My son devised this dish one Wednesday evening while his sister was visiting her dad and he and I were at a loss for what to make. He was about 8 years old at the time – the sprogs are such clever little dickens. It’s become a Wednesday- evening-with-the-son (because the daughter does not enjoy spicy food or shrimp) institution, though we don’t make it too often given its massive amounts of artery clogging ingredients. It is a nice, decadent treat every once in a while and goes together very quickly.
What you need:
A handful of dry fettuccine noodles (when I make a rounded fist the space there is about an inch and a half in diameter and the pasta contained within yields about 4 cups of cooked noodles)
3 tbsp margarine or butter (soya margarine is perfectly ok for this dish)
1 tbsp curry paste (madras is good, we used Sybil’s Kick Ass curry paste – we’ll talk about Sybil later)
3 cloves garlic
3 large bell peppers (we only use red/yellow/orange but if you like the yucky bitterness of green ones then have at ‘er)
30-40 uncooked, deveined shrimp of your choice
1 cup 10% cream
1 cup dry white wine
First step is to start the water for the pasta. While that’s heating up you can thinly slice your peppers, crush your garlic, peel your shrimp (if need be) and do your taxes. Why does water take forever to boil? Once the water is at a rolling boil drop your fistful of dried noodles in.
Here I need to have a little aside about fettuccine: I know the temptation to put oil in the pasta water burns with the heat of a thousand suns and normally I would be all over advocating putting oil in the pasta water. However, when you’re going to be topping your fettuccine noodles with a cream-based sauce you risk robbing your noodles’ ability to accept the creamy love it deserves. The ingredients and shape of your fettuccine noodles are cleverly designed to be hugged by your cream sauce, its the key to their self-actualization. Please don’t let them slip down the Maslowian rungs by lubricating them, k? Besides, this sauce is going to go together so quickly your noodles won’t have time to get their starches stuck.
On with the cooking!
Heat a large cast iron frying pan over high heat until hot. Add the butter/margarine. Once that has melted add your garlic, give it a quick stir then add the peppers. Fry two to three minutes – please don’t let them get soft. Nobody likes a mushy pepper. Stir in your curry paste.
As soon as the curry paste it stirred in, add the shrimp. Stir fry this (and I mean really stir fry – do not let your eyes leave the cook top as our little pan is still on high temp and you might overcook the shrimp and that will only end in tears.)
Just as soon as the shrimp starts to turn pink (and only starts to – believe me, you will not have undercooked shrimp. They will get finished off in the cream/wine stages but if you let them go all pink you’ll have fish-flavoured bubble gum instead of succulent little ocean fruits) add your cream.
Stir, stir, stir until the cream and curry have married and become one. This should only take about 30 seconds. Then you add the wine.
Some for you. Some for the sauce =)
You’re allowed to leave to stove for a bit now and your noodles are likely nicely al dente. Go drain ‘em and get back to the stove real quick-like.
Stir, stir, stir again until the shrimps are turning pink in that lovely winey/creamy/curry menage a trois. As soon as the shrimps are no longer translucent serve the sauce over fettuccine noodles and top with some chopped fresh cilantro or parsley, a little grated Parmesan or Romano cheese and loads of freshly ground pepper.
And now a word about Sybil: Sybil is a veritable master alchemist of all things spicy. She and her husband sell her wares at our local Farmer’s Market and are a wealth of knowledge with regard to making fabulous curries. As stated earlier, we use her Kick Ass Curry Paste in this dish – and it really is kick ass. Mellowing it out with cream and wine really brings out the coconut and coriander undertones of the paste but it really is hot. I thought I was used to spicy heat but even mellowed out this stuff had me sniffling through my meal and the son hitting the fridge for milk at least three times.
Sybil, if you’re reading this; know that we love you and your delicious concoctions but they’re really freakin’ hot!