Pasta Gambasetti a'la Mom-Friday

First Friday of the month:  Food / Mom-Cook

It's Good Friday today.  I did not even notice that the 40-day Lent has ended as I still clearly remember my salad post last Ash Wednesday. And it will be Easter in two days!

As much I would like to fast this Holy Week, I can't. Those who know me would agree it's not physically possible for me as I would collapse by mid-morning without eating anything, for sure! Abstinence, that I can do. So no meat for me today.  For people who can't afford to fast like me, how would you like to try my version of the Gambasetti?  Basically, it's the popular Spanish tapa (appetizer) of spicy garlic and shrimps in oil (gambas al ajillo) then mixed with spaghetti.

I love anything with shrimps and garlic. Gambas is one of my favorite starters to order when dining out. Now I wondered why I did not try to do this dish much earlier. Can't recall when, but the first time I made this, it was an instant hit with my hubby, though I used fusilli (spiral pasta) then. Another variation which I plan to try soon is to add some chorizo (Spanish sausage).

Let me remind you, I don't measure when I cook so these are just an approximation. Adjust the seasoning as you cook to suit your taste. If you don't like the seasonings, you can omit them altogether and just add some salt and chili in the oil.

Pasta Gambasetti a'la Mom-Friday

150g - 200g spaghetti (angel hair or fusilli will be good too)
200g white shrimps, peeled
2 tablespoons minced garlic (and maybe more!)
1/4 cup olive oil
1 tablespoon butter (optional)
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon liquid seasoning
1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1/4 teaspoon ground Spanish paprika
1 tablespoon grated parmesan cheese
1 tablespoon chopped parsley
ground Cayenne pepper or chili flakes
ground black pepper

To prepare:
Peel shrimps and mince garlic. Set aside.
In a large pot, put enough water and bring to a rolling boil.
Add 1 teaspoon salt in the water, then slide in the spaghetti.
Cook pasta as instructed on the pack (usually 8 to 10 minutes) or until al dente.
Drain and set aside.

To cook garlic oil / sauce:
(While pasta is cooking)
In a pan, heat olive oil. Add butter until it liquifies, but not browned.
Sautée garlic until fragrant and lightly toasted, then add in shrimps.
Flavor with the lemon juice, liquid seasoning and Worcestershire sauce (or plain salt)
Sprinkle paprika, pepper, parmesan cheese and chopped parsley.
Add a pinch of cayenne pepper -- this is very hot so I use it sparingly. Omit if you don't like it spicy.
Continue to sautée for another minute for the flavors to set in. Avoid overcooking as the shrimps will become tough.
In the same pan, toss in the spaghetti until well coated.

Depending on the resulting quantity of your garlic oil / sauce, add pasta gradually as you may not have enough sauce to coat all your cooked pasta.

Plate and serve immediately.
Sprinkle more cheese, salt, and chili flakes if desired.

Serves 2 (or 1 if you're really hungry!).

I place unused cooked pasta in an air-tight container and refrigerate. It keeps for up to 5 days.

This is one of my favorite pasta dishes so I hope you will like my simple version.

Whether you practice fasting or abstinence, may you have a meaningful Holy Week.

I leave you with this Thought for Holy Week from my former professor, which was published in The Philippine Star yesterday:
"This week being holy (despite the Filipino way of celebrating it by going to the beach or to Baguio), allow me to share a thought on Christianity.  I think that one of the greatest lessons of Christianity is that we cannot have Easter without Lent, ecstasy without agony, joy without suffering, hope without despair." - Isagani Cruz

Related posts:
Tanigue Garlic Steak
Cold Kani Salad


500g shrimps (better if medium size), peeled
2 tablespoons minced garlic
2 tablespoons olive oil
2-3 tablespoons butter (salted)
1 tablespoon liquid seasoning (Knorr Seasoning, or Bragg's Liquid Aminos)
black pepper
cayenne pepper (optional)

Heat oil and saute garlic to light brown, then add butter until melted.
Set heat on high and toss in shrimps. Saute.
Drizzle seasoning and crack ground pepper. Add dash of cayenne for spice.
Lower heat and continue to cook for another minute.
Serve immediately.  Add more butter, seasoning and cayenne to suit your taste.