Leftover spaghetti is boring! It’s hard to make it tasty the next day; it’s so plain. I enjoy freshly cooked spaghetti, but leftovers are not for me!. I often end up tossing leftovers in the trash, saying darn that so much has gone to waste! However, it was fun using up leftover spaghetti recently, from a birthday party. This way nothing was wasted; I felt a bit smug! I checked my freezer and refrigerator, and saw that I could find foods to work with, mingle with the spaghetti. The stars lined up correctly and in my freezer was frozen shrimp, plus fresh broccoli was in my vegetable bin.
Initially, on the computer I googled several foods: shrimp, broccoli and pasta. Then I sprung into a creative whirlwind to see what I might make from a recipe I saw on line. I wanted a fresh and exciting dinner for my husband and I.
I love to cook and bake, but too, sometimes I want a break. This gives me time to recharge, do other things like painting, sewing, string beads together, mend a sweater. But then, automatically, my cooking energy surges, almost like magic. In a flash I”m in my kitchen checking out something to prepare for us.
Also, my childhood featured many beef, chicken and lamb dishes, but, not too much in the way of fish or fresh vegetables. As an adult, in later years, I’ve become fond of various fishes, and although shrimp is fairly common, I don’t cook it often, and really love how it give me a nice alternative from meat and chicken. It cooks quickly and ingredients can be alternated in many ways for distinctive flavors. Soy sauce, making a roux, adding a seasoning sauce; these ingredients also enhance the flavor of seafood dishes. And this one is no exception!
INGREDIENTS Serves 4-6
1 lb. raw shrimp peeled and deveined
1 red pepper, chopped
1/8th head Napa cabbage, chopped
1 onion, chopped
5 cups broccoli, mostly florets chopped in 1-1 1/2 inch pieces
4 garlic cloves, minced
16 oz. leftover cooked spaghetti, or freshly cooked pasta, but cooked 3 minutes less than package direction
5 Tbsp vegetable or olive oil
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
2-3 Tbsp soy sauce
zest and juice of 1 lemon
1 1/2 – 2 cups chicken broth
2 Tbsp flour
4 Tbsp water
3 Tbsp soy sauce
1/2 – 3/4 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
1 tsp oregano, dried
1/2 tsp rosemary, dried
1 Pat shrimp, dry well with paper towels. Sprinkle generously with salt and pepper. Set aside.
2 Heat with 2 tablespoons of the oil in a large, deep skillet over medium- heat. Add the red pepper, cabbage and onion. Cook 8-10 minutes, until the vegetables are translucent and partially tender. Remove to a medium bowl.
3 Add another tablespoon of oil, and as the oil heats on low add the garlic, cook 1-2 minutes, no longer. Add the shrimp. Cook on low 3-4 minutes, stirring often until the shrimp turn pink. Do not overcook! Set aside into the same bowl as the vegetable mixture.
4 Add the final 2 tablespoon of oil. Heat the oil on medium- low add the broccoli. Cook and stir occasionally for 10 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Add the chicken stock. Bring to a boil, cover the pan and reduce to a low simmer. Let the broccoli steam until bright green and partially cooked, 10-12 minutes. The last 6 minutes add the vegetables from step 2 along with the cooked spaghetti, the rosemary, oregano and soy sauce.
5 Stir the dish a few times. But too, make a slight paste of the flour and water in a small bowl. Add the mixture to the pan, stir over medium heat until it comes to a gentle boil and thickens, about 3 -5 minutes. Add the shrimp, lemon juice and zest. Heat on low for a minute or two. Adjust the seasoning. Take the dish off the heat, stir in the cheese and serve.
TIPS AND TWEAKS
- At step 4, add a can of sliced water chestnuts to a bit of crunch.
- At step 4, switch broccoli for cauliflower.
- At step 2, use 2 or 3 bok choi, chopped, instead of the cabbage.
- Instead of cooked spaghetti, try any small pasta, like elbow.