Alaska Spot Shrimp with Bucatini Pasta
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 1.5 Hours
2 Pounds spot (or other shell-on) shrimp
1 Tablespoons olive oil
1 Small onion, chopped
1 Medium fennel bulb, chopped
1 Celery stalk, chopped
1 Garlic clove, crushed
1 Tablespoon tomato paste
2 Sprigs fresh thyme
1 Cup crushed tomatoes (San Marzano if available)
1/2 cup Dry white wine (whatever you’re drinking is fine) 🙂
1 Small jalapeño, chopped fine
3 Tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
12 Ounces bucatini* pasta
4-5 Fresh basil leaves, torn
1/4 Cup thinly sliced scallions
First deal with the crustaceans: shell and devein the shrimp. Cut shrimp lengthwise and set aside in the fridge. Heat the olive oil in a large pot, add the onion, fennel, celery and garlic. Cook about 5-6 minutes, just until softened, stirring often. Add all the shrimp shells and cook another few minutes until shells turn opaque. Add tomato paste and stir to coat shells and aromatics.
Add thyme, tomatoes, wine and 6 cups of water and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for about 1-1.5 hours. When done, strain stock through a fine mesh strainer. Discard solids and put shrimp stock in an airtight container. You can make this a day ahead, or even freeze it for later use, as this recipe makes a bit more that you’ll need. Really nice stock.
Bring 2 cups of the stock and the jalapeños to a boil in a really large skillet (I used a low-sided dutch oven, which worked perfectly) over medium and simmer until reduced by 2/3rds. Takes about 7-8 minutes.
Meanwhile, cook the bucatini in a large pot of boiling salted water. Cook according to directions, but 7 minutes is about al dente. Drain, reserving 1/2 cup of the pasta cooking liquid.
This part goes fast, so I recommend you have your serving plates ready, table set, etc.
Add reserved shrimp to the stock, and cook stirring often. It only takes about 1-2 minutes max and the shrimp is done, turning opaque – careful not to overcook. Add the butter and red pepper. Mix just until butter is melted.
Add pasta to skillet with the shrimp and sauce and cook. Toss gently and add pasta cooking liquid as needed until sauce is glossy and pasta is nicely coated.
Once on plates or in a serving dish top with basil and scallions. Perfection!
This is a recipe inspired by a dish served at Picco in California. Very simple tomato-based seafood and pasta dish, but the shrimp stock adds so much flavor and of course Alaska spot shrimp and fresh herbs are the perfect companions.
*Bucatini is a hollow spaghetti (like a straw, pretty cool). I found it at my local grocery store, but if you can’t find it, any long spaghetti or linguini noodle will work.