A few weeks back, Dina and I hosted a dinner for some friends. It was time for me to whip out my famous, bursting with flavour, tequila-lime pasta. This is a never-fail recipe that combines the tang of lime juice and the unmistakable bite of tequila in a creamy, velvety sauce. The secret to this recipe is what I call the "flavour paste" which is put together first. This recipe was inspired by a dish I once had at California Pizza Kitchen when I was in Chicago a few years ago.
Here's how it's done:
Tequila-Lime Pasta with Shrimp
1 tbsp olive oil
6 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1/3 cup chopped fresh coriander leaves
2 jalapeno peppers, minced
1/2 cup tequila (you may also use rum or vodka)
1/2 cup chicken broth
1/4 cup lime juice (about 3-4 limes)
Sautee garlic, coriander and jalapenos in olive oil in large pan on medium-high until translucent and slightly softened (about 5 minutes, stirring often). Add tequila, broth and lime juice and reduce until mixture turns thick, about 5-7 minutes. Once paste is thick, remove from pan and set aside.
Putting it all together:
3 bell peppers (yellow, red and orange) thinly sliced
1 medium red onion thinly sliced
2 tbsp vegetable oil
1/4 cup light soy sauce
1/2 pound of large, raw shelled shrimp
1 cup heavy cream
1/2 box of linguini, fettucini or spaghetti
Place thawed shrimp in small bowl and marinate in soy sauce for at least 15 minutes. Meanwhile, boil pasta until al dente. Sautee peppers and onions in oil on medium heat in large pan until slightly softened (about 5-7 minutes). Add flavour paste and combine thoroughly. Remove pan from heat, add cream and stir until vegetables are well coated. Increase heat until sauce comes to a gentle boil. Cook for about 10 minutes until sauce thickens slightly, then add shrimp and soy sauce. When shrimp turns pink, add well-drained pasta, mix well and serve immediately.
One of the interesting things about this recipe is that it has HUGE flavour with no additional salt or pepper. The soy sauce adds just the right amount of saltiness while the garlic, lime juice, tequila and coriander makes for an incredible balance of flavour.
Want to make it your own? Here are some substitution suggestions:
Brandy or Grand Marnier for the tequila
Scallops, clams, or chicken breast for the shrimp
Lemon juice or orange juice for the lime juice
Just make sure to balance out the sweet with the tangy, so brandy and orange juice would probably make for an overly sweet sauce.
So this winter, when you're feeling cooped up and the snow is waist high, just stay in and indulge in this creamy, tangy and substantial pasta dish and, somehow, springtime will be just a little bit closer.