I taught a cooking class yesterday to a really nice group of American expats living here in England. They seemed to enjoy the class, but I think that I enjoyed teaching it more. After the class, as we were eating the tagine I had prepared, I was asking them what they would be interested in learning in future classes. Most of the women are mothers of young children and said that they wanted to get a few easy, quick family-friendly dinners into their rotation. Fair enough—except that I always seem to revel in the tedious, laborious recipes that take me hours...and honestly my children do not appreciate.
Tonight, I was in a pinch for time. I had planned on making garlic shrimp and broccoli pasta for the kids. The way I have made it in the past involved shelling and deveining shrimp, marinating them in garlic and olive oil and on occasion making the pasta fresh. Tonight was not the night, so I channelled the sweet mommies from the cooking class and looked for shortcuts. Below is what I came up with. It is incredibly easy and you know what? The children didn’t notice any difference. I don’t know whether to be pleased or annoyed.
8 ounces cooked shrimp, cut into smaller bits, if desired
4 ounces fresh broccoli, chopped or frozen peas, if that is preferred
8 ounces dry pasta
A few tablespoons (knobs) butter
A few pinches of dry flakes of garlic (as good a quality as you can find)
Salt to taste
Grated Parmesan cheese, if desired
1) Cook pasta according to package directions. 4 minutes before it is done, add in the fresh broccoli or 2 minutes before done add in the frozen peas; bring back to a boil and continue cooking.
2) Lightly drain the pasta and vegetables, retaining just a bit of the cooking water and pour into a serving bowl. Toss with a few tablespoons (knobs) of butter, dry garlic and cooked shrimp. Taste and season with salt and cheese, if desired.