Recipe by Chef Tony M.
This recipe combines grilled shrimp brushed with lemon butter and sprinkled with Creole seasoning. The shrimp is added to a mixture of red bell pepper slices simmered in olive oil with garlic and onions. Alfredo sauce is then added to the shrimp and peppers and laced lightly with cayenne pepper to kick it up a bit. This mixture is then served over a bed of angel hair pasta. I created this about two years ago on a whim and it has become a family favorite. The trick is not to make it too spicy - but the flavors of the grilled shrimp, sweet peppers and light amount of spicy alfredo is a real delight in our house. I doubt this recipe is original, but it is something my family asks me to make for special occasions because it is a favorite. The timing of the cooking of the pasta, peppers and shrimp is essential to avoid overcooking any of the ingredients. Think ahead, go for it and enjoy!
- 1 lb pre-cooked shrimp
- 15 ounces alfredo sauce
- 2 teaspoons creole seasoning
- 1 -2 tablespoon lemon juice
- 8 -12 ounces angel hair pasta or 8 -12 ounces pasta, of your choice
- 1⁄8 lb butter
- 3 -4 tablespoons olive oil
- 1⁄2 medium yellow onion
- 1 -1 1⁄2 red bell pepper (use only fresh peppers, not frozen)
- 1⁄8-1⁄4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1 teaspoon lemon pepper (use the kind without salt)
- 3 -4 garlic, gloves to taste
- 2 tablespoons chicken base (paste) or 4 bullion cubes in an 8-quart stock pot filled 3/4 with water
Directions See How It's Made
- Preparations: Defrost shrimp (if needed) in cold water (20-30 minutes), remove tails off the shrimp, drain and set aside.
- Dice onion and garlic. Cut the top off the bell peppers, remove seeds and interior meat and slice bell peppers into strips suitable for eating and set vegetables aside.
- Prepare water for boiling.the pasta and mix in chicken soup base in the water to flavor the pasta.
- Get the grill started and let it get hot.
- In a cup or small bowl combine 1/2 the butter, (melted) and lemon juice enough to brush both sides of the shrimp once on the grill. In a large pan pour about 1 tablespoon of olive oil into the pan. In a separate cup, pour the rest of the olive oil or as much olive oil into it as you think you need to coat the grates of your grill. I have a gas-fired grill, but electric or charcoal grills will work also. If you try to 'fry' the shrimp in a pan or stove-top grill it won't turn out as good because the shrimp will sit in too much moisture.
- Cooking: It takes about 10 minutes for the pasta to cook and about the same time to cook up the peppers and shrimp. You have to cook three things at once for a few minutes and move fast. I never seem to remember the sequence exactly but it goes something like this:.
- Get your pasta water boiling on high.
- Make sure your grill is hot.
- Turn the heat on your pan to high to heat up the olive oil.- don't let it burn.
- Brush the grates on your grill with olive oil - it helps to keep the shrimp from sticking to the grill. Allow the oil on the grates to heat up. Return to the pan.
- Once the olive oil in the pan is hot, toss in the garlic, onions and peppers. Turn down heat to medium-high heat and let the onions and garlic caramelize with the peppers. Sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste.
- Toss the pasta in the water and cook for required time. Usually 8-10 minutes - DON'T overcook or undercook it. Stir occasionally.
- Take shrimp and place on the grill. Quickly brush lemon butter over each piece of shrimp. Sprinkle (not to heavy here) with Creole seasoning and lemon pepper. Close the lid and let cook 3- 5 minutes on each side.
- Go back to the pan and turn pepper, union, garlic mixture. Don't let onion or garlic burn, but cook peppers until tender-crisp only. Turn down heat if necessary. It will take the peppers a little time 7-10 minutes) to start softening.
- Stir and check pasta.
- After about 3-5 minutes on the grill turn the shrimp over, brush again with lemon butter and sprinkle with spices, close lid. Usually the shrimp will get done before the other ingredients. Try not to overcook the shrimp here, it will still cook slightly after adding to the pan. If the other ingredients are done or getting done, take them off the heat until shrimp is done. Keep a watchful eye on your foods.
- Once the shrimp is done on the grill, the should be slightly firm, slightly browned, yet tender. Add grilled shrimp to peppers in the pan once the peppers are tender-crisp. Turn heat down to low-medium. Pour in enough alfredo sauce to coat all the shrimp and peppers. I use a store-bought sauce. If you know how to make your own Alfredo sauce - go for it. My preference when it comes to Alfredo sauce is to taste it without having my food swim in it. If you like your food to swim in the sauce- add more Alfredo. Stir. Bring sauce to a slight simmer then turn heat down to low. Sprinkle Cayenne pepper lightly over the mixture a little bit at a time. Stir. Taste. Add more cayenne if necessary. Too much cayenne and you spoil it, Too little cayenne and the dish lacks the flavor. It should be just enough to taste the cayenne pepper and alfredo sauce without it being too hot on the tongue. Once you have it just right, cover the pan with a lid but keep warm to let the flavors meld together while you get the pasta and serving dishes ready. Do not let the sauce simmer at this point or the shrimp will and peppers may be overcooked.
- Drain pasta and add butter (don't overdo it) as angel hair tends to stick together. Stir.
- You can prepare each place individually to ensure each person gets an equal share of the shrimp and peppers with pasta or I like to place the pasta in one bowl and the shrimp, pepper mixture in a large serving dish. People can then take as much pasta as they want and then place the shrimp/pepper/sauce mixture over the top of the pasta. It may not look real pretty and people eating this for the first time may want just a "little taste" before they come back for more. Yet, despite appearances, the aroma, flavors and different textures will be good. Usually, this will serve 4 people. If you make a whole box of pasta, some of it gets wasted - that is why I suggest using half to 3/4 of the box. If you like more sauce, add it to the shrimp/pepper mixture when cooking so you have some extra. You can experiment with different pastas, but I have found that the angel hair is a nice compliment to the delicate shrimp and the pasta should have a slight flavor of its own than blends in nicely with the shrimp and peppers. The peppers, if good and fresh will have an almost sweet taste to offset the spices, but be an excellent match with the shrimp's texture.
- This goes great with a nice spring-mix type salad, crispy bread and a good bottle of Petite Syrah (red) wine or a quality (white) Chardonnay followed with a small amount of raspberry sorbet to cleanse the palate. .