Growing up with parents whose parents were raised in the south, they were taught to cook food to it's fullest. Sort of Paula Deen style, if you will. While I do agree that that particular kind of food is delicious, it's not necessarily how I choose to prepare things in my own kitchen, and definitely not the way I cook on a daily basis. I like to take my mother's recipes and tweak them from time to time, opting for organic or fresher ingredients I feel more comfortable serving Ryan and our friends.
On my recent trip to Seattle I had the chance to spend a few days with my beautiful sister Danielle and brother in-law Trenton. My sister was one of those kids that had every allergy known to man. We would joke that she was allergic to anything green, basically meaning the outdoors. She went through the allergy shots and that whole mess for years, just assuming that her life would be one miserable sinus cold for, well, forever! Eventually fed up and exhausted from being sick more times then she could count, she asked her doctor about food allergies to which he told her, "You're crazy! It's not that." Not something you want to hear from your doctor! So off she went, on a mission to prove this guy wrong. She felt confident that she had narrowed it down to alcohol, dairy and gluten. She eliminated all 3 from her diet, then slowly incorporated each one back in one at time over the course of 3-4 months. Alcohol was fine, dairy was hit or miss, but gluten was the winner. Since then her and Trenton have completely changed their eating habits in favor of a gluten free diet... and she's never felt better!
I am lucky enough to have no food allergies but last night I had the opportunity to cook for Peter, a friend of ours who chooses to be gluten free; and I just have to say it's starting to look extremely appealing. This recipe comes from Gluten Free Girl, a blog my sister recommended to me, which is full of healthy dishes and fantastic stories.
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 cloves garlic, sliced paper-thin
1½ pounds cherry tomatoes, halved
Generous pinch of red pepper flakes
1 pound dried gluten-free linguine
1 pound large shrimp, peeled and deveined
½ cup dry white white wine
Kosher salt or sea salt
1 | To slow-roast the tomatoes: slice cherry tomatoes in half, spread across a baking sheet covered in parchment paper, pour a glug of olive oil over the top, then sprinkle salt and fresh thyme on top. Toss. Cook in a 275°F oven until the cherries are slightly shrunken and have released their juices, about 2 hours.
2 | Bring a large pot of water to a rolling boil and salt generously. Place the olive oil and garlic in a large frying pan over low heat. Cook the garlic slowly for 4 to 6 minutes, or until softened but now browned. Add the tomatoes and red pepper flakes and stir to combine them with the garlic slices. Cover the pan and let the tomatoes heat slowly for a few minutes.
3 | Add the pasta to the boiling water and cook until al dente. When the pasta is done, drain it from the pot, saving about 1 cup of the water. Immediately run cold water over the pasta, which stops the cooking process. Pour a glug of olive oil over the pasta and toss it.
4 | Raise the heat under the frying pan to medium-high and add the shrimp. Cook, stirring frequently, for 3 minutes, or until the shellfish have turned opaque. Raise the heat to high and pour in the wine. Let it bubble for a minute or so, or just until the shellfish are completely cooked. Scoop a ladleful of cooking water from the pasta pot and stir it into the frying pan. Taste and season with salt, if needed. Turn off the heat.
5 | Transfer the pasta to the frying pan and gently toss the pasta and sauce to combine thoroughly, adding a splash or two more of the cooking water if necessary to loosen the sauce. Transfer the dressed pasta to warmed shallow individual bowls and serve immediately.