Don't dismiss orange juice as merely the breakfast beverage of choice. Imagine its vibrant juicy sweetness in a savory sauce. Married with a little spiciness, in this case, scallions and jalapeno chilies, and then enriched with cream and dry vermouth, orange juice makes a delectable sauce. Top a bed of pasta with the Valencia sauce, shrimp, fresh basil and crunchy pistachios and you have an irresistible entree prepared in less than 30 minutes.
(For another meal one day, try orange juice as a replacement for part of the oil in a salad dressing or marinade. It can also add a mellow tang to meat and poultry glazes and barbecue sauce.)
For this week's menu, balance the Shrimp Valencia with a leafy green salad (which you can quickly coordinate from the supermarket salad bar). Serve some pita crisps on the side. The crisps are simply made by cutting pita bread rounds into pie-shaped wedges, brushing with olive oil and then sprinkling with herbs or a pepper blend. Bake in a 300 degree oven for 15 minutes.
If you cannot find shelled pistachios, pine nuts are an excellent substitute.
For dessert, purchased gingersnaps dipped in luscious lemon curd make a nice finale.
Items you should have in your pantry include: olive oil, salt, herb or pepper blend, cornstarch, orange juice concentrate, salad dressing and dry vermouth.
Your 10-item-or-less shopping list should include:
1 pound large shrimp, shelled, if possible
8 ounces heavy (whipping) cream
12 ounces capellini (angel hair) pasta
1 ounce shelled pistachios
1 jar minced pickled jalapenos (or sliced)
lemon curd (jarred, usually found in specialty or preserve section)
Shrimp Valencia with pistachios
Makes four servings.
1 tablespoon olive oil
24 large shrimp (about one pound), peeled
4 scallions, thinly sliced
2 teaspoons minced jarred jalapenos
1 1/4 cup dry vermouth mixed with 1 tablespoon cornstarch
1/4 cup frozen orange juice concentrate
8 ounce container whipping (heavy) cream
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup chopped fresh basil
1/4 cup natural unsalted shelled pistachios, coarsely chopped
Heat oven to 300 degrees.
Cut pita bread into wedges, place on flat baking sheet, season and bake 15 minutes.
Put a large pot of salted water on to boil for pasta. You will be cooking it according to package directions.
Place olive oil in a medium skillet and heat on high. When hot, add shrimp and cook very quickly until each side has just turned pink. Remove shrimp to a plate and cover with foil to keep warm. Lower heat to medium high, add jalapeno and saute for one minute. Add vermouth with cornstarch, orange juice concentrate and cream while whisking constantly. Lower heat to a simmer. Now you should be ready to cook your pasta.
Just before draining pasta, add the basil and scallions to the orange-cream sauce and stir. Add shrimp to cream sauce just to warm. Drain pasta and divide between four dinner plates. Top liberally with shrimp and Valencia sauce. Sprinkle each serving with pistachios. Serve immediately.