Today is the 3rd Sunday of Lent. Depending upon your school of thought, this day could also be the Feast Day of the Archangel Saint Gabriel. Gabriel’s name means “the power of God.” Gabriel is called by name three times in Scripture. His first appearance is found in Old Testament, in the Book of Daniel (And I heard a man’s voice from the Ulai calling, “Gabriel, tell this man the meaning of the vision” Daniel 8:16). He is next found in the Gospel of Luke, when Gabriel brings Zechariah the news that his post-menopausal wife will bring forth a son, John the Baptist. Once more, Gabriel appears as the messenger of miraculous births with his visit to the Virgin Mary. While not mentioned by name, many believe that it was Gabriel who appeared to Joseph, who told the shepherds of the birth of the Christ Child and that he was the angle who comforted Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane. As a messenger of God, Saint Gabriel is the patron saint of such organizations as broadcasting, postal workers and those in public relations among others.
For centuries, the Church celebrated the Feast of Saint Gabriel on the eve of the Annunciation. Then, in 1969; following Vatican II, the Feast of Saint Gabriel was moved to September 29th, to be a part of a larger feast day honoring the Archangels Michael and Raphael together with Gabriel.
The bottom line is that you don’t have to be Catholic or subscribe to pre-Vatican II celebrations to appreciate the simplistic beauty of Angel Hair Pasta and succulent shrimp.
Archangel Hair Pasta with Shrimp
1 1/2 lbs Shrimp, peeled and deveined (see note)
3 tablespoons Fresh Basil, chopped
3 Garlic Cloves, minced
3 tablespoons Olive Oil
3 tablespoons Butter
3 tablespoons Fresh Parsley, chopped
1 Lemon, sliced into half-rounds, if desired
12 oz Angle Hair Pasta
Salt to taste
Fresh Ground Pepper to taste
1 Lemon, zested and juiced
1/2 cup Parmesan Cheese, finely shredded
Note: While shrimp that have their tails removed is the easiest to eat, keeping the tails or not keeping the tails is a matter of presentation. Often, I will leave some tails attached and feature those shrimp while allowing the rest to be tucked further into the pasta. If children or the elderly are dining, the tails are always removed.
Bring a large pot of salted water to a rolling boil. Maintain boil while preparing all the ingredients for the dish. Both the pasta and the shrimp will cook in about 4 minutes, so it’s important to have everything organized and ready.
Peel, devein and rinse the shrimp. Set aside
Chop fresh basil into thin ribbons. Set aside.
Peel and finely mince garlic cloves. Set aside.
Chop parsley. Set aside.
Cut remaining lemon in half lengthwise. Slice into half-rounds and set aside until ready to serve.
In a large skillet, heat oil and butter over medium-high heat, swirling the pan as the butter melts.
Add shrimp to the skillet, seasoning with salt and pepper.
As soon as the shrimp start cooking, toss pasta into the boiling water to cook.
Sauté shrimp for about 2 minutes. Sprinkle shrimp with the minced garlic and continue to sauté for another 2 minutes.
Reserve 1/3 cup of the pasta water, then drain the pasta.
Toss the pasta in the skillet with the shrimp. Add lemon zest and lemon juice, stir to combine.
Add the reserved pasta water to the skillet. Toss two 2 tablespoons of basil and parsley, sprinkle with Parmesan.
Spread Angle Hair Shrimp Pasta onto a serving platter or into a large bowl. Garnish with remaining basil and parsley.
Tuck lemon slices around the bowl or platter in an attractive way when ready to serve.