Roman chef Angelo Troiani riffs on the classic spaghetti ajo, ojo e peperoncino (garlic, oil and chile), embellishing it with shrimp, lemon, pecorino, almond and mint. It's simple, delicious and crowd-pleasing.
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1/2 cup sliced almonds
1/2 pound spaghetti
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 garlic cloves, halved
3/4 pound medium shrimp—shelled, deveined and halved lengthwise
1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest plus 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1/4 cup chopped mint, plus small leaves for garnish
1 cup freshly grated Pecorino Romano cheese (3 ounces)
1 Fresno chile, thinly sliced
How to Make It
Preheat the oven to 425°. Spread the almonds in a cake pan and toast until golden, about 3 minutes. Let cool.
In a large saucepan of salted boiling water, cook the pasta until al dente. Drain, reserving 1/2 cup of the pasta water.
Meanwhile, in a large skillet, heat 2 tablespoons of the olive oil. Add the garlic and cook over moderately low heat, stirring, until golden, about 5 minutes; discard the garlic. Season the shrimp with salt and pepper, add to the skillet and cook, turning, until the shrimp are almost white throughout, about 2 minutes.
Add the pasta, pasta water, lemon zest, lemon juice, chopped mint, 2/3 cup of the cheese and the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil to the skillet and cook, stirring, until saucy, about 2 minutes; season with salt. Transfer the pasta to bowls, garnish with the toasted almonds, mint leaves, chile and remaining cheese and serve.
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