Prep 10 mins
Cook 10 mins
This is a quick and flavorful dish that I pieced together from a half-remembered cooking show. The licorice flavor of the fennel works well with the shrimp and red pepper. In addition to being fast, it also reheats exceptionally well. I've always done the ingredients by eye, so all measurements should be treated as approximate. With a little planning you can do a lot of the prep and cooking in parallel. May be used as a main dish or as a side.
- 2 -3 tablespoons olive oil
- 3 -5 garlic cloves
- 1 lb med-large shrimp, shelled & deveined (shrimp should be about the same size as your pasta shells)
- 2 cups medium pasta shells (cooked volume should approximately equal volume of shrimp)
- 1 large fennel bulb, with greens (or 2 med)
- red pepper flakes
- 1⁄8 cup fine grated parmesan cheese (optional)
- In a large pot bring water to a boil. If you have them handy, toss in a few shrimp shells to flavor the water. Be sure to remove them before putting in the pasta.
- Cook pasta according to manufacturer's directions.
- Remove & drain cooked pasta from water with slotted spoon, reserving about 2 cups of liquid.
- Bring another pot of water to boil to blanch the fennel.
- While the water is heating, cut the greens off the fennel, remove the tough outer layer and quarter the bulbs. Keep the greens.
- Blanche fennel for 30-seconds to 1 minute in boiling water.
- Finely chop the leafy greens for use as a garnish.
- Slice blanched fennel bulb to pieces about the same size as the shrimp.
- In a large sauté pan heat olive oil over med-high heat.
- Slice/dice/crush garlic & sauté in hot oil (the finer the garlic, the stronger the flavor. For very mild flavor, slice the garlic thick & remove before adding any other ingredients).
- Add shrimp and some pepper flakes to pan. Cook shrimp in oil, about 1 minute each side.
- Remove shrimp from pan.
- Add fennel pieces to pan, and sauté for 1-2 minutes with pepper flakes to taste.
- Reduce heat to med and add pasta to pan, along with 1 1/2 cup of pasta water. The pasta water will form a creamy sauce.
- Stir while cooking about 2 minutes. If sauce cooks down too quickly or is not enough, add more pasta water.
- Add salt and pepper flakes to taste.
- Add shrimp back & stir to evenly coat with sauce.
- Just before serving toss in about 2 tablespoons of chopped fennel greens and parmesan cheese. Make any final salt/pepper adjustments.
- Serve garnished with additional fennel greens.