As most people who know me and have seen me in the kitchen… know I cannot follow a recipe to save my life. I’m the person who perpetually doesn’t read the entire recipe thru before beginning, reads the ingredients then loses track of what I am doing, and has a hard time with measurements. Therefore, as you’ll come to realize, I cook using my senses, taste-testing, and most of the time rely on sheer luck to figure out what I am trying to cook. (Although, some techniques require me to focus. 🙂 ) This is why sometimes my recap of measurements is a little different than your normal ‘cook book accuracy’.
Last night, after a walk home from the Loop, MAH and I tried a pasta recipe from Cooking Light. Now, I’m not the biggest pasta person, HOWEVER, the term “Buttermilk-Herb Dressing” hooked me. I am a complete lush when it comes to dairy and herbs. (Especially since it was a healthier version… If you will.) So, over a glass of vino, we began. Here is our tweaked version.
- 1 box uncooked orecchiette pasta
- 1 lb. frozen, cooked shrimp (Let thaw in the fridge in a bowl of water for 8 to 10 hours prior to cooking to defrost. You can also use fresh, uncooked shrimp, deveined and shell removed, if you’d like… just boil these boys on their own for a few minutes until they turn white. MAH & I took the easy way out with the frozen shrimpies. 🙂 )
- 2 c. frozen peas, thawed
- A bunch of radishes, washed and thinly sliced (I feel radishes are a personal preference. Feel free to add however many you’d like.)
- 1/3 c. reduced-fat mayo
- Roughly 1 pint fat-free buttermilk (Depending on how creamy you are wanting your pasta, add up to a pint. Start though with only ½ pint. Then gradually add more if you’d prefer.)
- A medium mound of fresh minced chives
- A palm full of freshly chopped dill (Make sure you soak the dill and clean it before using… lots of dirt can be stuck to fresh dill.)
- 1 tsp. kosher salt
- 1 tsp. grated lemon zest
- The juice from one lemon, squeezed
- 2 garlic cloves (chubby ones! No dinky cloves.)
- Red pepper flakes and freshly ground black pepper to taste, to give some heat
*Quick Tip: Once your shrimp is thawed, place the shrimp in a bowl submerging them in cold water. Add a generous amount of lemon juice to the bowl and let soak for a few minutes. This will get any unwanted extra ‘fishy’ flavor out of the fish, and will leave you with very fresh shrimp. This tip can be done with any type of fish to freshen it up before cooking.
Bring a stock pot full of water to boil. Toss in your orecchiette pasta. Cook for about 10-11 minutes, until al dente. While your pasta is cooking, in a mixing bowl, whisk together mayo, buttermilk, chives, dill, salt, lemon zest, lemon juice, garlic, and red and black pepper. Taste to make sure you have the flavor you are looking for. (Of course, I took a nice big scoop of it with a pita chip to make sure I liked the way it tasted. 🙂 I couldn’t resist. I know, such a chub.)
When the pasta is about 2 minutes from being done, toss the peas into the boiling water with the pasta. Once cooked, strain into your colander.
In a shallow skillet, heat some olive oil over high heat. Get the skillet very hot. Flash sear the thawed shrimp on both sides. Strain as well.
Combine in a bowl, your pasta and pea mixture, sliced radishes, shrimp. (I purchased a mandolin for situations like this. It lets you achieve the perfect width.) Coat pasta with your buttermilk sauce. This is where you may want to add more buttermilk (or even a splash of skim milk) to make your sauce creamier. Let pasta stand for about 20-30 minutes to cool. Then serve.
(Confession… before this recipe, I have never made, cooked, or chopped up a radish before. I don’t even know if I’ve ever eaten a raw radish before. I’m sold though! 🙂 )
*To find the accurately measured one, please visit the Cooking Light Website.