Something about the warm weather makes me crave seafood. This is the only time of the year when I think I’d have any chance of making it as a vegetarian, or more accurately a pesceterian. Though, I’d definitely end up missing burgers and grilled steaks and bacon and… Oh, nevermind! I’d make a terrible vegetarian. But, I do love seafood in the summer! It’s fresh and light and tastes great with summery lemons. With that in mind, I offer you Shrimp and Asparagus in a Lemony Basil Alfredo Sauce over Fettucine.
The sauce is a basic creamy alfredo sauce, with the addition of basil and a little lemon juice and zest. Lemon zest is the bright outer peel of the lemon (not including the bitter, white pith). It is full of concentrated lemon flavor. You can skip the zest, but it really deepens the lemony flavor and looks lovely in the sauce. So, I definitely recommend it. To zest your lemon, thoroughly wash it and then use a zester to remove the thin outer layer of the peel. If you don’t have a zester, you can use a vegetable peeler or paring knife to carefully remove the outer peel. Then, cut the peel into small strips.
Shrimp and Asparagus in a Lemony Basil Alfredo Sauce over Fettucine
- 1 pound Shrimp, deveined and peeled
- 1 small bunch of Asparagus
- 1 box Fettucine pasta
For the sauce:
- 3 Tbsp Olive Oil
- 2-3 Tbsp water
- 1 Shallot, diced**
- 5-7 Basil Leaves, chopped**
- 1 Lemon, zest and juice
- 1 1/2 cups Light Cream
- 1/2 cup Parmesan Cheese
- Salt and Pepper
** Chop the shallot the same way you would chop a small onion. Click on the Photo Guides tab to view step-by-step photos of how to chop an onion and how to chiffonade basil leaves.
Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Cook the fettucine, al dente, according to the package directions.
Steam asparagus, chop into small pieces, and set aside.
In a large saute pan, heat 1-2 Tbsp of olive oil over medium heat. Add shrimp to the pan and cook about 5 minutes until they are completely cooked through. They will be pink and opaque. Remove the shrimp from the pan and set aside.
Add a small amount of water to the pan, over medium heat, and use a wooden spoon to scrape up any browned bits of shrimp stuck to the pan. Continue scraping the bottom of the pan until the bits are loosened and water has mostly evaporated. **See note below.**
Then, add about a tablespoon of olive oil to the pan. Add the chopped shallot and cook until slightly softened, about 3-4 minutes.
Add the cream and the zest. Bring to a gentle simmer, stirring constantly.
Add the cheese, basil, and the juice from 1/2 the lemon (about a Tbsp) to the sauce. Stir to combine.
Continue simmering for a few minutes until the sauce begins to thicken. If the sauce becomes too thick, add a bit more cream or milk to thin it out.
Season with salt and pepper. Taste and add a bit more lemon juice, if desired.
Add shrimp and asparagus to the sauce for a few seconds to reheat. Toss the fettucine in the sauce.
** This step is called deglazing. Those little caramelized bits in the pan are called sucs. There’s some yummy flavor in those sucs, as long as you don’t burn them. The cool water will sizzle in the hot pan and help loosen the sucs while you scrape them up. This step will prevent the bits from burning on the bottom, while preserving the shrimpy flavor for the sauce. A bit of stock or white wine would work well for this step too, but water is just fine. If the sucs burn, clean out the pan before cooking the shallot.