Coast Cooking

Shrimp and pasta pair well together

Pasta and shrimp is a classic combination.
Pasta and shrimp is a classic combination. Special to the Sun Herald

Pasta and seafood may seem like a natural combination, but you might be surprised how seldom it appears on restaurant menus.

The exception might be what we often refer to as shrimp scampi, a dish that in the Old World is most often prepared with lobster (langoustines) or prawns.

That is not to say there is anything wrong with preparing this dish with delicious, wild-caught Mississippi shrimp, so if you get your hands of a pound or two of local shrimp, go for it.

The idea is not to make this dish too complicated. All it takes is fresh shrimp, a bit of white wine, a nice but small handful of fresh herb such as cilantro, thyme or Italian parsley, perhaps some breadcrumbs, and a good squirt of lemon. Season with salt and freshly ground white pepper and just a pinch of red pepper flakes if you like, now you are on a roll. The standard admonishment applies, as always —do not overcook the shrimp.

Now would also be a good time to talk about the difference in the quality of pasta that is readily available. There are plenty of artisan-made pastas on-line, but if you shop carefully, you can buy local.

This just might be one of the few recipes where fresh or dried pasta will do. If you want to use fresh, make it yourself, or buy it at the farmer’s market. If you want a better-quality dried pasta, choose a pasta imported from Italy. There are several available at local grocery stores. It will cost you a few pennies more, but the difference is remarkable.