This week’s newsletter is coming to you live from my favorite spot in all of St. Louis — my family’s front porch. It’s hot. It’s humid. It’s St. Louis, baby.
I was feeling overwhelmingly homesick, and after getting a call from not one, not two, but three family members (yes, I am loved) asking when I was going to come home next, I figured they missed me too. I hopped on a last minute flight to the Lou, and while I’ve only been here for a few days, I already feel more like myself. I’ve gone to a surprise birthday party, brunched out hard with some Tunisan chakchouka at Egg, showed off my cannonball skills to Bryce and Reed, devoured martinis and steaks with my grandparents, and stayed up way too late, drinking and gossiping with my mom and Aunt Julie.
And because I’m home, I’m really not cooking all that much. I mean, Aunt Julie and my mom are much better cooks than I am, and sometimes, it’s best to know when to just get out of the kitchen.
So this week’s recipe is one I actually made last week back in Denver — a Summer Shrimp Scampi. Or as Max likes to call it, scrimp scrampi or scramps. And once you start saying it this way, it’s very hard to stop.
Inspired by this NYT Cooking recipe, I may just like this version more than any ole classic scrimp scrampi. It’s got all the things that make summer great— sweet corn, cherry tomatoes and lots of herbs— along with all the things that make scramps great— butter and garlic. Make this recipe before tomato and corn season is over because unfortunately that is soon, and yes, I’m already depressed about it.
For the Summer Shrimp Scampi, here’s what you’ll need—
1 ½ pounds shrimp, peeled and deveined
Salt and pepper
Extra virgin olive oil
1 ½ pint cherry tomatoes — we used some rainbow ones from the farmers market
3 cobs sweet corn, shucked and kernels cut off — see here for the easiest way to do this
5 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
Big pinch of red pepper flakes
¼ cup dry white wine
Juice of half a lemon, other half cut into wedges for serving
5 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into pieces
Chopped parsley and chives
1 pound long, flat pasta like linguine, spaghetti or bucatini — not angel hair. ew.
Let’s start by getting your water boiling for the pasta. In a large dutch oven, bring about 4 quarts of heavily salted water to a boil.
While your water is starting to boil, peel and devein the shrimp. See here how. Pat the shrimp dry with a paper towel, and season with salt and pepper.
In a large skillet, heat a few generous glugs of olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the shrimp and cook until pink and lightly golden in spots, about 2 minutes per side. Use tongs to transfer the shrimp to a plate. Set aside.
Around this time, your water should be boiling. Drop a pound of long pasta into the boiling water, following the cooking instructions. Ours cooked for about 11 minutes. When al dente, reserve 1 cup of pasta water and then strain. Return pasta to the dutch oven. Set aside.
Going back to the now-empty skillet, add the tomatoes and season with salt and pepper. Cook until the tomatoes begin to soften and blister, about 5 minutes. Add the corn kernels, and season again with salt and pep. Cook for another 5 minutes.
Add the garlic slices and red pepper flakes, and cook for another minute.
Reduce the heat to medium and add the white wine and lemon juice to deglaze the plan. Scrape the brown bits from the bottom of the pan. When the liquid is evaporated, add the butter, piece by piece, until everything is melted and combined. Once the tomato-corn mixture is saucy and creamy, add the shrimp back to the pan and cook for another few minutes.
Transfer the tomato-corn-shrimp mixture to the pasta pot. Use tongs to combine. If the sauce begins to break, add a bit of reserved pasta water. Add chopped parsley and chives. Toss to combine.
For what’s been giving me life this week, it’s obviously being home with my sweet family. It had been about 3 months since I’d seen everyone, and I’ll never let 3 months go by without coming home ever again.
It’s been eating the homegrown tomatoes from my Aunt Julie’s garden for breakfast, lunch and dinner. I’ve had so many cherry tomatoes, I’m about to be a cherry tomato. It’s the abundance of mint in that garden that’s resulted in a mint bouquet — something that is arguably so much cooler than a bouquet of flowers. It’s been snuggling with my not-so-little kitty cat, and getting even more cuddles from my mama. It was getting teary-eyed when I spotted one of my dad’s pieces at the Clayton Wellness Center. Nothing brings me more joy than seeing his artwork in the homes and businesses of my favorite people. And yes, Dr. Stefanie is one of my favorite people. If you’re in the St. Louis area, go see here NOW.
Back in Denver, it was having two doggies in the house. It was getting a save-the-date for my friends Audra and Connor. Yay! It was becoming regulars at High Lonesome, grabbing dinner with Rose, Paul and Anna at Osteria Marco and eating a lot of breakfast sammies. It’s my sketches slowly getting better. It was singing every single song performed by ayokay, Jeremy Zucker, Chelsea Cutler and Quinn XCII at Red Rocks — I may or may not have cried during Comethru, Sad Tonight, Not Ok, Coffee and Straightjacket. Okay, I cried the whole time. And lastly, it was getting asked to stand by my girl Katherine’s side as she says I do next April. I can’t wait for all the wedding festivities to begin. Applications to be my plus one are now being accepted!
Wish I was with you,