Add this to your repertoire: I've been making this for awhile, but for some reason have neglected to post about it. It's very simple and comes together fast, especially if you get shrimp that is already peeled and deveined. When I do the peeling and deveining myself, I like to leave the tails on, because I prefer the way they look. However, this means you often have to twist off the tail by hand mid-meal, much to the husband's chagrin. He doesn't like to get his fingers shrimpy whilst eating a bowl of pasta. Doesn't bother me. Who am I, Emily Post? I suppose a more civilized household might employ what are known as "knives" to trim off the tail; not so here.
The one addition I have made to this recipe, which was at the husband's suggestion, was adding asparagus. This is reminiscent of a dish I am wildly fond of at Pasta Pomodoro (egads! a chain!), which is pasta shells in a spicy, creamy tomato sauce studded with shrimp and asparagus. I've been known to eat this dish at 10:30am while everyone else is ordering brunchy fare, like poached eggs and French toast.
Giada's sauce is not as delightfully spicy as Pasta P's; I'll have to bump up the red pepper flakes in the future. But in most other ways, it is similar. Here's the link to her recipe. As for the asparagus, I trimmed it, cut in into one-inch lengths, blanched it in the pasta water, then added it to the sauce along with the shrimp at the end.
I'm pretty sure whoever you make this for will fall in love with you (unless they have a shellfish allergy, which would make it a tragic lovestory), so be strategic. Don't say I didn't warn you when you're fighting off someone's unwanted amorous, shrimpy paws.
Gimme your money, then beat it: The other day, the husband and I had a spectacular afternoon: lunch at Out the Door (daikon rice cakes with spicy soy sauce and shitake mushrooms/vermicelli bowls with five spice chicken and imperial rolls/a carafe of wine--perfection!) followed by some leisurely book perusing. We weren't near my favorite bookstore, Green Apple, but fortunately, San Francisco does not hurt for bookstores, and we were a stone's throw from Browser Books.
We each picked out three books. I brought the stack to the counter where the store owner? employee? grunted at me, flipped over the books, scanned them, then barked out the total. Once I'd paid, he shoved them in a plastic bag and literally swung them on the counter at me. When the bag slapped the counter, it sent a little puff of air into my face.
Why are people who work at bookstores so often surly, second only to record store employees? I don't need a standing ovation, but is it so old-fashioned to want a, "Hi, how are you? Did you find everything you were looking for?" or, upon leaving, "Thank you!" I mean, let's be honest: it's easier for me to order through Amazon. I choose to go to bookstores because I feel, in my heart, that they make a community warmer, richer, and better. This guy was not supporting this theory.
Anyway, I'm excited about the books. Here is what we got. Can you guess which three I chose and which three the husband picked out?
Crazy Town: Two odd things happened today. Not to me, but near me. The first was this morning, around 8am. I was just sitting down to work when I heard a commotion out front.
I peered through the slats of my shades and saw six people pour out of a cruddy looking car, right into my driveway (lucky me!). They were all yelling and taking swings at the other ones. Men and women both. It was like a big free for all! The car was stopped halfway in the street so traffic was having to go around them.
I was about to call the police when I saw one of the men winding up to smack one of the women, when all of a sudden, they abruptly shut up, piled back into the car, and drove away. The only trace they left behind was, disturbingly, a pair of bright pink underwear. Stranger still, when I looked out a few minutes later, the underwear was gone.
Then, this afternoon, while depositing some checks at the bank, all of a sudden I heard a man loudly cursing at some of the bank employees, hollering about having to wait. Like any longtime city dweller, within seconds I expertly assessed how close this lunatic was to me without actually appearing to look at him. (The last thing you want is eye contact.) Then, I surreptitiously identified the nearest exit.
To my surprise, this foul-mouthed character was not what I expected. He looked like a hipster, younger than me, conceivably someone I could be connected to on Facebook. He had a nifty little driving cap on and super stylie sneakers. The bank manager tried to placate him, which wasn't working out too well. The man was on a roll, a furious, expletive-chocked roll.
"That guy was in here earlier," the teller said to me softly as she finished my transaction. She looked at me with wide eyes. "I tried to help him and he yelled at me too. I'm not sure what's wrong with him. Wouldn't you be embarrassed to be yelling like that? If I were him I'd be so mortified."
"I'm pretty sure he's not embarrassed," I said to the teller, who looked about 12. She had her nails painted black and orange for Halloween. "I do, however, think he's a grade-A asshole."
I guess that's what you get from living in a city for a long time. You don't always feel sorry for people the way maybe you should, or consider the reasons that might cause them to act strangely or dangerously. You just want them to get the hell away from you.