Monday, December 27, 2010

Celebrating My Anniversary...and Scampi Over Spaghetti Aglio e Olio

Well…Christmas is over for another year. After a frenzy of activity last week, the presents are unwrapped and the food is eaten. We’re back in San Antonio after a wonderful visit home to Houston to spend the holiday with our families. But? The fun continues this week…our tree and d├ęcor are still up because we leave ours out until Epiphany. December 27th is a very special day at Casa Garcia…seven years ago, I married my best friend/foodie partner in crime/travel companion in a romantic holiday wedding!! We had lots of red and gold decor…and some kick-ass food, champagne, and cake. How else would two foodies do it? Our reception was a seated luncheon at our favorite restaurant: Brennan’s Houston. We tasted cakes at a gazillion bakeries to find just the right one…a cake that tasted as good as it looked. So…Happy Anniversary, Michael!!! I can’t imagine anyone else I’d like to navigate this crazy thing we call life with...or share cake with!!!

I hope all of you had a lovely Christmas surrounded by family and friends and sharing traditions and tasty food. Everyone in our families know me so well…I added three new cookbooks to my collection: Thomas Keller’s Bouchon, Rick Bayless’s Mexican Kitchen, and Ina Garten’s How Easy Is That?. I’ll also add Dorie Greenspan’s Around My French Table as soon as I can get to Barnes & Noble to use a gift card that I received. Michael also gave me a pro-grade rimmed baking sheet + Silpat from Williams-Sonoma. Call me a geek, but I’ve wanted a Silpat for ages. Receiving new cookbooks and kitchen goodies is like meeting new friends for me…I can’t wait to get to know them and make some happy memories together!!

Santa Dad sent us back with a pound of lovely jumbo shrimp, a ham, and a turkey breast. After not cooking much the past week, I was getting twitchy and ready to get into my kitchen. I looked through my new cookbooks to look for something simple to whip up after a hectic week. I decided on baked shrimp scampi from a lovely casserole cookbook called Bake Until Bubbly. I paired it with Spaghetti Aglio e Olio from my new Barefoot Contessa cookbook. They paired together very well…full of flavor and ready to eat in about 30 minutes. I paired it with a simple salad, and it made a great dinner. It was chilly, so we ate dinner in front of a roaring fire…watching Godfather II on TV. It was a lovely way to end the Christmas weekend before heading back to work today.

Since I haven’t posted a recipe in here for more than a week, I’m giving you BOTH recipes today…enjoy! These two dishes are great on their own, but together? They're simply dynamite. Pair with a simple salad and some crusty bread, and you've got a fabulous dinner in a little more than 30 minutes.

Scampi Over Spaghetti Aglio e Olio
adapted from Ina Garten's How Easy Is That? and Bake Until Bubbly

Spaghetti Aglio e Olio

Step 1:  Bring a large pot of salted water to boil. Add a 1-lb. package of spaghetti and cook according to the package. My preferred brand of pasta is Rustichella D'abruzzo. Save 1 1/2 cups of the pasta cooking water before draining. 

Step 2:  While the pasta cooks, heat 1/3 cup good olive oil over medium heat in a large saute pan. Add 8 cloves of garlic that you thinly slice or grate. Cook for 2 minutes, stirring frequently so it doesn't burn. 

Step 3: Add 1/2 tsp. crushed red pepper and cook for another 30 seconds. Add the reserved pasta water and bring to a boil. Lower the heat, add 1 tsp. salt, and simmer for about five minutes. The sauce should reduce by about 1/3. 

Step 4:  Remove the pan from the heat. Add the drained pasta, 1 cup grated parmesan reggiano, and 1/2 cup chopped Italian flat-leaf parsley. 

Step 5:  Toss to combine and let sit for about 10 minutes. This allows the pasta to absorb the sauce. 


Step 1:  Combine the following ingredients in a large bowl:
  • 1 lb. large shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 1/3 cup good olive oil (I used Round Pond's Meyer Lemon Olive Oil)
  • 4 cloves garlic, finely chopped or grated
  • 1 shallot, finely chopped
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. red pepper flakes
  • Black pepper to taste
Step 2:  Place in a shallow baking dish and roast in a preheated 425 oven until pink. This should take about 15 minutes.

