Brown Butter and Spinach Shrimp Pasta

I love shrimp, actually adore it. But I cannot cook it or handle it raw myself. So whenever I am really craving it, I go out to eat. Alas, that is not an option this month because of this Cook 90 Challenge. So I called my Mom and asked if she didn’t mind helping me by assisting on this dinner prep.

I went to the store and bought all the stuff (this Delish video had been taunting me). I went to her house and I did all (well almost all) the prep work and she handled the cleaning and seasoning of the shrimp. I did as many of the steps I could, and, from a distance, took photos of her doing the rest.

This was actually a quick and easy dish (except for the peeling and deveining of the shrimp). This would be a super simply weeknight meal. Some of you may look at the photo and think the shrimp is overcooked – alas, required for me. You can cook the shrimp according to the recipe directions and it will be perfect.

IMG_9773Yields 4 to 5 servings
From Delish

4 Tbls butter
1 Pound shrimp, 26-30 (large) peeled and deveined
1 to taste salt, Kosher
1 to taste pepper, black, ground
4 Cloves garlic, fresh minced
1 Large lemon juiced and zested
2 Cups spinach, baby
2 Tbls parsley, flat-leaf chopped
3/4 Pounds pasta, angel hair cooked

Tools Needed:
Le Creuset Signature Enameled Cast-Iron 5-Quart Round Braiser
Kuhn Rikon Epicurean Garlic Press
J.A. HENCKELS INTERNATIONAL Fine Edge Pro 2-pc Asian Knife Set
Microplane 40020 Classic Zester/Grater

In a bowl, season shrimp with salt and pepper; set aside.

In a large sauté pan add butter and heat over medium-low heat. Warm until color begins to brown, about 3 to 4 minutes. It will start to smell nutty and begin foam.

Turn heat up to medium-high. Add shrimp.

Cook until pink, 2 minutes per side.

Scrape the browned bits off of the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon. Stir in garlic and stir for 30 seconds.

Add baby spinach, and toss until spinach begins to wilt.

Add the pasta, lemon juice and lemon zest and toss with tongs until everything is evenly combined.


Check for seasonings and add more salt and pepper, if needed.

Serve immediately.


Creamy Cocktail Sauce

During Culinary School we were often called upon to develop our own recipes for things. My partner in crime was fellow chef Patti Smith. She and I would spend lots of time brainstorming of new items for us to try. Some things wouldn’t work out so well, but most of our creations I still use today and on a regular basis. Here is one of my favorites – this is perfect for steamed or boiled shrimp and has a regular place on our Kentucky Derby Party table.

Creamy Cocktail Sauce
Yields 2 cups

Prep Time: 10 Minutes

1 1/4 Cup mayonnaise
1 Tbls horseradish
2 Tbls chili sauce
2 Tbls ketchup
1 Tbls bell pepper, red finely diced
1 Tbls bell pepper, green finely diced
1 Tbls shallots minced
1 Tbls chives, fresh chopped
1 Tbls vinegar, red wine
1 Tbls oil, vegetable
2 tsp paprika
1 tsp pepper, cayenne
2 tsp sugar, white
1 to taste salt
1 to taste pepper, white, ground

Combine all ingredients in the bowl of a food processor and blend well. Let the sauce stand overnight, covered and refrigerated, to develop its full flavor.

Capellini and White Clam Sauce


This is one of my favorite dishes. Perfect for a weeknight and the only seafood dish I can cook for myself, this is a treat that I try and enjoy one a month. The recipe calls for 2 cans of minced clams, but I usually use 1 can minced and 1 can chopped. Before you scoff at canned clams – they are delicious and a lot less work than buying, scrubbing and cooking whole fresh clams.

If you insist on using fresh, you need to buy a bottle of clam juice to add to the sauce. When it is time to add the clams, you will need to turn the heat up a bit and put a lid on the pan. Steam in the sauce until ALL the clams have opened.

Capellini and White Clam Sauce
From Nancy Sparks Frank (Mom)
Yields 3 servings

2 Tbls butter
2 Tbls oil, olive
2/3 Cups wine, white
13 Ounce(wt)s clams, canned minced (reserve juice)
1 tsp basil, dried
6 Cloves garlic, fresh minced
1/4 Cup parsley, curly chopped
3/4 pound pasta, capellini

In a medium skillet, melt butter and olive oil over medium heat. Add clam juice and wine. Add basil. Let simmer for 5 to 10 minutes, until basil is softened. Add minced garlic. Turn heat to low and simmer for 10 minutes. Add clams, heat through.

Cook pasta as desired.

Add parsley to the sauce, stir and serve over cooked pasta.