Here is it Day Three of the Lenten Season and the First Friday of Lent. Any way you slice it, today is a meatless Friday in our house.
Have I mentioned I am a fan of The Big Bang Theory? Ever since season one, there has been one thing that has always bothered me. Penny’s waitress job at the Cheesecake Factory. Have you ever eaten at the Cheesecake Factory? It’s not a brightly lit diner with a simple bar. It’s nothing like the Big Bang’s Cheesecake Factory. So it has always bothered me – how can they get away with calling her place of employment the Cheesecake Factory? The two aren’t even close! Just saying.
If you haven’t had the pleasure of dining at a Cheesecake Factory, treat yourself and do so. Are they pricey? Yeah. But you get what you pay for, right? Great atmosphere, very classy with awesome food all the way around. The Cheesecake Factory is so much more than Cheesecake. And their Cheesecakes – To Die For! They have more varieties of cheesecakes than I care to count. Oh, just dreaming of cheesecake.
Snap out of it. This is the Lenten Season – serious business for those of us who practice the observations of this somber time in the Church Calendar. Still, it’s hard to feel as though I am serving penance when delicious Shrimp Scampi is on the table. Again, just saying . . .
Restaurant Style Shrimp Scampi
1 lb. peeled, deveined shrimp, butterflied
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 package angel hair pasta
Toss shrimp in baking soda and salt mixture. Leave in fridge for 15-20 minutes.
Bring a pot of water to a boil for pasta.
Make the cream sauce.
Creamy Scampi Sauce
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 cup white wine
4-5 whole garlic cloves, peeled
1 pint heavy cream
1/2 red onion, diced
1 plum tomato, diced
1 teaspoon fresh basil, chopped
Add white wine and bring to a boil, stirring occasionally. Once boiling, reduce heat to medium-low and add garlic. Stir occasionally, letting the sauce reduce, for about 8 to 10 minutes.
While sauce is reducing, make Parmesan Breading, then continue with sauce.
Add the heavy cream, stir and bring the sauce to a simmer. Add the onion, stir and let the sauce simmer for 5 to 7 minutes. Add tomato, basil and Parmesan, stirring to combine. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Keep Warm.
Cook angel hair pasta according to package instructions. Drain and set aside. Keep warm.
1/2 cup panko breadcrumbs
3 tablespoons shredded Parmesan
1/4 teaspoon Black pepper
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
Combine all ingredients in a shallow bowl. Coat shrimp in breading.
When sauce is almost finished, cook shrimp and pasta.
Warm olive oil in large skillet over medium heat. Use tongs to place the shrimp in the skillet. Cook shrimp, about 2 to 3 minutes per side, until it’s curled up and is pink and white, not gray or translucent anymore. Place on a plate lined with paper towels. Keep warm.
Divide angel hair pasta among plates. Top with shrimp and cream sauce. Garnish with additional Parmesan and basil if you’d like.
Serve with a nice toss salad and warm bread.
One final note for the day – today is the 1st Friday of the Lenten Season. It is my sincere hope that some of the recipes I’ll be sharing will grace your Lenten Tables, if that is something you observe. If not, I hope you like a good scampi. Have a wonderful day!