Although my current food obsessions are the eggplant and the red potato, my crazy need to put sweet bell peppers in everything is still going strong. The incredibly gorgeous (and huge!) red and yellow bell peppers that were being sold throughout last weekend’s farmers market certainly helped to continue fueling this obsession, which made this a prime opportunity for recreating a dish I am still drooling over after 2 months.
This dish is inspired by the Butter Poached Shrimp with Yellow Peppers & Housemade Cavatelli that I had the pleasure of enjoying at Hawks Restaurant in Granite Bay a couple of months ago. I was so taken by the sweet yellow pepper sauce made by Chef Michael that I just knew I had to recreate it at home. Though I cannot remember all of the steps to the lengthy sauce process described to me by Chef Michael, I feel I did a decent job at bringing back that smooth, slightly sweet & spicy flavor that I fell in love with. For the Poor Girl version, I used angel hair pasta versus cavatelli (I can never find it in stores and have not gotten around to teaching myself how to make it; yes, I am lazy) and added red & yellow pepper strips for more color and texture. I also used regular cooked shrimp as that was all I had at my disposal and wanted to cut back on the amount of fat in the dish, but if and when I have a chance to buy some fresh shrimp again, I will definitely try the butter poached approach (hey, that rhymed…).
I was very pleased to know that this can easily be made at home for two people for about the same price as that of my light rail day pass. Though good quality sweet yellow peppers can sometimes cost up to $2 apiece (don’t worry, you can find them way cheaper most of the time!), the recipe will yield close to 2 cups of sauce and the rest of the ingredients are fairly inexpensive. It requires a bit more work than some of my other dishes do, and offers a lovely alternative to standard pasta dishes and sauces. Not that I don’t enjoy a good marinara, alfredo, or puttanesca sauce; it’s just nice to have some non-traditional options available. This would definitely be a great dish to serve at a nice dinner party, as the colors are gorgeous and the flavors so different. Vegetarians, simply omit the shrimp and add some zucchini (that’s how I had originally planned to make it) and you will have an amazing dinner!
Just goes to show that just because you can’t get to the restaurant doesn’t mean you can’t bring the restaurant to you.
Shrimp & Angel Hair Pasta with Sweet Yellow Pepper Sauce (serves 2; total cost per serving: $3.50)
½ small yellow onion, diced
1 clove garlic, minced
½ c chicken or vegetable broth
3 T + 1 T olive oil
½ t cayenne pepper
1 cup angel hair pasta
20 large cooked shrimp
1 small red bell pepper, cut into strips
Salt & pepper to taste
Parsley for garnish (optional)
Rinse the yellow bell peppers well and slice in half. Remove the stem & seeds and rinse once more to make sure no seeds remain. Chop the pepper into 1” pieces. In a large skillet heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the garlic & onions and cook until the onion begins to soften. Add the chopped yellow peppers and sauté until they become very soft, about 5-6 minutes. Remove from heat and cool for a couple of minutes. Place the cooked pepper & onion mixture into a food processor with the ½ cup of broth and cayenne pepper and puree until smooth.
Cook the angel hair pasta according to the package instructions. When cooked, drain, drizzle with a tiny bit of olive oil to prevent it from sticking together, and set aside. Lightly sauté the red bell pepper strips and shrimp in the remaining tablespoon of olive oil and salt & pepper to taste.
To serve, add a generous amount of the yellow pepper sauce onto a plate. Add a neat bundle of angel hair pasta on top of the sauce, then add the shrimp & peppers. Garnish with parsley & fresh ground pepper if desired, and enjoy!