Recently a dear friend sent me some fresh, home grown arugula (rocket leaves)-she grows it in her garden. Arugula is something I have come to know only in the past 5 years, its not something we saw or ate growing up. It's available in most metros now, though expensive and sometimes not very fresh. I have ordered on occasion from Altitude which supplies organic produce and natural products and its been very fresh. Older leaves tend to have a sharp, almost mustardy flavour while the tender ones are nutty. I had some fresh shrimp at home so I initially planned to grill the prawns and serve it with the arugula - almost like a grilled summer salad.
But then as I got down to make it and was wondering what else to serve with it for dinner, I decided to make it with spaghetti. And then from there the dish just took its own course - sun dried tomatoes seemed a nice combination with the shrimp and spaghetti. I finally decided to braise the dish with vodka and finish it off with some cream. It all came together quite beautifully, though I didn't have a clue at the beginning on where I was heading.
The fresh shrimp was melt-in-the-mouth soft and went very will the combination of arugula and sun dried tomatoes. The only thing to be careful is not to overcook the shrimp, else it will become tough. There is not much added seasoning - the shrimp, sun dried tomatoes and arugula - all lend their distinctive flavour to this dish.
Spaghetti with Shrimp, Arugula and Sun Dried tomatoes
Spaghetti - 250gms (dried)
Shrimp / Prawns - 300gm - cleaned and washed thoroughly; if using frozen, then thaw well.Marinate in lemon juice and pinch of salt for 15 minutes.
Arugula (Rocket Leaves) - a big handful, washed and torn
Sundried tomatoes - 8-10 soaked in 1/2 cup warm water (or as is if they are in oil)
1 tbsp olive oil
3 cloves garlic - chopped finely
2 tomatoes pureed
100ml vodka (you could use white wine instead of vodka, or omit it altogether and add some lime juice at the end instead)
2-3 tbsp cream (I used the cream skimmed everday from the milk we get)
salt to taste
freshly crushed pepper - 1 tsp
Tabasco sauce - 1 tsp
1. Heat a pan full of water with a tsp of olive oil and a tsp of salt and bring it boil. It should be big enough for the spaghetti to cook in. Cook the spaghetti till just done (al dente) and then drain and rinse in cold water. Toss with a little olive oil and keep aside. (If you are cooking ahead, then this can be done later, in time to serve)
2. Meanwhile, heat 1 tbsp olive oil in a big pan and saute the chopped garlic in it for a couple of minutes. Fry the shrimp for 3-4 minutes, remove and keep warm. In the same pan, add the pureed tomatoes, soaked sun dried tomatoes with its water, vodka and salt and bring to boil, simmer for 5 minutes till there is not much liquid. Stop here if you are cooking ahead.
3. Add the prawns back; tip the cooked pasta, freshly crushed pepper and arugula and toss together on a medium flame till well combined (2-3 minutes). Add the cream and tabasco sauce, season and turn off the flame after a minute. Serve warm.