Spaghetti Gamberi

Submitted by Gordon Vivace

About the cook: A professional chef, but enough about me.

About the dish: Zesty spaghetti with shrimp, the right and easy way.

National Origin: Italian

Serves: 4

Estimated Time: Under 30 Minutes


1 pound spaghetti
16 large frozen shrimp (10/12 count),
(shelled and deveined, tail-on for presentation)
3 cups marinara
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper
2 cloves garlic, chopped
4 tablespoons butter
Salt and pepper
Fresh spinach, optional


Melt the butter in a pan with the garlic and a small amount of salt and pepper on high. When the butter begins to brown, add the shrimp, still frozen but patted dry, and cook approximately two to three minutes per side. Cooking time will vary with the size of the shrimp and the heat of your pan, but you want the shrimp to be seared brown on the outer skin and just barely opaque at the vein line when it’s done.

When the shrimp is about half way done, drop the spaghetti in boiling water.

Remove the shrimp from the pan when done and add the marinara, or put them aside if you prefer to dress the pasta with them on top just before serving without them being coated in marinara. Immediately lower the heat on the pan to medium-low, but leave it on the burner.

When one minute short of done according to the package directions, add the marinara and crushed red pepper to the pan, turn up the heat if it does not immediately simmer, drain the spaghetti and add it to the pan. Toss everything together for the extra full minute the spaghetti needs to fully cook. It will absorb some of the marinara for both better flavor and even distribution of marinara.

If you find the texture of the spaghetti is too firm for you following this recipe exactly, it’s likely the water was not at a full boil the entire cooking time. You can always test it with a bite to be sure it’s just shy of done before tossing everything together in the pan to ensure you get the texture you want.

Tossing in a few handfuls of fresh spinach when you combine the pasta and marinara so it just wilts is a great way to add a vegetable and more complex mouth feel.

If you’re good at doing multiple things at once, marinara is intended to be a fresh sauce. It generally doesn’t need more than about 20 minutes of cooking time or you lose the fresh tomato flavor that makes it marinara. A crushed clove of garlic, two or three tablespoons of olive oil, basil, salt and pepper to taste and 28 oz can of crushed tomatoes will quickly yield the 3 cups of marinara called for if you don’t keep it on hand. My preference is about 10 or 15 minutes at a simmer, so you’re looking at 20 minutes total to toss the garlic around in the olive oil for a minute, put the rest in there and end up with a great sauce.

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