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Originally published Thursday, March 27, 2014 at 6:03 AM

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Recipe: Shrimp alla Marinara


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5 or 6 servings

Marinara Sauce:

1 28-ounce can whole San Marzano tomatoes, certified DOP if possible

¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil

7 garlic cloves, peeled and slivered

Small dried whole chili, or pinch crushed red pepper flakes

1 teaspoon kosher salt

1 large fresh basil sprig, or ¼ teaspoon dried oregano, more to taste

1. Pour tomatoes into a large bowl and crush with your hands. Pour 1 cup water into can and slosh it around to get tomato juices. Reserve.

2. In a large skillet (do not use a deep pot) over medium heat, heat the oil. When it is hot, add garlic.

3. As soon as garlic is sizzling (do not let it brown), add the tomatoes, then the reserved tomato water. Add whole chili or red pepper flakes, oregano (if using) and salt. Stir.

4. Place basil sprig, including stem, on the surface (like a flower). Let it wilt, then submerge in sauce. Simmer sauce until thickened and oil on surface is a deep orange, about 15 minutes. (If using oregano, taste sauce after 10 minutes of simmering, adding more salt and oregano as needed.) Discard basil and chili (if using).

Shrimp:

8 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

8 whole garlic cloves, peeled and lightly crushed 2½ pounds large shrimp (about 30), peeled and deveined

Salt

Marinara sauce

8 fresh basil leaves, torn into small pieces (optional)

2 tablespoons minced fresh Italian parsley

1. Heat 4 tablespoons oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add 4 garlic cloves and cook just until golden and sizzling. Add half the shrimp, placing them in one layer in the pan. (If you crowd the shrimp, they will steam instead of fry.) Sprinkle with salt.

2. Cook, turning once, just until lightly golden and pink around the edges, about four minutes total. With a slotted spoon, transfer the shrimp to a plate. Discard garlic cloves. Repeat with remaining oil, garlic and shrimp.

3. When all the shrimp are cooked, pour the sauce into the empty skillet, and bring to a lively simmer, stirring to scrape the bottom of the pan. Taste for salt and add more if needed.

4. Stir in the shrimp, basil (if using) and parsley, and cook just until the shrimp are heated through. Serve immediately.

— Adapted by The New York Times from “Lidia’s Commonsense Italian Cooking,” by Lidia Bastianich (Knopf, 2013)



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