I was positive that this dish would be a bomb last night. As I was sauteing the onion, poblano and garlic, Dudette’s forthcoming declarations of how much she didn’t like it were ringing in my ears. Because of the bits of pepper she’d see, I was sure she would think there was zucchini in it. Because they actually were peppers, I was positive it would be too hot for her.
Then there was the shrimp. I don’t make much shellfish because, well, it’s not the cheapest stuff and we’re on a budget. While our young lady isn’t a really fussy eater, once she decides to feel a certain way about something, she digs her heels in and there’s no changing her mind. Shrimp, I was sure, was going to be shoved in the same pile as mushrooms and the dreaded zucchini.
But I forged ahead. Why? Look at the dish. Wouldn’t you? For yourself? I figured it would be too hot for my tender taste buds, but the combination of ingredients was too fantastic-sounding for me to ignore this one.
A strange process at that. No heavy cream. Not even half and half. Chicken stock and creme fraiche is all that’s needed to create a creamy, rich sauce. Points added for backside-friendly.
It’s a simple matter of sauteing the aromatics in butter (ok, so maybe not so backside-friendly) and adding flour as a thickener. The chicken stock gets whisked in as the mixture simmers while the creme fraiche is warmed. Once the creme is added to the thick stock combination, it all gets pureed in a blender.
I’ve never heard of doing that before, but since the peppers, onions and garlic were nice and soft, it did blend well and I ended up with a beautiful, creamy, aromatic sauce that was poured over cooked pasta and shrimp.
This could not have been easier to pull together and took well under Rachael’s famous 30 minutes to cook.
If there is one dish that you make in this issue of Every Day with Rachael Ray, please make sure it’s this one. Hubby’s comment after his first bite was, “Wow, oh wow.” Dudette gave it ten fingers up and proclaimed that shrimp was her favorite (terrific; a girl with champagne tastes on our beer budget). I loved it as well. Really much so.
The poblano adds a great pepper flavor without the heat (as evidenced by Dudette being able to eat it). The sauce is creamy and delicious. It pairs perfectly with the shrimp. Hubby said this needed to go in the keeper pile and he’s right. I’ll make this again and again. It’s as easily comfort food as it is an elegant dish for serving guests.
I didn’t bother with the parmigiano-reggiano. The flavors were perfect without adding such a strong cheese.
What I’d Do Different Next Time
- Salt and pepper
- 1 pound linguine
- 6 tablespoons butter
- 1 small poblano chile pepper, seeded and finely chopped
- 1 small onion, finely chopped
- 4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
- 3 tablespoons flour
- 1½ cups chicken stock
- ½ cup creme fraiche or mexican crema
- 1 pound medium shrimp
- finely chopped fresh thyme, for garnishing
- Grated parmigiano-reggiano, for passing around the table (optional)
- Bring a large pot of water to a boil, salt it, add the pasta and cook it until al dente. Drain.
- While the pasta is working, in a medium saucepan, melt 4 tbsp. butter over medium heat. Add the poblano, onion and garlic and cook until softened, 7 to 8 minutes. Whisk in the flour for 1 minute. Whisk in the chicken stock and simmer, stirring, for 5 minutes.
- In a small saucepan, heat the creme fraiche (or crema) over medium heat. Whisk the warm cream into the poblano sauce. Transfer to a food processor or blender and puree until very smooth; season with salt.
- In a large skillet, melt the remaining 2 tbsp. butter over medium-high heat. Add the shrimp and cook until firm and pink; season with salt and pepper. Add the pasta and poblano sauce to the shrimp; toss well. Sprinkle the thyme on top. Pass the cheese at the table, if desired.