MOCK NO DAIRY SHRIMP ALFREDO
Hands up – are you a sucker for cream-based pasta dishes?? In the US, American-Italian establishments are known for adding heavy cream to some of their most popular pasta sauces. I think they do this partly because cream is cheaper than, say, mounds of cheese (likely more popular in Italy).
Hands up – are you a sucker for cream-based pasta dishes and looking for a way to make them leaner and better for you?? Look no further, friends! The secret is quite simple. If you think about non-dairy “milks,” they’re primarily nut-based, right? Soy, almond, cashew, etc. etc. Take that same concept and apply it to your sauce! By puréeing nuts (pine nuts, in this case), with wet ingredients (see below), you’re able to create the base for a mock cream sauce with a whole lot more depth and flavor than cream itself AND – of course – the health factor. Win win win.
For this dish, I’ve added a few veggies (onions + celery), herbs (parsley), spices (saffron + dried red chile), AND flax seeds. When you blend flax seeds into the nut-based sauce, it almost acts as a bind. Pretty cool and you won’t even know they’re in there.
- Celery (3 stalks)
- Parsley (Bunch)
- Pine Nuts (1/2 cup)
- Flax Seeds (1 tbsp)
- Balsamic Vinegar (2 tsp)
- Dried Red Chile (1 tbsp)
- Garlic Clove (2-3)
- Yellow Onion (1)
- Saffron (Pinch)
- Mirin (1/4 cup)
- Shrimp (Optional)
- Brown Rice Spiral Pasta (16 oz)
- Sun Dried Tomato (Optional – for topping)
- Olive Oil
- Salt + Pepper
- Drizzle some oil into a large sauté pan. Cook the shrimp over medium heat (should only take a few minutes). Spoon out the shrimp and set aside.
- Finely chop up the yellow onion. Add the chopped onions, turn the heat on medium low and sauté the onions with some salt + pepper.
- As the onions start to turn glassy, add the saffron threads. Pour in the mirin, raise the hat to medium to cook out some of the alcohol, then reduce the heat back to low.
- Chop up the garlic cloves and add to the sauté pan. Also add back in the shrimp and stir everything together.
- Place in a food processor the celery, parsley, pine nuts, flax seeds, balsamic vinegar, olive oil, salt + pepper. Blend until relatively smooth but not completely blended.
- Spoon in the blended mixture to the sauté pan as you meld it into a sauce. Use a slotted spoon to do so. Season with salt + pepper as necessary.
- Bring a pot of water up to a boil and salt it generously once boiled. Cook the pasta to just under al denté. Spoon some of the pasta cooking water into your sauté pan and mix into the sauce. Drain the pasta and transfer directly to the sauté pan.
- Raise the heat on the sauté pan to medium to give it once last blast, do a final seasoning (if needed), and serve immediately.