Zoodles with shrimp, mushrooms and tomatoes
My husband and I recently spent 8 days with our friends Barbara and George boating through the Bahamas. It was a glorious trip filled with white sand beaches, turquoise blue water, diving with sharks, feeding manta rays, stand up paddling, hunting for conch shells, playing Rummikub, cooking in the galley and quite a few mixology experiments with local rum. The Bahamas is an island nation of 700 islands, islets and cays. We toured the Abaco islands. When we came into port, most of the islands had populations of 500 or less. Provisioning is an art as most of the stores on these islands are stocked with imported foods, as little is actually grown in the islands. Much of the food is packaged and canned. Our last night on the boat our provisions were down to dribs and drabs, but were determined to make dinner on the boat and avoid the biting no-see-ems and nippers that had arrived on shore ahead of season.
Making do never tasted so good
What we found in the galley was this: 1 box of cherry tomatoes, 1 package precooked shrimp in the freezer, 1 box angel hair pasta, one package mushrooms, butter, garlic and a scrap of parmesan cheese. Bingo! I knew we had a meal. This recipe is based on the dinner I made on the boat. When I came home I recreated it using fresh shrimp and substituting zoodles (zucchini noodles) for the angel hair pasta. This is a great, quick week night meal. Loaded with vegetables, it is a healthy alternative to pasta. I like to use shiitake mushrooms because they are the most nutritient-dense mushrooms, but regular brown mushrooms are also nice.
This recipe can easily accommodate a dairy free diet. Simply use all olive oil instead of butter and olive oil.
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Fresh vs. dried herbs
On the boat I used dried basil and stirred it into the sauce when I added the tomatoes. If you are on dry land and have the luxury of fresh basil, it is nice touch. See my post on How to chiffonade basil, a fancy term for how to cut basil into thin ribbons.
Cooked vs. raw shrimp
You can use either. I used frozen cooked shrimp on the boat, in which case all you need to do is heat the shrimp to warm them up. At home I use raw shrimp.
Angel hair pasta option
If you are not a fan of zoodles or are in the mood for some real pasta, angel hair pasta is a great alternative.
- 4 medium zucchini
- 2 T butter, plus more if desired
- 2 T olive oil, plus more if desired
- ¼ pound shiitake or brown mushrooms, sliced
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 pinches crushed red pepper flakes, divided
- 1 pint cherry tomatoes
- 1 pound uncooked shrimp, deveined and tails removed
- 1 handfull fresh basil, chiffonnade
- 2 T grated parmesan cheese
- 1 lemon
- Make zucchini noodles using the 6mm blade (the largest blade with the triangular cuts). Set aside on a paper towel to drain while you make the sauce.
- Melt the butter and 1 T olive oil in the skillet over medium high heat. When hot, add the mushrooms and saute for one minute, then add the garlic and saute together for 2 more minutes until the mushrooms have softened and released their liquid. Add one pinch of crushed red pepper and the tomatoes and continue to cook for about 4 minutes, until tomatoes just start to burst. Add the shrimp and cook until just done, about 3 minutes. Shrimp will turn pink. Do not over cook. If your sauce is a little dry you can stir in a bit more butter or olive oil.
- When the sauce is almost done, heat a second large non-stick skillet over high heat and add the remaining tablespoon of olive oil. When the pan is hot, add the zucchini noodles, salt, a pinch of red pepper flakes and a squeeze of lemon juice. Cook quickly until noodles are soft, about 2 minutes, tossing frequently.
- Plate the zoodles, by lifting them from the pan using tongs and arranging them on two plates. By lifting the noodles out of the pan you avoid adding any excess liquid that the zoodles have released. Top the zoodles with the shrimp, mushroom and tomato sauce and garnish with basil and parmesan cheese.
THIS SERVES WELL WITH