Gulf Shrimp and Ham AlfredoSpruce up your regular Alfredo with the addition of some simple, canned, diced ham and some clam juice. With the tides turning for the better, in great part due to the implementation of the three Covid 19 vaccines; Pfizer, Moderna and Johnson and Johnson, I feel that I can safely begin to dwindle down the pantry ingredients acquired out of necessity. We are not out of the woods just yet though, and its imperative that we remain vigilant in our course, to effectively turn the corner on this nightmare that is a Pandemic. Being aware is all of our responsibilities and continuing to wear our masks, at the very least until we are personally vaccinated is to our benefit. Soon, sooner than later even, we will be back to business as usual. I am now comfortable enough to start using some of these dried and canned goods I have amassed as well, so get ready for some recipes featuring legumes of all sorts! Admittedly, I used a box version of a Tuna Casserole, just out of curiosity, by a certain brand that features a guy whose name rhymes with Harry and may or may not be involved with fiber optics (chuckles to myself) and they absolutely abhorred it. I just followed the instructions, so I don't feel like it was a personal attack on my culinary fortitude, but the kids certainly won't let me live it down! I actually have a very solid and delicious recipe I wrote for Tuna Casserole, but unfortunately, they seem to only remember the one I made last. I wasn't impressed either, to me it was 'just food', but I kept my poker face to the end and was relieved when my portion was no more. There was something about the sauce and the tuna, sad face. I am glad I only purchased one pair of those kits, though the brand has other kits that are solid and worth the very affordable cost of a buck!
The canned, diced ham is another such purchase. On it's own, it is a very plain and unimpressive affair, lacking any pizzazz and very little flavor. I remedied that, as best I could, by draining it from its watery grave and patting it dry. I then proceeded to saute it in some olive oil, getting some good color on it and adding texture, then using it as the base for this recipe's sauce and pairing it with an elevated ingredient, Gulf Shrimp. This recipe is inspired additionally by a Roman born Carbonara, a rich and amazing pasta dish that features cured pork, raw egg, black pepper and a hard cheese, with the egg and pasta water, stirred in at the end and cooked by the heat of the pasta! Delish!
1 lb. 41-60 Wild Gulf Shrimp, if frozen, thawed, cleaned
1 5 oz. can cooked, diced ham in water, drained and patted dry
1 lb. Fettuccine, cooked al dente in salted water, about 7 to 8 minutes, reserving 1 c. pasta water
3 tbsp. AP flour
4 tbsp. unsalted butter, divided
2 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
1/2 c. chopped yellow onion,
3 -4 cloves garlic, chopped or finely minced
1 12 oz. can evaporated milk or 12 oz. whole milk
1 bottle of clam juice, 8 oz.
1 cup. pasta water with 1/2 c. hot water to equal 1 1/2 c.
4 oz. grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 c. fresh parsley, roughly chopped
SPST (Salt and Pepper to Suit Taste)
Garlic bread, baked and cut into thirds for garnish, optional
Over medium high heat, in a heavy bottomed pan drizzled with olive oil and 1/2 of butter, brown ham, getting caramelization on all sides, about 4 minutes.
Add butter and once melted and shrimp and saute until no longer pink, about 5 minutes.
Remove shrimp and ham from pan and cover to keep warm.
Reduce heat to medium.
Add onion and continue to cook until onions are translucent, another 4 minutes.
Add garlic and cook until fragrant, about 2 minutes.
Sprinkle in flour, gradually and cook for about 1 minute.
Add pasta water and bring up to a boil and allow to thicken.
Add clam juice.
Continue to simmer for several more minutes and add milk.
Allow to come back up to temperature and stir in cheese.
Heat and simmer more to thicken.
Add pasta to coat and heat through.
Fold in ham and shrimp and drizzle in a bit more olive oil, as needed.
If too thick, add a splash of milk or water, chicken broth if desired to reach desired consistency.
Garnish with Parsley and Olive oil.
Serves 8 to 10.