Thoughts from Kelly Snowden, Ten Speed’s Associate Manager of Cookbook Marketing & Publicity, about the recipe for Spaghetti with Shrimp and Tomato Passatina from SPQR:
Spaghetti with tomato sauce remains the classic Italian-American pasta dish, beloved by children and adults alike. But for the new cookbook SPQR, named after both the roadways of the Roman empire and the San Francisco restaurant, rising star chef Matthew Accarrino traveled extensively throughout Italy to find modern interpretations of this and other Italian dishes. (The book also contains in-depth wine notes from Shelley Lindgren, co-owner of the restaurant and its fantastic sommelier.) While in the northeastern part of the country, Accarrino met with a fisherman who took him to a traditional fishing hut, where they made a simple spaghetti from humble ingredients like tomatoes, onions, and breadsticks. The flavor, though, came from the just-caught shrimp, simmered in a white wine broth with the shell on, then put through a food mill. If you don’t have a food mill, you can substitute a food processor or blender to make this elevated yet simple take on an Italian favorite.
Spaghetti with Shrimp and Tomato Passatina
From SPQR by Shelley Lindgren, Matthew Accarino, and Kate Leahy (Ten Speed Press, October 2012)
serves 4 to 6
extra virgin olive oil
150 grams • 1/2 yellow onion, finely diced
12 grams • 3 garlic cloves, minced
150 grams • 1 carrot, cut into 1/4-inch pieces
454 grams • 1 pound shell-on raw baby shrimp
kosher salt and black pepper
a pinch of dried red pepper flakes
115 grams • 1/2 cup white wine
240 grams • 11/2 cups canned tomatoes
50 grams • 4 breadsticks, like grissini, broken up
2 grams • 2 teaspoons chopped parsley
340 grams • 12 ounces fresh spaghetti or dried
Heat a thin film of olive oil in a large, wide pot over medium heat. Stir in the onion and sweat until softened, 3 minutes. Stir in the garlic and sweat 1 to 2 minutes more until aromatic. Add the carrot and sweat until softened, 3 to 4 minutes.
Turn up the heat to medium-high, stir in the shrimp, and season with salt, pepper, and pepper flakes. Pour in the wine and bring to a simmer. Stir in the tomato and return to a simmer. Pour in 1 cup of water, lower the heat, and cook for 8 to 10 minutes or until the shrimp are soft enough to break up with a wooden spoon if pressed. Stir the broken grissini pieces into the pot, remove from the heat, and stir in the parsley.
Place a food mill fitted with a coarse plate over a clean pot. In batches, pass the shrimp and broth through the food mill. You will have a coarse paste. (If it’s too dry to go through the food mill, stir in more water). Taste the shrimp paste and season with salt and pepper.
Bring a pot of salted water to a boil. Cook the spaghetti for 4 minutes if using fresh, and as directed on the package if using dry. Drain the spaghetti, reserving a cup of pasta water, and return the spaghetti to the pasta pot.
Stir spoonfuls of the shrimp paste into the spaghetti until evenly coated, adding a few spoonfuls of water if the pasta looks dry, and simmer for one more minute before serving.
For more recipes from SPQR, see the excerpt below: