Monday, February 13, 2012

Classy Dinner Party Tomato Shrimp Pasta

In my family, birthdays are a big deal.  Actually, that's an understatement.  Birthdays are a HUGE deal.  Birthdays are everything.  And they don't just last one day, oh, no no.  They last a whole week.  That's right.  A seven days of celebrating and honoring of the birthday boy or girl.  Most of the time this means they get to choose meals or what we watch on television, but really its just an excuse to guilt people into doing whatever you want and pop a bottle of sparkling every night for a week.

Slaving over a hot stove.
This year to kick off my birthday week, I trained up to my alma mater for a little dinner party with the college gang.  I spent most of last week trying to decide what to make; I mean, I wanted something easy that would serve ten people, but that would look gourmet and fancy enough for a classy dinner party.  After a lot of web-surfing and soul-searching, I decided on a tomato sauce with shrimp over spaghetti - tomato sauces are probably the easiest thing to make, and what's more posh than shrimp, really now?  This recipe was perfect, because I was able to get it prepped and on the stove in about 15 minutes, before the bulk of people arrived, and then just let it stew and the flavors develop while we had cocktails and appetizers.  By the time we were ready to sit down, the sauce was done and we were all fairly toasted.  It was the perfect dinner party dish.

Tomato Shrimp Pasta
2 tbs olive oil
1 large yellow onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 small sweet potato, cubed
1 tbs basil
1 tbs oregano
2 tsp red pepper flakes
½ cup red wine
1 large can diced tomatoes
1 small can tomato sauce
2 pints cherry tomatoes
2 lbs spagehtti
1 large bag of cooked frozen shrimp
salt and pepper to taste

+ In a large sauce pan, saute the onions and garlic in oil until the onions become translucent.  Add the sweet potato until the onions and potato just start to brown.
+ Add the herbs and red pepper and mix until well combined.
+ Add wine to deglaze the pan, then add the diced tomatoes, tomato sauce, and one pint of cherry tomatoes.  Give a good stir.  Season to taste.
+ Cover and cook for as long as desired, at least 30 minutes.  Put water on to boil.
+ Once the water is boiled, add the pasta.  Stir the sauce, add the last pint of cherry tomatoes and shrimp, and season to taste.  When the pasta is done cooking, the shrimp should be heated through and the cherry tomatoes soft but whole.
+ Strain the pasta and return to pot.  Spoon a small amount of sauce into the pasta and stir until evenly covered.  Serve in large bowl with remaining sauce poured over the top.

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