The concept is simple. Sauté shrimp with shallots, garlic, lemon, and toss with spinach and linguine. Pretty straightforward, right?
Here's where it gets interesting. Instead of just squeezing some lemon juice over the pasta, or grating lemon zest, we are sautéing thin slices of lemon until they are well browned and caramelized. Those sautéed lemons slices get minced and added to everything else.
The browned lemon bits bring zippy bursts of roasted lemony flavor to the dish, providing a wonderful accent to the shrimp, spinach, and linguine.
Try it, you'll see! Just make sure the lemon is very thinly sliced and that you sauté it long enough to get thorough browning.
Shrimp, Lemon, Spinach Linguine
- 8 ounces linguine pasta
- 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1 whole lemon, quartered lengthwise then thinly sliced, seeds removed
- 1/2 cup sliced shallots
- 1 tablespoon minced garlic
- 1 pound peeled, deveined 26-30 count shrimp
- 5 ounces baby spinach leaves
- 1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
- Freshly ground black pepper
Heat water for the pasta:
Heat a large pot of salted water (2 quarts of water, 1 Tbsp salt) for the pasta.
Brown the lemon slices:
While the pasta water is heating, cook the lemon slices. Heat 2 Tbsp olive oil in a large sauté pan on medium high heat.
Add the thinly sliced lemons to the pan and cook until browned and softened, 7 to 8 minutes.
Remove from pan, set aside to cool. Once the lemon slices are cool, mince them.
Start cooking the linguine:
Once the pasta water is boiling, add the linguine pasta to cook.
Sauté shallots and garlic:
Add 1 Tbsp olive oil back to the pan you had used to cook the lemons. Heat on medium high heat. Add the sliced shallots. Cook until softened and lightly browned, about 4 to 5 minutes.
Add the garlic and cook a minute more.
Cook the shrimp:
Add the shrimp to the shallots and garlic and cook until pink on one side, then toss them to cook on the other side, about 2 minutes for each side.
Add the spinach, lemon, some pasta water:
Add the spinach and the minced lemon to the pan and toss to wilt the spinach. Add about 1/2 cup pasta water to the pan.
Drain pasta, toss with shrimp and spinach:
When the pasta is done, strain it and add it to the pan with the shrimp (if you have room, otherwise put everything in a separate bowl), toss to coat. Add salt and pepper to taste.
Serve immediately. Sprinkle with grated Parmesan cheese to serve.