One-Pot Wonders: Orecchiette With Shrimp, Spinach, and Mushrooms
The idea for this recipe unfolded as many of mine typically do, from a case of serious food envy. During this particular situation, I was in a restaurant and had ordered a lackluster filet of fish that was over-salted and a little soggy. At the table to my right? A young child happily devouring a plate of ravioli coated in a creamy white sauce speckled with herbs. Without any tact on my part, I hungrily watched as he nibbled on plump shrimp, impressively sucking the meat out of the tails, while his mother picked mushrooms out of the dish—apparently he was at that age. It probably wouldn't have been okay for me to offer to eat them instead...
Back home, I decided to make a slightly healthier version and skip the cream sauce in favor of a quick white wine sauce flavored with shallots and a pinch of red chili flakes for some heat (feel free to up the amount if you're a heat lover). And in place of ravioli, I decided to cook orecchiette in chicken broth for extra flavor. The result is a starchy, hearty pasta that I enjoyed eating as much as that kid enjoyed his.
You'll notice that the mushrooms are cooked in the pan first, then set aside until later. This allows them to turn golden brown, and helps prevent them from stewing and growing soggy in the sauce. When the pasta is nearly done, the shrimp are added and cooked just until pink, with the spinach stirred in at the last minute to wilt it. Finish it off with a squeeze of lemon for a bright hit of acidity and you've got a quick and easy dinner that has a light protein as well as nutritious spinach and mushrooms. To increase the health benefits, try using a whole-grain pasta.