Garlic Shrimp Spaghetti à la Béchamel
Remember the almond milk béchamel sauce experiment? Here’s the shrimp dish that I made that day! (=^･ω･^)y＝
I once made garlic shrimp spaghetti. Pretty much every recipe for it that I looked at included parmesan cheese, so I added it. The dish didn’t really taste exceptionally good, but I blamed my use of balsamic vinegar, diced tomato, and white wine. I thought maybe next time to exclude the vinegar deciding that it was overkill, but then I spoke with an Italian online who told me an unwritten (possibly written somewhere) rule in Italian cuisine: NEVER COMBINE SEAFOOD WITH CHEESE. And after a bit of thinking I agreed; it really isn’t a good combo. I remember one time when I was very young I ate fish with cheese and nearly vomited. While it’s not as bad with shrimp, it’s still not a good idea to combine cheese with any seafood. So I started brainstorming a new garlic shrimp spaghetti dish…
Eventually I got the idea of using béchamel sauce and scrapping the original recipe and only keeping the shrimp and spaghetti, and this is the product of that.
And yes, I’m using almond milk to make the béchamel sauce. While you can use regular milk, that isn’t what I did, and that’s not what I tasted. So what ends up on your plate may or may not be as tasty as what was on mine! ＼(^ω^＼)
Ingredients per serving
50g-100g spaghetti pasta (dry weight)*
100g uncooked shrimp
1 tbsp baking soda
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tbsp peanut oil
1/2 tbsp butter
salt/pepper to taste
For the béchamel sauce (1 serving):
3/4 cup milk**
1/2 tsp nutmeg
salt to taste
1. Get a large pot filled with salted water to a boil. Toss in a spoon of baking soda and add in your dry pasta and cook until al dente.
2. Start making the béchamel sauce. Melt your butter in a small saucepan on medium-low (melt, not burn) and add in your flour. Mix together the flour and the butter with a wooden spoon just to cook out the raw floury taste and to create a roux.
3. Switch to a whisk and slowly whisk in your milk (which should technically be hot, but my milk was cold and it worked just fine), continuing to whisk until all your milk is used up. Whisk in your nutmeg and salt, wait until it starts bubbling just slightly on the top, then remove from heat and set aside. It will not thicken past this point. If you’re a little confused, try Chef John’s video tutorial. (Keep in mind he’s doing his butter to flour ratio by volume, so his roux is very liquidy. If you do it by weight which is what I do, the roux will resemble a thick puddle with a muddy consistency.)
4. Pan-fry your shrimp in a heated pan on medium-high with peanut oil and butter (butter for flavour, and peanut oil to fortify the butter and prevent it from burning). Season with garlic powder (or add some minced garlic), and salt/pepper to taste. Set aside and let it cool so you can take off the tails before serving.
5. Drain your cooked pasta but do not rinse. Add them into your béchamel saucepan making sure they get nice and coated before fishing them out.
6. Portion creamy pasta onto plates, top with your cooked shrimp, garnish with Italian parsley and freshly ground black pepper.