Spaghetti con Gamberetti e Rucola

This is the second recipe installment for my entry to Foodbuzz’s 24×24 this November.

For my Thanksgiving dinner called “Beyond Turkey, A Modern Thanksgiving Dinner,” I served perfect roasted chicken and pasta in lieu of the traditional turkey. I initially wanted to serve the food lauriat-syle because it gives a sense of being a one big united family. Besides, it’s fun having to pass the dishes around. However, due to table-size limitations, I had to improvise and make use of a separate buffet table.

The recipe is originally from Jamie Oliver and I particularly love it because of the great combination of flavors. You got tomatoes, chilies, shrimps, cheese and arugula, all in one dish. According to Jamie, he found the dish on the menu of a little restaurant called La Gondola in one of the roughest parts of Palermo. I could only dream of going there. Recreating this pasta dish is possibly the closest thing I could ever get to living a real La Gondola experience.

Here goes the recipe for Spaghetti con Gamberetti e Rucola (spaghetti with shrimps and arugula):


Ingredients (Serves 4-6 persons)

  • 1 pound dried spaghetti
  • sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 cloves of garlic, peeled and minced
  • 1 teaspoon dried red pepper flakes
  • 1 pound large fresh shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 1 small wineglass of white wine (or you can experiment and use any white soda)
  • 2 heaping tablespoons sun-dried tomato paste
  • zest and juice of one lemon
  • 2 handfuls of fresh arugula, roughly chopped
  • lots of grated Parmesan cheese

Just a little tip. If you’re from Manila and you’re not going out of town to visit organic farms, it’s likely that you’ll buy your arugula off the cold section of the supermarket. Arugula will wilt quickly so it’s advisable that you buy your arugula on the same day that you’re gonna use it. Otherwise, you can buy it a day in advance (definitely not more than a day based on my experience) and when you get home, don’t wash the leaves (trust me on this one, it’s based on experience again). Just leave it in whatever packaging it comes from. And when you store it in your refrigerator, make sure that no liquid will touch it and that it will stay dry. It wilts so fast when it’s wet.

Back to the recipe 🙂

Cook your spaghetti in a large pan of salted boiling water according to the packet instructions. Meanwhile, heat 3 good lugs of extra virgin olive oil in a large frying pan and toss in the garlic and chili. As the garlic begins to color, add the shrimp and sauté them for a minute. Add the white wine and the tomato purée and simmer for a couple of minutes. When the pasta is ready, drain it in a colander, reserving a little of the cooking water. Toss the spaghetti with the sauce, squeeze in the lemon juice, add half the chopped arugula, adding a little of the reserved cooking water if you want to loosen the sauce a bit, and correct the seasoning. Divide between 4 plates and sprinkle with the grated lemon zest, Parmesan cheese, and the rest of the arugula leaves.

During the dinner, I paired the pasta with a  Banrock Station Frizzante from Southeastern Australia. It’s a non-vintage wine  that came highly recommended by the staff at Wine Depot. The Frizzante wine was bubbly but the bubbles were much lighter than those in a Champagne. It was light, crisp and very refreshing. The light fruit and tropical flavors paired well with our seafood and pasta dish. My guests loved the Frizzante. It was truly a celebratory wine.

In case some of you don’t know, “vintage” is a term that describes both the year of the actual grape harvest and the year the wine was made from those grapes. In the United States, the label may list the vintage year if 95% of the wine comes from grapes harvested that year. If a blend of grapes from two or more years is used, the wine is non-vintage (NV) such as the Frizzante wine that I served, but it doesn’t necessarily follow that it’s not as good as a vintage wine.

You can also pair this dish with a good Chardonnay or Sauvignon Blanc.

So there. Try this at home and here’s hoping that it will transport you to Palermo 🙂


11 thoughts on “Spaghetti con Gamberetti e Rucola

  1. Claudia says:

    thanks so much for you very kind words and visit! This is a fabulous recipe and one of my very favorites…your picts captured this dish perfectly bravo!

  2. Amy says:

    What a simple, yet elegant and delicious dish! Pasta and shrimp are fabulous together! I love anything Jamie Oliver inspired as well ;)!

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