September 25, 2010

Something New, Times Two

For last night's dinner I prepared cheese ravioli with Tomato Shrimp Sauce and Roasted Cauliflower with Curry-Yogurt Sauce, plus garlic bread.   This was my first time preparing both the Tomato Shrimp Sauce and the Roasted Cauliflower, though I've made a lot of recipes similar to the Tomato Shrimp Sauce. 

The shrimp sauce is in the pale yellow serving bowl at the top left of the picture, next to the garlic bread.  The cauliflower is at the bottom right.

The cauliflower recipe was originally printed in an issue of Cook's Illustrated; I got it from America's Test Kitchen's Best-Ever Recipes, which I reviewed here: .

The Tomato Shrimp Sauce recipe was inspired by one I found in an old issue of Taste of Home magazine. Truth to tell, I'm not a big fan of Taste of Home.  Too many of the recipes are based on pre-prepared convenience foods such as canned soup.  While there's nothing at all wrong with a busy person cutting corners like that in order to get a meal on the table with a minimum of time and fuss, in my cooking I generally prioritize quality over speed (though I do prize recipes that balance those two factors to good result).  In any case, there are some really solid recipes in that magazine too, and I've adapted more than a few of them to my own tastes - sometimes even retaining some of the pre-packaged ingredients.  You just have to weed through a lot of bland, ho-hum recipes to find the gems.  For that reason, we don't usually buy it, but we're glad to pick up a pile of back issues when we find them at garage sales.

Anyhow, here's my recipe.

Tomato Shrimp Sauce

yield = 4 servings

1     can (14.5 oz) Italian-style stewed tomatoes
1     small to medium onion, chopped fine
2     tablespoons butter
2     teaspoons minced garlic
2     tablespoons all-purpose flour
1     tablespoon brown sugar
1     bay leaf
1/2  teaspoon dried basil
1/2  teaspoon salt
1/4  teaspoon freshly-ground black pepper
1/8  teaspoon ground cloves
1/3  cup water
1/2  pound pasta or 1 pound fresh or frozen cheese ravioli
1/2  pound medium or large shrimp, peeled and deveined
2     teaspoons fresh basil, chopped
1/4  cup grated Parmesan cheese (optional)

Puree the tomatoes in a food processor; set aside.  Start water boiling for pasta or ravioli.

Heat butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat.  Add onion and garlic; sautee until onion is tender.  Stir in flour until blended; stir and cook for about 2 minutes.

Add pureed tomatoes, stir, and cook for 1 minute.  Add brown sugar, bay leaf, basil, salt, pepper, ground cloves and water,  Stir, bring to a boil.  Reduce  heat and simmer, uncovered, for approximately 5 minutes or until well-thickened.  Meanwhile, cook pasta or ravioli according to package directions.

Remove and discard bay leaf.  Add shrimp and stir to cook until the shrimp is done.   Drain pasta.  Spoon shrimp and tomato sauce atop cooked pasta or ravioli and top with chopped fresh basil (and grated Parmesan cheese, if desired).

We cooked some frozen ravioli from the grocery store.  The garlic bread was also store-bought; we just warmed it up in the oven.

Everything turned out quite tasty.  The cauliflower was especially good.  As promised in the recipe, roasting it made it a lot more flavorful than usual for cauliflower, and the sauce - an Indian-inspired one - enhanced that flavor very nicely.  The shrimp sauce was also quite good.  We skipped the grated Parmesan cheese because the ravioli were stuffed with plenty of cheese.

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