I Know How To Make It, But Not What To Call It

Recipe: Shrimp with Spinach and Tomatoes over Pasta

One afternoon a week or so ago, I was trying to come up with something to make for dinner. The normal process for that is for me to browse my extensive list of recipe bookmarks, looking for something that piques my appetite and interest. Occasionally, like that afternoon, nothing appeals to me. If it’s early enough in the day, I’ll e-mail Kathleen and see if she has any suggestions. Otherwise, we’re looking at dinner out. Truth be told, dinner out usually wins. This time however, Kathleen responded with “I’d really like something with shrimp, spinach, and tomatoes over pasta.”

That sounded good to me too, so I went back over my recipes to find something like that. Surprisingly, I couldn’t find anything even though I could swear I’d seen a dish like that. I came up empty again, but I did find inspiration in two places I regularly go for recipes, The Minimalist (Mark Bittman), and Recipes for Health. Both sources frequently encourage cooks to use what you have in the pantry and to experiment with what sounds good to you at the time. So, I decided to wing it and make a dish up on my own.

While combining shrimp, spinach, tomatoes, and pasta may not seem like a wild experiment to you, that’s only because you don’t know me. I started cooking because it came with instructions (recipes), not because I wanted to combine foods willy-nilly to see what happens. If I’d wanted that, I’d have started eating at Pee-Wee Herman’s cafe’ and bike shop long ago.

Turns out, within boundaries, my mentors are perfectly correct. You can combine ingredients in proportions that are pleasing to the eye and the mind’s stomach and end up with a delicious meal! I guess that’s how recipes get created to begin with, but I always imagined that much more actual … creativity was involved. Who knew?

Shrimp with Spinach and Tomatoes over Pasta
Recipe type: Entree
Author: Jim Tolar
Prep time: 20 mins
Cook time: 20 mins
Total time: 40 mins
Serves: 3-4
Shrimp, sauteed in garlic and olive oil, and spinach in a savory tomato sauce over angel-hair pasta
  • 3/4 lb. raw shrimp, peeled and de-veined, seasoned with salt and pepper
  • 4-6 oz. baby spinach, rinsed and drained
  • 28 0z. canned, diced tomatoes
  • 2-3 garlic cloves, sliced thinly
  • 1/4 tsp. crushed red peppers (or to taste)
  • 3 T olive oil
  • 3/4 lb. angel hair pasta (or any other that you prefer)
  1. Fill a large pot with water and bring to a boil. Salt the water and add the pasta. Return to a gentle boil.
  2. Heat a large, deep skillet or wok on medium high. Add olive oil, garlic, and red pepper. Saute until fragrant.
  3. Working in small batches, saute the shrimp until pink. Remove and reserve. Repeat until all the shrimp is cooked, adding olive oil if needed.
  4. Reduce heat to medium and de-glaze the pan with a few tablespoons of water or white whine, scraping up any brown bits, then add the tomatoes and bring to a simmer, stirring occasionally.
  5. Add the reserved shrimp to the tomato mixture and heat through.
  6. Remove from heat and add the baby spinach, stirring to combine. Cover and allow the spinach to cook slightly until it begins to wilt.
  7. Serve over your drained, cooked pasta. Enjoy!


Rating: I give this a 4 out of 5 because it’s tasty, quick, and easy. I think you could even make this vegetarian by using sauteed Portobello mushrooms instead of shrimp!

This entry was posted in 4 Wine Glasses, Pasta, Seafood, Vegetarian. Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to I Know How To Make It, But Not What To Call It

  1. Joanne says:

    Love the pics in the collage format!

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