This is such a fantastic, easy recipe that has great flavor and goes tremendously with a glass of your favorite red wine. Call on it for impromptu dinner parties to wow your guests or for a romantic candlelit meal accompanied by a bottle of vino. (Or for dinner on the couch while watching The Tourist and dreaming of a return to Venice, as I did tonight!)
1 box pasta (I use whole grain spaghetti, but anything works)
2 jars of your favorite spaghetti sauce (Prego never disappoints when I'm not in the mood to make mine from scratch!)
1 lb. large shrimp, thawed & peeled with tail on
Ground sea salt & pepper
Dried Italian seasonings or just some basil, dried or freshly chopped
1-2 tbsp. freshly minced garlic, optional
Step 1) Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil, then add pasta. Cook until al denta, approximately 7-8 minutes.
Step 2) While the pasta cooks, heat about 1/4 cup of olive oil in a large skillet over medium high heat. Add garlic and stir one to two minutes, until it becomes fragrant.
Step 3) Boost heat just a tad and place one layer of shrimp into the saute pan. Do not overlap or stack the shrimp, simply fill the bottom of the pan with shrimp laid on its side until it's full. Cook for about two minutes then flip each shrimp and cook another two minutes. Remove to a plate layered in paper towels to absorb excess liquid then dust with sea salt and cracked pepper. Continue cooking shrimp, one panful at a time, until it's all done—each time removing the cooked prawns to the paper towel-lined plate and sprinkling with salt and pepper. (I've found this is truly the secret to cooking shrimp without them being soggy, chewy or otherwise overcooked. Do not leave the pan unattended, it's better to take them out a little early, rather than waiting too long!)
Step 4) Once your pasta is done cooking, drain it over the sink and return immediately to the stovetop. Add your jars of sauce and stir well. Heat over medium to medium high heat.
Step 5) Add a large scoop or two of pasta to a bowl, top with a handful of shrimp and drizzle a bit of balsamic vinegar over the top. Sprinkle on your Italian seasonings or basil, if desired. Cheers!