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The flavor of fresh tomatoes sautéed with garlic and fresh basil is one of my favorite Italian dishes. It’s one of the rare lighter dishes you can find on Italian menus everywhere, but still gluten pasta is something that adds an unneeded bloat! If you haven’t tried quinoa pasta yet you must do so ASAP! It tastes no different from the regular gluten pasta!!
This is my healthy version with a slight twist to the vegetarian style pomodoro. I added the shrimp scampi idea without all the heavy wine and butter! With my take on the two, you have the freshness of the pomodoro and the shrimp from the scampi with a spicy twist! It’s so easy even the complete novice cook couldn’t screw this up. If you’re like my family you’ll want to make two: one without shrimp and one as-is for the non-picky eaters! Enjoy!
*Optional: Parmigiano-Reggiano – a few ounces; shaved for garnish
Prep shrimp: Remove shells and tail from shrimp. Hold shrimp by it’s tail with your thumb and index finger of right hand and with your left hand place thumb and index finger on both sides of it’s body and delicately pull down in one quick swipe bringing the entire shell off. Then holding the body, pull the tail gently to remove.
Throw away the shells and tails and rinse shrimps under a low stream of cold running water. Lay them flat over two layers of paper towels, covered with another layer. Allow them to dry entirely and set aside while prepping the pasta.
Fill a medium pot halfway with water and heat over high flame, covered. While waiting for the water to boil, prep the garlic and tomatoes:
Garlic: Remove outer skin by cutting off big root with knife, then lay knife flat over it and give it a swift smash with your hand. The skin will split open – just pull off and discard, then mince with your chef knife or put through a garlic press. Rinse and tear stems from the basil. Stack the leaves up length-way, then turn and chop into chiffonade (just a fancy way of saying thin strips)
Tomatoes: Cut into quarters, remove seeds by scraping them out in one swift slice, then discard and cut into large dices.
When water comes to a rapid boil, remove lid and add a good amount of salt to the water followed by the quinoa pasta. Stir once to separate and cover, reduce heat to medium, stirring occasionally – just every few minutes or so.
While pasta is cooking, heat a large sauté pan heat over high for about 40 seconds and then add a few drizzles of olive oil, followed immediately by the garlic and red pepper flakes. Sauté, moving with wooden spoon constantly for about 20 seconds (just to get their aromatics out but you don’t want to brown them) then add the prepped (dabbed completely dry) shrimp, a few pinches sea salt, toss, add a few drizzles more olive oil and fresh cracked pepper.
Sauté (shaking and moving with wooden spoon every minute) for about 3 to 5 minutes or until shrimp is pink and ends are curled into each other (but not too much or it means you’ve overlooked them) – see pic for how they should look. You want to be sure to watch not to overcook the shrimp as this can happen fast. Once shrimp are done pour onto plate and cover.
With flame still on high, add the tomatoes and a bit more garlic. Cook for about 3-4 minutes, just until they start to release their juices. Check pasta – when al dente remove and strain. Add shrimp back in along with basil and stir for 1 minute to warm through and finish cooking the shrimp. Stir in pasta and turn off after 30 seconds just to warm it through. Watch time so not to overcook shrimp.
To serve add more fresh basil and shaved Parmigiano-Reggiano if using.
Melanie is a San Diego native, a lover of outdoor activities, cooking, friends & family, & is an entrepreneur at heart. As a personal chef and fitness coach, she has been able to combine her two career passions – which has proven to be an exciting journey. Inspired by a love for cooking & entertaining, Melanie attended the Art Institute of San Diego and in 2006, she became a personal chef. Ever since been then, she has been preparing nutritious gourmet meals (personal meal deliveries & private party catering) for residents in La Jolla, Carmel Valley and all over North County San Diego. Melanie is NASM (National Academy of Sports Medicine) certiﬁed and is the founder of Rock Body Food. Melanie truly loves her job of teaching others how to do what she loves & lives herself!