This pasta dish for two with bacon-wrapped shrimp in a creamy tomato basil habanero sauce with bacon wrapped shrimp is sure to heat up your summer night!
When our tomatoes begin to ripen and our fresh basil takes off, my husband makes this super-spicy pasta dish that we both love. He has made it every summer for about as long as we’ve been married–almost 19 years.
The recipe calls for habanero peppers–some of the hottest peppers grown. They range between 100,000 and 350,000 Scoville heat units (SHU), so one goes a long way. Dried smoked habaneros are available at area grocery stores and Hispanic markets, though we smoke and dry our own homegrown habaneros.
If a habanero is too hot for you, use a smoked and dried jalapeno, otherwise known as a chipotle pepper. Those range in heat from 5,000 to 10,000 SHU. An even milder substitution at 1,000 to 2,000 SHU is an ancho pepper, which is a dried fresh poblano. An ancho pepper can be somewhat leathery, so a 20-minute soak in hot water will make it easier to chop.
When handling hot peppers of any variety, it’s wise to wear disposable gloves, refrain from touching sensitive areas such as your eyes and keep your work area ventilated.
Although all that heat from hot peppers can be hard to handle, they all contain capsaicin, which is purported to have numerous health benefits–from boosting metabolism to pain control in topical creams.
To add protein to the dish, you could add plain cooked shrimp. To ratchet up the smoky flavor, bacon-wrapped shrimp are a very tasty addition. Cooking shrimp wrapped in bacon works well using thin bacon and at least 16-20 count (per pound) shrimp. The sauce is also delicious with chicken.
Linguine and fettuccine work well with cream sauces. However, in a pinch we’ve used penne and farfalle.
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 small shallot, minced
2 medium tomatoes, seeded and chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 dried smoked habanero, finely chopped
1/4 cup dry white wine
2 cups heavy whipping cream
1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
6 large fresh basil leaves, thinly sliced
salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
8 large wild-caught shrimp (16-20 count), peeled and deveined, tail intact
4 slices thin bacon, halved crosswise
4 ounces linguine or fettucine, cooked, kept warm
Freshly grated Parmesan cheese
Heat the olive oil in a shallow saucepan over medium heat. Add the shallot and cook 2-3 minutes or until softened. Add the tomatoes, garlic and chile and cook 3-4 minutes or until the tomatoes begin to soften.
Add the wine, increase the heat and cook until the wine reduces by half, 8-10 minutes.
Stir in the cream, bring to a boil, reduce heat to low and simmer 20-25 minutes or until sauce has thickened. Add the Worcestershire sauce, salt and black pepper to taste. Stir in most of the fresh basil, reserving a few slices for garnish. Keep warm.
Wrap each shrimp with 1/2 slice bacon, being careful not to overlap the bacon too much. Heat a non-stick skillet over medium-high heat. Add shrimp and cook until the shrimp turns pink, curls about 2/3 of the way and the bacon browns.
Toss cooked pasta with sauce. Serve in shallow bowls or on plates. Place shrimp over pasta, garnish with remaining sliced basil. Top with freshly grated Parmesan cheese.