My daughter Allison loves to eat seafood – particularly shrimp. So, when I told her we were having pasta with shrimp for dinner, she suddenly bumped me up into the “best-mom-in-the-world” category. To top things off, this meal also includes pieces of crispy bacon and fresh basil among the noodles and shrimp. In Allison’s words, “This is going to be good!”
This dish is easy and delicious – the perfect combination when it comes to dinner. Do yourself a favor and buy the EZ Peel shrimp (the kind that’s been cleaned and only need the shells slipped off) to make this meal even easier. Do yourself another favor and buy a box of Hodgson Mill Whole Wheat Thin Spaghetti. The whole wheat pasta compliments all of the other flavors going on in the dish without overpowering them. Chances are, you’ll be able to sneak in some healthy whole wheat without it being noticed which makes adding whole grains to your diet a piece of cake – or a bowl of pasta – in this case.
Begin by cooking the Hodgson Mill Whole Wheat Thin Spaghetti in a large pot of boiling water. Follow the package directions, but keep in mind that you’ll want the pasta to be tender yet still firm to the bite. Drain and set aside in a large serving bowl.
Next, chop up a pound of bacon into small, ½-inch pieces. This is going to seem like an enormous amount of bacon- I know because I kept thinking I was cutting up way too much. But, after it has been fried, you will only end up with a heaping cup of crispy bacon pieces -heaping being the key word here – that way you can safely nibble off the top without compromising the sauce. My son is like Pavlov’s dogs when it comes to bacon – one whiff and he suddenly appears in the kitchen. So it’s important that I have plenty of extra pieces to share unless I want a very unhappy two-year-old at my feet.
Fry up the bacon in a large skillet and remove it once it becomes really crispy. Set aside – somewhere little fingers can’t reach it from the side of the counter top – or you won’t have any left for the sauce. Pour out all but one tablespoon of the bacon grease from the pan and add the garlic to the skillet. Sauté for about 30 second and then add the tomatoes, cream, clam juice, half of the basil, and a dash of salt and pepper. Bring the mixture to a boil and then lower the heat and allow the sauce to simmer for about 10 minutes or until slightly thickened.
Add the shrimp to the skillet and cook on medium heat until it’s pink and cooked through – about 3 minutes. Put the bacon back into the skillet and then simmer the sauce until it’s warmed throughout – about one or two more minutes.
Pour the sauce over the pasta in the large serving bowl and sprinkle the remaining chopped basil on top. Give the whole thing one last toss and dinner is ready!
Not only does this dish look beautiful, it tastes great, too. The shrimp adds a bit of sweetness and the basil gives the tomato cream sauce a fresh summer feel. And the bacon – well bacon is bacon – be happy if most of the cup you cooked makes it into the sauce. Hodgson Mill Whole Wheat Thin Spaghetti is the perfect pasta for getting all of these tasty things into your mouth – and it’s good for you to boot.
We really liked this dish and plan on having it again before the end of the summer. If it were up to Allison, we would have it at least once a week. Enjoy!
Whole Wheat Spaghetti with Basil, Shrimp and Bacon
- 1 pound Hodgson Mill Whole Wheat Thin Spaghetti
- 1 pound thick-cut bacon, chopped into ½ inch pieces
- 4 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 (14.5-ounce) can diced tomatoes, with juice
- 1 cup heavy cream
- ¾ cup bottled clam juice
- 1 cup chopped fresh basil leaves
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 1 pound large, peeled and deveined shrimp
Cook the spaghetti in a large pot of boiling water until tender but still firm to the bite. Drain and put in a large serving bowl. Set aside. Cook the bacon in a large skillet until it is brown and crispy. Remove the bacon and set aside. Pour out all but one tablespoon of bacon drippings. In the same skillet, cook the garlic in the bacon drippings for about 30 seconds. Then add the tomatoes, cream, clam juice, ½ cup of the basil, and a shake of salt and pepper. Bring to a boil and then reduce the heat to medium low and allow the sauce to simmer until it is slightly thickened – about 10 minutes. Add the shrimp and cook until pink and cooked throughout – stirring as necessary – about 3 minutes. Add the bacon and simmer until warmed through – just a minute or two more.
Pour the sauce over the top of the cooked spaghetti noodles, sprinkle the remaining ½ cup of chopped basil on top and toss it all together until the pasta is well coated. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Slightly adapted from: Weeknights with Giada: Quick and Simple Recipes to Revamp Dinner