In just under a week we will find ourselves surrounded by friends and family donned in varying shades of red, white, and blue, smoking grills, and (hopefully) piles upon piles of seafood.
Seafood and Twizzlers are my 4th of July necessities.
My family has often celebrated Independence Day with newspaper-covered picnic tables and bushels of steamed shrimp and fresh, blue crabs.
This year, I wanted to put my own spin on those classic shrimp boils by making a simple, summer pasta that is just as delicious hot as it is cold, and sure to please everyone at the picnic table.
We begin by roasting tomatoes with a generous dose of olive oil and a heavy pinch of kosher salt.
Roasting the tomatoes may seem like an extra step, but the lightly-charred skins add such depth of flavor to this dish!
While the tomatoes roast, we prepare a big pot of penne before turning our attention to the shrimp.
I remember sitting at my great-grandparent's table at just three years old, peeling shrimp and spraying them with a bottle of liquid "butter," which I happened to think was the coolest thing on earth.
Shellfish and I go way back.
The shrimp are prepared simply, in a simmering sauce of butter, white wine, and lots of Old Bay.
Be sure to keep an eye on your shrimp. They cook fast!
After the penne has been drained, it is tossed into the pan along with our shrimp to soak up all of that delicious sauce.
Our roasted cherry tomatoes are tossed in just before serving.
Crisp, toasted bread crumbs bring a lovely, subtle crunch that makes this dish the wonder that it is.
A bit of parsley for color and balance.
And here you are. No newspaper necessary, no shell-covered floors, and absolutely, no spray-butter.
I really cannot think of a better way to celebrate Independence Day.
SHRIMP BOIL PASTA
Cook's Note: This dish can be served hot or at room temperature, making it the perfect dish for picnics or outdoor barbecues. However, the longer it sits, the more sauce the pasta will absorb, so I recommend eating this dish within 45 minutes of its cooking.
- 16 ounces grape tomatoes
- 5 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt
- 3/4 lb penne pasta
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1/3 cup white wine
- 2 teaspoons Old Bay seasoning
- 1/2 lb wild caught shrimp, peeled and deveined
- 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 2 slices italian country bread
- 2 tablespoons finely chopped parsley
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.
In a large bowl, combine grape tomatoes, 4 tablespoons olive oil, and 2 teaspoons kosher salt. Spread the tomatoes evenly over the prepared sheet pan and roast for 20-25 minutes, until the tomatoes are slightly charred.
While the tomatoes roast, fill a 4-quart saucepan with water and season liberally with salt. Bring the water to a boil over high heat and pour in pasta. Boil for 10-12 minutes; until al dente.
While the pasta is boiling, prepare the shrimp. Place a medium, nonstick sauté pan over medium heat and melt butter.
Once the butter has melted, add garlic, white wine, and Old Bay seasoning. When the mixture has reached a simmer, add shrimp and cook for 1-2 minutes, then flip and cook for an additional 1-2 minutes; until the shrimp are pink in color. Stir in lemon juice.
Reduce heat to low and pour in the drained pasta. Cook, tossing every so often, to allow the sauce to thicken. This will take roughly 2 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside while you prepare the remaining elements.
Brush the sliced bread with the remaining 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Lay the bread out onto a lined baking sheet. Place under the broiler and toast until deep golden; about two minutes.
Transfer the toast to a food processor and pulse into coarse crumbs.
Toss the roasted tomatoes, along with any juices that have settled in the pan, into the pasta and transfer to a large serving bowl. Top with toasted bread crumbs and parsley.