Saturday, November 21, 2009

Cavatappi with Shrimp and Sheep's Milk Feta

It was cold, windy, and raining cats and dogs in Portland yesterday. A day literally calling out for some good, hot comfort food. But not super-heavy, fat-laden comfort food. Something lighter but yet soul-satisfying.

Pasta spirals with little shrimp in a light tomato sauce accented with feta cheese filled the billet perfectly. This recipe is a cold weather favorite at our house. If you're only familiar with cow's milk--or even goat's milk feta--sheep's milk feta is a revelation. It's rich tasting, tangy, and flavorful without an over-reliance on salt for its flavor. It's readily available these days and well worth seeking out.

Cavatappi pasta spirals work great in this dish. They're toothsome and satisfying without being ponderous. I prefer DeCecco brand. DeCecco pasta is flavorful, and maintains good texture--rather than getting all mushy--even after baking. It's worth the extra few cents.

As far as the shrimp go, get the smallest raw shrimp you can. Wild caught if possible. If you can get them, tiny Maine shrimp are ideal.

Anyway, this dish, along with a green salad and maybe a loaf of good bread makes for a great meal without a lot of work. Here's a link to the recipe.

Oh yeah, don't forget the wine. Something cold and white. An Italian Pinot Grigio or an American, New Zealand, or Chilean Sauvignon Blanc all work perfectly.

Update: Link to shrimp cocktail recipe added 11/30/09.

Click on image for a larger view.


Ulrike said...

Hello Bic. Like you do I once lived for a little while in Maine. I liked to cook with all the fresh fish sold there. I am sorry I did never have the Maine shrimp while I was in Maine. Now I am back living again in Germany. Can you tell me about them because there are Iceland and Norway shrimp on sale here some times that might be the same thing. I want to make your recipe the way you suggest.

Bic said...

Hello Ulrike,

Because they live in the cold ocean water of the Gulf of Maine, Maine shrimp are small and very flavorful.

Although I've never had the opportunity to try them, I suspect shrimp from the cold waters near Iceland or Norway would be similarly flavorful.

Here's a link to pictures of Maine shrimp:

Hope that helps.

PS: Let me know how the recipe turned out for you!