Two stars shine in shrimp-pasta dish



Besides their shape, star fruit and star anise don't have a lot in common: One is a tropical fruit, the other an Eastern, licorice-scented spice. They do complement each other, though, and here we're pairing them with cooked shrimp and angel-hair pasta.

These ingredients may be unfamiliar to some but they are not difficult to find. Star fruit, technically known as carambola, and star anise are sold in larger supermarkets.

Two caveats about carambola: Florida's crop was damaged by Hurricane Wilma, so supplies may be erratic and/or pricey. Also, carambola contains a chemical that can cause life-threatening reactions in some patients with advanced kidney disease, says Janeen Leon, a renal dietitian with the Renal Network in Indianapolis. You can substitute seedless grapes or diced mango.

Starstruck Shrimp With Angel Hair

Serves 4 -- Total time: 30 minutes

1 pound frozen, peeled, cooked shrimp

1/2 pound angel-hair pasta

1 tablespoon each: vegetable oil, toasted sesame oil

6 green onions, chopped

3 cloves garlic, minced

1 cup snow peas

4 whole star anise, ground or finely chopped, or 1 teaspoon each ground ginger and cinnamon

1 teaspoon salt

freshly ground pepper

1 carambola (star fruit), diced, plus a few star-shaped slices reserved (see note)

soy sauce or teriyaki sauce

Place shrimp in a large bowl of water to thaw. Cook pasta according to package directions.

Meanwhile, heat oils in a wok or large skillet over high heat; add the onions, garlic and snow peas. Stir-fry until fragrant, 2 minutes. Add the star anise, salt and pepper to taste; stir-fry 30 seconds. Drain shrimp. Add shrimp and carambola to wok; stir-fry until hot, 1 minute.

Drain pasta; add to wok. Toss. Distribute among 4 serving bowls; garnish with carambola slices. Drizzle with soy sauce.

Note: Carambola does not need to be peeled; just remove the seeds.

Per serving: 375 calories, 22 percent of calories from fat, 9 grams fat, 1 gram saturated fat, 168 milligrams cholesterol, 47 grams carbohydrate, 27 grams protein, 783 milligrams sodium, 4 grams fiber

Renee Enna writes for the Chicago Tribune, which provided the recipe and analysis.

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