Lemongrass Scampi with Pappardelle

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As I’ve said in other pasta posts, I love BIG, FAT noodles. Udon, fettuccine, tagliatelle, lasagna, and pappardelle. Pappardelle is a very broad, flat pasta, and is one of my favorites. This recipe has only a few (but tasty) ingredients and is very simple to make. How can you go wrong with shrimp, garlic, lemon and parsley?

from: Simply Ming One-Pot Meals
serves: 4 (small, starter size portions), or 2 full entrée portions

½ pound fresh or dried pappardelle
kosher salt
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for coating the pasta
2 tablespoons minced lemongrass, white part only* see tip below
4 shallots, sliced thin
1 tablespoon minced garlic
freshly ground black pepper

12 large (U-15) shrimp, peeled & deveined
zest and juice of two lemons
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 tablespoon thinly sliced chives, for garnish

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Fill a large bowl with water and ice and set aside. In a stockpot or other tall wide pot, cook the pappardelle in abundant boiling salted water until al dente, 1 to 2 minutes if fresh, 4-5 minutes if dried. Reserve 1 cup of the cooking water. Using a large strainer, transfer the pasta to the ice water, and when cold, drain and transfer to a medium bowl. Drizzle in enough oil to coat the pasta lightly, toss, and set aside.

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Heat a stockpot over medium heat. Add the 2 tablespoons of oil and swirl to coat the bottom. When the oil is hot, add the lemongrass, shallots, and garlic and sauté, stirring, for 1 minute. (This is a delicious-smelling combination!) Season with salt and pepper.

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Add the shrimp and sauté until cooked through, 3 to 5 minutes. Add the lemon zest and juice, stir, and return the pasta to the pot. Toss to combine. Adjust the seasoning if necessary. If the mixture seems dry, add as much of the reserved pasta water, starting with 1 or 2 tablespoons, as needed. Add the butter, stir, and transfer to four individual serving plates. Garnish with the chives and serve.

*To mince lemongrass, hit the light part with the side of a knife several times to break it down. The root end might pop off, if not, cut it away. (The green part can be used to flavor soup stocks, broth etc.) Slice the white parts lengthwise, then crosswise and then mince.

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