PepperPea and Shrimp Spaghetti, by L


With a sultry Spring settling on Louisiana (and being bored with my usual go-to recipes), it was time to spice things up a little with a lighter, healthier dish.

Off-the-cuff, simple, flavorful, I think it’s going to become a new staple. Called ‘PepperPea’ because I like alliteration. Best part are the health benefits, which means a new aspect to my recipe posts – “let’s think about what you’re eating”. I will endeavor to include these in meals designed around health, as in this one.

Cayenne was the inspiration, due to my need to feel refreshed and energetic. I’d encourage others to do the same.

You will need:

  • Large saucepan, in the sense of broad (like you used for the chicken tarragon)
  • TWS, ladle, BBOCK and cutting board, can opener.

Serves 4 a couple of times over, I’d say, if you’re doing your portions appropriately. Takes half an hour of prep at a stretch, ten minutes to cook including the pasta.

Ingredients (with [my notes]):

  • One pack of frozen small shrimp (tails off, peeled and deveined), thawed [or prawns, if you’re British]
  • Two medium bellpeppers, one yellow and one green
  • Approx two/three handfuls of snowpeas [or mange tout, if you prefer]
  • Five or six spring onions [or scallions, if you’re American]
  • Two cloves of garlic
  • Two cans diced tomatoes
  • One can tomato sauce [for you Brits, that’s tomato puree]
  • Dash of black pepper, generous dash of garlic salt, about one and a half teaspoons of cayenne [go ahead and adjust to taste]

Great accompaniments are of course the angelhair spaghetti for lightness, but I imagine it’d also go well over some brown rice (though rice cooking will add to the cooking time). A side salad would also probably work, to alternate with the spiciness. You can cook the spaghetti / prepare the salad while the sauce is cooking. Maybe a white wine?

Method:

  1. Wash and prep your vegetables: cut the snowpeas in half for a more bite-size shape; core and cut your bellpeppers into similarly-sized strips to the snowpeas. Chop spring onions.
  2. Thaw your shrimp by dumping them into a strainer and rinsing them with cold water, tossing as you go to ensure an even thaw. (You’ll probably want to put on your spaghetti now.)
  3. Empty the tomatoes and tomato sauce into your saucepan, put the heat on medium. Add shrimp.
  4. Add your seasonings (including crushed garlic) and mix well.
  5. Once this mixture has been heated for a minute or two, add your vegetables. The thinking here is to keep your veg relatively crunchy – the more you cook them, the more nutrients you lose. Adjust your seasoning if you need to. Let this simmer wildly for about ten minutes to Vegas-marry the flavors.

Cautions / adventures: I added the seasoning after the vegetables originally, but I think it’d be better to build that base first before adding the subtleties of the vegetable flavors. And like I said before, keep your vegetables crunchy, and serve with a minimum of spaghetti/rice (about a cup / cup and a half).

“Let’s think about what you’re eating.”

First, the cayenne/red pepper. As well as a strong popular spice (at 30-50K Scovilles), cayenne has certain health benefits / casual medicinal uses if used in moderation. Many cultures have used this to, ironically, treat digestive ailments (though if you have a stomach ulcer, probably best to stay away), as well as topically for bleeding and frostbite, and cold-related ailments and heart issues.

What do all of these have in common? Blood. The capsaicin in the spice stimulates the heart and thus bloodflow – not only does this ‘warm you up’, but it helps the body do what it needs to do to combat the ailment by getting what it needs to the problem zone. In the stomach, for example, it encourages the digestive process through the absorption and distribution of nutrients. Topically, the capsaicin acts to reduce pain in a similar fashion to a heat patch.

The bellpeppers have a lot of vitamin C (particularly red, which have twice as much as green and I will be using next time) along with some more capsaicin (albeit in smaller amounts). The snowpeas have a significant amount of vitamin A, vitamin K, B complex vitamins and vitamin C. Garlic is of course useful for its antibacterial/antiviral properties, particularly for help with colds, and though it’s under debate, for heart health, too, such as lowering blood pressure (though this may seem at odds with the heart-stimulating cayenne). The shrimp are low in saturated fat while being a good protein source, and high in calcium, but of course stay away if you’re allergic to shellfish.

Next, let’s think about how colorful this dish is, particularly with the addition of tomatoes.

Red vegetables or fruit contain lycopenes or anthocyanins – the former is good for reducing the risk of some cancers, the latter for antioxidant and cell damage-control. Here, the tomatoes are providing the lycopenes (and, FYI, cooked-tomato lycopene absorbs better than that from eating a raw tomato).

Green vegetables have lutein, which is provided here by your peas and green bellpepper. You’re looking out for the lutein because it can then react with zeaxanthin (found in corn, red bellpepper, egg yolks…) and help keep your eyes healthy (no pun intended).

Orange and yellow vegetables is where you’ll get your carotenoids (you’ve likely heard of beta-carotene being convertable to vitamin A, as in carrots). You need these for your mucous membranes and your eyes. Yay! There’s also the suggestion of them helping with your immune system, too.

Ultimately, though, this just tastes damn good. Go try it!

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3 Responses to “PepperPea and Shrimp Spaghetti, by L”

  1. YUM this looks delicious!! I think I will have to give this a try! Thanks for sharing the recipe!! 🙂

  2. […] in there. (If you’re using frozen shrimp, make sure they’re thawed first. See the PepperPea Shrimp recipe for advised thawing method.) Stir, and simmer for fifteen minutes or until your seafood is […]

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