Embarrassing because I find that I'm not truly enjoying my meal unless I'm sweating and I have to pronounce words differently because my mouth is in so much pain. See? Embarrassing. And weird.
But I just can't help myself! No matter what's for dinner or how much heat I've already put into the dang recipe, my shaky, crushed red pepper-addicted hand always reaches for the spice cabinet to douse on some more of the good stuff. Sometimes I think that cabinet should have a child-proof lock. Most of the time I think I have a problem.
Surely, I can't be alone. Right?
So, before I give you a healthified version of one of my favorite pasta dishes (healthy even though the title says "creamy". Trust.), I'm first going to be an enabler and share with you the recipe for one of the best cocktails I've ever had. It's so tasty! And a few shakes of Tabasco take it to another level. Delicious AND detoxifying. Yesiree.
Rum Fire, Waikiki Beach
Combine the following in whatever ratio makes you truly happy. Serve on the rocks.
Bacardi Dragonberry rum
Fresh lime juice
As many dashes of Tabasco as you can handle
Now that I think you sufficiently understand my issues with spice addiction, we'll talk about dinner.
This recipe for shrimp fra diavolo in a light pink sauce is a quick and healthy way to wrap up your day. We're talking healthy protein, tons of fiber, and no shortage of heat and flavor in 30 minutes flat. Come on!
Pre-cooked shrimp makes this meal a snap! Toss it in your pasta pot during the last 2 minutes of cooking, and done. And the creamy pink sauce comes together with flavor and richness thanks to dried herbs and non-fat Greek yogurt.
And don't forget that crushed red pepper! You're the cook. You get to decide how spicy you want it and eeeeeevveryone else will just have to deal with it.
Creamy Shrimp Fra Diavolo
Loosely based on a recipe by Taste of Home
Yields 4 servings
2 tsp extra virgin olive oil
1/2 c onion, chopped
1 tbs garlic, minced
Pinch crushed red pepper flakes (size of pinch depends on your taste!)
1 tbs corn starch
1 28-oz can whole peeled tomatoes
1 tsp brown sugar
1 bay leaf
1 tsp fennel seed (optional)
1 tsp dried basil
1/2 c plain Greek yogurt, non-fat
1 lb whole wheat penne pasta
1 pound cooked medium shrimp, peeled, deveined, and thawed (if frozen)
1 tbs grated Parmesan cheese
1 tbs fresh parsley, chopped
Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat, and add the oil. Saute the onion until tender, about 5 minutes. Stir in the garlic and red pepper flakes, and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute.
Add the corn starch, stirring to blend, and cook for about 2 minutes.
Place tomatoes in a blender, and cover and process until pureed. Add to onion mixture. Stir in the brown sugar, bay leaf, fennel (if using), basil, salt and pepper.
Bring to a boil, and then reduce heat, cover and simmer for 10 minutes. Remove and discard bay leaf from the sauce. Turn off the heat, and add the yogurt. Stir well.
Meanwhile, cook the pasta according to package directions. Reduce the heat and add the shrimp to heat through only, about 2 minutes. Drain the pasta and shrimp well, and add to the skillet with the sauce. Toss well to combine and heat through.
Serve with grated cheese and parsley.