Saturday, April 12, 2008

Heart Attack on a Plate: Italian Sausage Shrimp Pan Roast over Pasta

Enough with the frugal food. Lets do something lavish. Full of calories. Full of taste. Heart attack on a plate. Damn the torpedoes. Full flavor ahead.

I made this recipe up after eating at John Asquaga's Nugget. The Oyster Bar serves a most delicious pan roast that has been their signature item since the 1950's. My favorite is the oyster pan roast. My husband who hates oysters prefers the shrimp and crab combo. Pan Roast is basically a smooth soup made from cream, wine, cocktail sauce and other secret spices and containing sea food. Sweet and slightly spicy (is that paprika?) with a faint tomatoey undertone. It's a real treat to sit at the Oyster Bar counter and watch them make the pan roast in steam heated bowls. Wham bam boodle, the cook moves like a practiced ballet dancer adding the ingredients, opening the hot steam vents, wooosh. Tossing the ingredients, whipping out bottles that contain the magic ingredients squirting just the perfect amount into the hot steaming metal bowl.

A short story to illustrate just what an iconic item the Pan Roast is and how seriously the Nugget takes this: Last summer we went to Reno (Sparks actually) and ordered our old standby favorite that we have to have each time that we have gone there for the last 17 years. It was completely inedible!!! Some one had tampered with the recipe and it was so freaking spicy you couldn't taste the seafood or anything else other than the hot spices. Our tongues were on fire. WATER!!! Upon leaving the restaurant, we complained to the hostess and she said that they had received a lot of complaints. Surely they haven't changed the recipe? Say it ain't so.

I sent an email to the Nugget expressing our disappointment and requesting that if they want to have a spicy version, please let us have the option of ordering the original. Within a day, I received a call at my office from the manager of all the restaurants in the Nugget . The big cheese was calling me! and wanted to know the time and date that we ate there. No they had NOT changed the recipe and he wanted to find out which of the cooks had taken it upon himself to spice things up. Turns out that they have hired several new Mexican cooks who persistently and secretly spiced up many of the recipes. The Nugget had received a lot of complaints and WOULD be taking care of this. Now, I don't especially want someone to lose their job..... but don't mess with my pan roast. The Nugget took this issue seriously and I was very impressed at the top down customer service.

Because this flavor is something we really like and we only get to taste it once or twice a year, why not use the basic sauce and mix it up a bit at home? I asked myself. I added Italian Sausage, which I had on hand at the time and use frozen shrimp (thawed out) both of which I buy from Costco in quantity and freeze for later use. Bow tie pasta which I always have in my pantry.

Italian Sausage Shrimp Pan Roast Over Pasta

1 tbsp butter
1 tbsp olive oil
1 medium onion sliced
3 garlic cloves minced
3 or 4 Italian sausages casings removed
1/2 lb medium to large size shrimp
2/3 cup white wine
1 14 1/2 oz can of diced tomatoes with juice
dash or two of Louisiana hot sauce
1 cup whipping cream
6 tbsp chopped Italian parsley

16 oz cooked pasta (penne or farfalle)
3/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese.

Melt the butter and olive oil in a large skillet. Saute the onion and garlic until tender about 5 minutes. Break up the sausage with your fingers into bite sized chunks and add to the pan and saute for 7 minutes until done. Break up any larger pieces with a spoon. Drain off excess fat.

Add the wine and cook at a low boil until most of the liquid evaporates. About 2 minutes. Add the tomatoes and juice and a couple dashes of hot sauce. More if you like a kickier flavore (But be aware: too much and you can't taste the delicate flavor of the shrimp and many Italian sausages contain spices already.) Simmer for 3 minutes. Add the whipping cream and simmer until thickened stirring frequently. About 5 minutes. Add the shrimp and cook until opaque (not completely done as the shrimp will be tough and will continue to cook in the hot sauce) Stir in the parsley. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Serve over the pasta and top with cheese. Garnish with more fresh parsley and sprinkle with paprika. Serves 6 ......or 4 really piggy people.

If you want to prepare the meal a day ahead; it keeps well covered in the refrigerator and can be reheated. Prepare it up to adding the shrimp. Don't add the shrimp until right before reheating the next day otherwise you will have rubbery tasteless shrimp.

This is a great meal with a fresh Cesar Salad, some fruit and crusty french bread. Serve with a crisp slightly sweet white wine. Gewertzerminer or a Riesling is my favorite.You don't even want to know how many calories. Lets just say enough to satisfy the daily requirements of a family of 4 in a third world nation.

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