Summer Send-off Shrimp Pasta

Having spent twenty consecutive summers in Dallas, I always know that I’m going to turn into August is going to be a firey, angry beast forcing us all to seek air-conditioned comfort indoors, preferably with a cool drink and tolerable company. Well, the past few weeks have been especially brutal, because even if it was necessary to be running around in the gawdawful heat, the threat of being taken out by tiny little ninja warrior mosquitoes rendered every errand a life or death event.

This past weekend, though, we were granted a reprieve. Fall fluttered in and Dallasites were set free. Every restaurant patio in the city was bustling, families filled the playgrounds, and the scene at White Rock Lake reminded me of a sexier, multi-cultural, barely clothed version of this:

So, now that I’ve caught a glimpse of Fall, I’m ready to throw summer a great big giant “thanks for everything–it was great, now be on your way” send-off.

Succulent apples, pears and pumpkins beckon–but, while it’s still warm and light enough to grill dinner outdoors and the multi-hued, bursting-with-flavor cherry tomatoes are plentiful, I like to make something like this shrimp pasta dish. It’s Greek meets Galveston–garlicky grilled shrimp tossed with a simple cherry tomato sauté, sprinkled with oregano and crumbled feta on a bed of sunny yellow quinoa pasta. Pure-fection!! Put on a pot of water for pasta, fire up the grill, and pour yourself a cold one. Here’s to another summer survived!

Recipe for Summer Send-Off Shrimp Pasta:

(yields 4 moderate-sized servings)

I have used quinoa linguine here, but any other pasta will work well. Also, if you don’t want to grill, you could broil the shrimp or even sauté with the tomatoes.

1 8 oz. box Quinoa Pasta

1 # Shrimp (31/40 count), raw, peeled and deveined

1 pt. Cherry Tomatoes (a mix of red, yellow and orange–rinsed and stems removed)

1/4 C. Shallots, minced

4 t. Garlic, minced

1/4 C. Chopped Fresh Oregano

1/2 C. Feta Cheese (mild, crumbled)

3 T. Olive Oil

3 T. Lemon Juice (or juice of 1 lemon)

1/3 C. Chicken Broth

Kosher Salt

Pepper (Freshly ground white pepper would be my choice!)

Directions: Gather all of the cherry tomatoes into a shallow pan so that they create a snug single layer. Poke each one with the point of a paring knife. Heat grill to high and then turn down to medium. Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain and toss with 1 t. of olive oil. Combine 1 T. of the olive oil, 1 T. of the lemon juice and 1 t. of the minced garlic in a small bowl. Grill shrimp (skewering first will make it easier), brushing with the olive oil/lemon juice/garlic and sprinkle with salt and pepper. When shrimp have just started to turn a creamy, opaque white in the center, remove from the grill and set aside in a warm spot.

For the cherry tomato sauce, heat a 8 or 9″ skillet over high heat and add remaining olive oil. When oil is hot, but not smoking, carefully add the cherry tomatoes and roll them around in the pan for about 1 min. Add garlic and shallots and continue to stir. Just as the tomatoes start to burst slightly, add the chicken broth and the remaining 2 T. of lemon juice. Allow to simmer for 30 sec.more. Add oregano. Season with about 1/2 t. salt and pepper to taste. Add the pasta to the pan along with the shrimp and toss everything together to heat and coat with sauce. Sprinkle with feta cheese and toss once more. Adjust salt and pepper to taste.

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