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From Karen Danielson:   "This recipe is representative of most of my garden vegetable recipes in my up and coming cookbook.  You'll note that I did open up a can of diced tomatoes; I was in a hurry the day I created this recipe and didn't want to take the time to peel and dice tomatoes from my garden.   When I do use fresh ones,  I like to use the Roma plum tomatoes.  They are meaty and contain less water and seeds.   I usually peel them although I know some sources say you don't need to do that.  It's true that leaving the skins on will give you more fiber and nutrition.  Let's just say it's a personal preference thing."

Penne with Shrimp & Summer Vegetables

1 lb. medium shrimp, peeled, deveined & butterflied  (Note #1)
1 large green pepper, seeded and cut into cubes
1 medium zucchini, unpeeled, cut into cubes
2 medium yellow squash, unpeeled, cut into cubes
1 medium onion, chopped
1/2 lb.  fresh mushrooms, quartered (baby Bellas are nice)
2 to 3 cloves garlic, crushed then minced fine
1 teaspoon dried basil
  (Note #2)
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/4 to1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes

1 28-oz. can diced tomatoes and juice
2 tablespoons cornstarch
2 tablespoons water 
1/3 cup grated parmesan cheese  (Note #3)
salt and black pepper, to taste
1 lb. penne pasta, cooked and drained

Prepare shrimp as directed and set aside. 

Prepare vegetables as directed and toss with the dried basil
, oil and red pepper flakes.   Stir-fry vegetables in a large non-stick skillet or wok in the olive oil.    When peppers start to lose their brilliant green color, and onions begin to become translucent, add tomatoes and their juice.  Cover and simmer about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. 

Add shrimp to wok, mix in well, cover and cook an additional 3 minutes or just until shrimp turn pink and become opaque.  If you overcook the shrimp they will become tough and chewy. 

Mix cornstarch and 2 tablespoons water to make a slurry.  Add slurry and cook until thickened and bubbly.  (Note #4)  If the mixture becomes too thick, add a little water until it becomes the consistency of thick spaghetti sauce. Stir in parmesan.   Add salt and black pepper to taste.  Serve over cooked pasta.

Note #1:   Cut shrimp lengthwise, on backside, from front to tail with scissors, leaving bottom intact.  Remove vein and then flatten. 

Note #2:  Or substitute 2 tablespoons fresh basil, cut in chiffonade, and add during the last 5 minutes of cooking.   (The literal translation of chiffonade means "made of rags".   When you see "chiffonade" in the preparation directions it means to cut the leafy vegetable or herbs into thin strips.  These thin strips are then usually used as a garnish, or sautéed such as in a stir-fry.)

Note #3:  A word of caution here: once cornstarch has been added to a sauce, you can no longer put your spoon back into the sauce once you've used it for tasting.  You will need to wash that spoon or get a clean one.  This isn't just for sanitary reasons, although I guess that's a good enough reason in itself.  In this particular instance, the real reason is because there is an enzyme in your saliva, called ptyalin, that will make the sauce "break down" and become watery. Can you remember whenever you would feed your baby's baby-food pudding, straight from the jar?  The next time you would open that jar (providing there were leftovers), the pudding had become watery. That's the digestion process starting, thanks to ptyalin.  Food actually begins to digest in your mouth during the chewing process.  The food mixes with the ptyalin during that time, breaking down the
starch, and digestion has begun!!

Note #4:   Cheese is optional.  Parmesan cheese isn't used in traditional Italian pasta dishes containing seafood, but I happen to like the taste, so I've broken tradition.   Fresh parmesan is best.  

The Sneaky Kitchen
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