Pasta with Shrimp and Crispy Proscuitto

Cooking for one can be hard. I have heard it from many people that they just don't know how to cook for one person, they cook too much and then in turn eat too much, or it is not worth their time. I agree to all of this a smidge, but reality is that cooking for one can be great. You can cook one portion by calculating the recipe for one or make the whole lot and have a few dinners waiting for you at home. My husband has to work at night sometimes and I find myself just snacking, heating something up or making a salad. Which, let's face it, is super boring. But I decided that from now on I will cook for myself and enjoy every second. And last night I did! My advice for those cooking for one is to mind portions. If a recipe serves 4, just divide all the ingredients by 4. Cooking and baking time will probably be just a hair shorter than what it calls for, so use your best judgement. Also, this is a great time to try out a recipe that you have had stocked away and were wary to make for a crowd. You are your own best taste tester! This pasta was quick, full of flavor and I used a bunch of ingredients already in my home. Keeping frozen shrimp around is a great hands-on ingredient. Defrosts in minutes, cooks in seconds and add great protein to any dish. I hope that your solo cooking goes great. Believe me, it will be the most satisfying part of your day.

Pasta with Shrimp and Crispy Prosciutto
Forks & Amusement 2010
serves 1 (you can double, triple, etc. to make for a crowd as well!)

1 serving of pasta, according to package (I like spaghetti for this, but use what you have in your pantry)
3 thin slices of Prosciutto, chopped
extra virgin olive oil
1/2 large shallot or 1 small, minced
1/2 clove of garlic, minced
red pepper flakes to taste (a dash for those that don't like as much heat, 2 dashes for spice lovers)
1/4 cup white wine
1/4 cup chicken stock
7 uncooked good-sized shrimp
juice of 1/2 a lemon
4 tablespoons Parmesan cheese, grated
4 basil leaves, chopped

Cook pasta in boiling salted water according to package instructions until al dente. Reserving cooking liquid.

Meanwhile, place a saute pan on the stove over medium heat. Once hot, add the prosciutto. Cook, stirring every 30 seconds or so, until crisp (this happens fast, and can burn easy). Remove pan from heat and place prosciutto on paper towel lined plate.

Return the pan to the stove over medium heat. Add 1/2 tablespoon of olive oil. Once hot, add the shallot and cook for 2 minutes or until translucent. Add the garlic and red pepper flakes and cook an additional 30 seconds or until the garlic is fragrant. Add the wine to the pan to deglaze and scrape up any bits on the bottom. Bring to a boil and let reduce for two minutes. Add the stock and allow sauce to reduce  again for a couple minutes. Add the shrimp and cook on both sides until pink and cooked through. Add Salt and pepper to taste.

Add the cooked pasta to the pan and stir to combine. Allow the pasta to soak up some of the sauce and cook for 2 minutes.
If sauce seems a bit thin, add a bit of the pasta cooking water. Add the cheese and stir to combine. Serve immediately topped with the crispy prosciutto, lemon juice, basil and extra grated cheese.


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