To serve the dish, place the spaghetti on a serving platter. Top with the shrimp, and sprinkle more parmesan and chopped parsley on top.

This dish is simple, but full of flavor from the garlic and red pepper flakes. The sauce is creamy, but it's not rich since it doesn't actually contain cream. This is simple to whip up on a lazy Sunday, but still elegant enough to serve company. 

Come back later this week to find out my 2010 Favorite 10 Restaurant Foods…and my 2010 Favorite 10 Recipes Featured on my Blog. Oh…and I’ll be having a little giveaway to say goodbye to 2010 and hello to 2011


  1. Congratulations on your anniversary! Married life and Holiday weddings are the best! How nice to share your passion for food with your spouse- it's such a gift! Glad to hear about all the exciting cookbooks you got for Christmas, will enjoy hearing more about them!

  2. Congratulations on your wedding anniversary and Chritstmas, all at the same time. Your shrimp scampi looks so good. Our favorite shrimp dish is fresh basil, lemon, and garlic, simple but yummy

  3. Congratulations Wendy! You two make such a beautiful couple. Sounds like a wonderful Christmas trip. Your shrimp dish looks lovely, too!

  4. Happy anniversary!!!!!

    I, too, want silpat *sigh* You made out well for Christmas!!! The dinner looks so fab. The fresh jumbo shrimp probably made scampi even more.....FABULOUS as Ina would say :)

    Hope you had a great day!

  5. That is how I make my spaghetti..looks so good!
    and you are so beautiful on you wedding photos!

  6. Congrats on yor anniversary. I too can't live without my silpats!

  7. Congrats on your anniversary! Gorgeous wedding photos. Loved that you carried holiday decor over into your foodie wedding and reception. I love my Silpat but honestly forget to use it half the time. Beautiful food photos. What an awesome way to get back into your kitchen.

  8. Congrats on your anniversary! hope you have a great one!

  9. Thanks for all the kind anniversary wishes...we celebrated with dinner out (Pappasito's) and a movie (The Social Network). I was so excited to break out my new Fiesta scarlet serving platter that my parents gave me for Christmas. I also received a matching footed serving bowl.

  10. Congratulations on your wedding anniversary!!! I wish you all the best!!! :-)

  11. Congratulations on your wedding anniversary, Wendy! Lovely wedding photos, such a beautiful couple you two make!
    Love your pasta dish, great recipe!

  12. Happy Anniversary, Wendy! The husband loves shrimp with pasta, so bookmarking the recipe, too!

  13. Happy Anniversary!!! A colorful, wonderful dish to celebrate.

  14. Happy Anniversary and Healthy and Happy New Years!

  15. Happy Anniversary! This looks scrumptious! Good enough for me to make myself. I love simple but I love flavor even more! Thank you so much for sharing.


  16. Hi Beautiful Woman! You and your husband are just adorable...but you, my dear, are just stunning! Your shrimp dish looks delicious, and I've been hankering for some pasta. Thank you so much for sharing with me. I hope you are having a day of love and joy.

  17. Congratulations on your anniversary! Love the scampi. Great flavors.

    Happy New Year to you!!

  18. What GORGEOUS wedding photos! Happy Anniversary! And LOVE the recipe.

  19. Happy anniversary, Wendy! Just beautiful wedding pictures. So glad that you all had a wonderful Christmas. I love that Mexican book too!
    I'm here to look up or Peppermint Truffle recipe again. I'm taking it to New Years. I can not tell you how many of those truffles I ate... and I'm ready for more.
    I'm eagerly awaiting your Easter version! You do know my Grand Marnier addiction, don't you?? =)

  20. Congratulations on the anniversary! We just celebrated our 25th year of marriage! It goes way too fast....!

  21. That's a fabulous looking shrimp and pasta dish! Thanks for linking it up to Ina's Garden!

  22. Thank you for sharing your delicious Scampi Over Spaghetti Aglio e Olio with Ina's Garden. It looks wonderful!

    By the way, your wedding pictures are gorgeous!

  23. What a fabulous dish. I am glad you shared this with Ina's Garden.

  24. Thanks for linking up one of my favorite pasta dishes, Wendy! I always love seeing your wedding pics, too!


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