 tsp salt

A few grinds of the peppermill

1/2 cup chopped fresh basil

Making the sauce:

  1. Place a 6 quart enamel coated or anodized aluminum pot on a very small flame.
  2. Add olive oil, garlic and red pepper flakes
  3. Sautee until the garlic starts to sizzle- do not burn the garlic.
  4. Add the onions and sauté while stirring until the onions are translucent
  5. Add the tomato paste and stir well until the paste is incorporated. Cook about 2 minutes.
  6. Add the plum tomatoes and stir thoroughly.
  7. Add the remaining ingredients except for the fresh basil
  8. Cook on low flame, stirring often for about an hour or two until the sauce reduces and starts to thicken. You may place the pot in the oven and cook the sauce, but I prefer to stir often and keep an eye to prevent over cooking.
  9. Add the fresh basil and stir. Check for salt. If you think the sauce is a bit acidic for your taste, you may add 1 Tblsp of unsalted butter
  10. Allow to cool for about an hour
  11. I prefer to store the sauce in glass, CorningWare, or enamel coated cookware. Avoid plastic storage containers if possible.
  12. Enjoy The Freshest Tomato Sauce you every had!

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* Fresh Tomato & Corn Relish * – ‘Tis the Season!

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Crisp and bright, this easy to make side dish works well served with sandwiches or fried entrees. A great use for the abundance of tomatoes we have in summer!

~ Fresh Tomato & Corn Relish ~

Ingredients:

1 cup cooked corn

1/2 cup diced fresh tomatoes

1 Tblsp diced onion

1 tsp sugar

1 tsp rice wine vinegar

Pinch salt

1 Tblsp fresh chopped cilantro or basil (optional)

2-4 drops hot sauce (optional)

Method:

  1. Mix the vinegar and sugar in a mixing bowl until the sugar dissolves
  2. Add the remaining ingredients. Mix only until combined

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