Spaghetti with Breaded Shrimp (Spaghetti con i Gamberi Impannati)
This dish embodies Chicago Italian style, and although the sauce for the pasta has all the makings of a primavera, the fried shrimp on top is very much Sicilian.
For the shrimp:
1 cup all-purpose flour
2 large eggs
2 cups fine dry bread crumbs
18 jumbo shrimp (about 1 pound), peeled and deveined, tails on
Vegetable oil, for frying
1 lemon, cut in 6 wedges
For the spaghetti:
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 garlic cloves, sliced
2 cups small broccoli florets
2 cups sliced cremini mushrooms
1 cup 1-inch pieces asparagus
1 teaspoon kosher salt
pinch peperoncino flakes
1 pound spaghetti
1 bunch scallions, finely chopped
1 cup grated Grana Padano or Parmigiano-Reggiano
Bring a large pot of salted water to boil for pasta. Once boiling, slip the spaghetti into the pot, and cook until al dente.
Meanwhile, pour the flour into one shallow bowl, beat the eggs with a pinch of salt in another, and spread the bread crumbs in a third. Season the shrimp with salt, then dredge them in the flour, tapping off the excess. Dip the shrimp in the egg, letting excess drip back into the bowl, then dredge them in the bread crumbs. Set the breaded shrimp aside while you start the pasta sauce.
Melt 2 tablespoons of the butter in the olive oil in a large skillet oven medium heat. Once the butter has melted, add the garlic and let sizzle for a minute until fragrant. Add the broccoli, mushrooms, and asparagus and season with the salt and peperoncino. Saute the vegetables, tossing occasionally, until they begin to wilt, about 3 minutes. Ladle in 1/2 cup pasta water, cover the skillet, and let cook until the vegetables are almost tender, about 5 minutes.
Meanwhile, heat 1/2-inch vegetable oil in another skillet over medium heat. When the oil is ready (the tip of a shrimp will sizzle on contact), fry the shrimp in 2 batches until crispy and golden, about 3 minutes per side. Drain on paper towels and season with salt. Keep the shrimp warm while you finish the pasta.
Once the vegetables in the sauce are almost tender, uncover, and add the scallions and 1 cup pasta water. Bring the sauce to a simmer and cook until reduced and the vegetables are tender, about 8 to 10 minutes.
When the pasta is al dente, plop it directly into the sauce. Add the remaining 2 tablespoons butter and toss to melt. Remove from heat and toss with the grated cheese. Serve the pasta in bowls, topping each serving with 3 breaded shrimp. Serve with lemon wedges to squeeze over the shrimp.
From Lidia's Italy In America by Lidia Matticchio Bastianich and Tanya Bastianich Manuali. Copyright 2011 by Tutti a Tavola, LLC. Reprinted with permission of Knopf.