Fettuccine with Shrimp, Zucchini and Basil

Seafood, seasonal vegetables and pasta are a common combination in Tuscany. This is a summery version that Benedetta Vitali serves at Zibibbo, using firm, dark green zucchini.

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  • Servings: 6

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  • 1 pound medium shrimp, shelled and deveined, shells reserved
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 celery rib, thinly sliced
  • 1 carrot, thinly sliced
  • Salt
  • 1 pound fresh fettuccine or 1 1/4 pounds dried fettuccine
  • 5 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 pound small zucchini, sliced 1/4 inch thick
  • 2 large garlic cloves, very thinly sliced
  • 1/4 cup tomato sauce
  • 10 large basil leaves, roughly torn into pieces
  • 1 teaspoon very finely chopped oregano
  • Crushed red pepper
  • 12 small zucchini blossoms, stems and pistils removed, petals roughly torn
  • Freshly ground pepper

How to make this recipe

  1. In a small saucepan, cover the shrimp shells with the water. Add the sliced celery and carrot and boil the shrimp shells over high heat until the liquid has reduced to 1 cup, about 20 minutes. Strain the shrimp stock through a fine-mesh sieve into a small bowl, pressing hard on the solids with the back of a spoon to extract the liquid. Season the shrimp stock with salt.

  2. In a large pot of boiling salted water, cook the fettuccine until just barely al dente. Drain the fettuccine, reserving 1/4 cup of the pasta cooking water.

  3. In a large, deep skillet, heat 3 tablespoons of the olive oil until shimmering. Add the sliced zucchini and garlic and cook over high heat, stirring frequently, until the zucchini is just softened and beginning to brown, about 5 minutes. Add the shrimp stock, fettuccine, shrimp, tomato sauce, basil, oregano and the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Add a pinch of crushed pepper and simmer over moderate heat, tossing constantly, until the shrimp are pink and the sauce is nearly absorbed, about 4 minutes. Add the torn zucchini blossoms and toss just until they are wilted. Stir in the reserved pasta cooking water and season the fettuccine generously with salt and pepper. Transfer the fettuccine to a large serving bowl and serve immediately.

Suggested Pairing

A light, tangy white with crisp acidity and clean flavors will mingle nicely with the sweet shrimp, zucchini and fresh basil and oregano used in this fettuccine recipe. Try a lighter-style Vernaccia di San Gimignano.

Contributed By Photo © Mirjam Bleeker Published August 2002

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