Recipe by David (and Pam)
NOTE: When Maggy and I told Pam about our “dry” Shrimp Scampi, Pam said, “Of course. That’s what angel hair does—it just soaks up gobs of your sauce.” Maggy and I wanted to kill her. We hate it when she is always right.
So while Maggy and Andy and I botched the “little” recipe the other night, Pam and I went into the kitchen and made it twice more until we got it right. Pam is a big believer with me in getting the “big” recipe right, but for the author of five cookbooks with the word “Perfect” splashed on the cover, she takes a lot of pride in ensuring that the “little” recipes that come from her kitchen are just that.
1 quart canned or bottled clam juice
1 1/2 pounds 31 to 35 count (preferably wild) raw shrimp, peeled, shells reserved
1 pound angel hair pasta
1/4 cup olive oil
4 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 teaspoon hot red pepper flakes
1/2 teaspoon dried basil leaves
1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 cup dry vermouth
1 tablespoon cornstarch dissolved in 1 tablespoon cold water
1/4 cup chopped parsley leaves
1/4 cup finely grated Parmesan cheese, plus extra coarsely grated for topping
Ground black pepper
Bring clam juice and shrimp shells to boil in a large skillet over high heat; continue to boil until reduced by half (2 cups), about 10 minutes; strain and reserve. Return empty skillet to stove.
Meanwhile, bring 2 quarts of water and 1 tablespoon of salt to boil in a large pot. Add pasta and using back-of-the-box times as a guide, cook, partially covered and stirring frequently at first to prevent sticking, until just tender. Add shrimp; continue to cook until pasta is tender and shrimp is opaque, a couple of minutes longer. Drain and return shrimp and pasta to pot over low heat.
Add oil, garlic, and pepper flakes to empty skillet; turn burner on medium-high and cook until garlic starts to sizzle and turn golden. Add basil, oregano, and then vermouth; cook until reduced by half. Add clam juice; bring to a simmer and cook to blend flavors, a couple of minutes longer. Stir in cornstarch mixture to form a thin sauce. Stir in parsley. Add sauce and cheese to pasta and shrimp; toss over low heat. Adjust seasonings, including salt and pepper to taste.
Place a portion of pasta in each of 6 pasta plates sprinkle with cheese and serve.