Friday, August 1, 2008

Shrimp Fra Diavolo

shrimp fra diavolo

Despite my need to plan every detail, I usually miss something. When it comes to making dinner — it’s common for me to forget to pick up an ingredient or two.

Sometimes this missing ingredient is a dealbreaker, other times I can work around it. Take a couple of recent meals, Fettuccine with Shrimp and Portobellos and Szechuan Braised Meatballs.

Last night, when I attempted to make the meatballs, I noticed it called for napa cabbage, which I had conveniently forgot to add to my list. It was just a little veg as an accent. I didn’t think it would ultimately ruin the dish to leave it out.

The meal was awful — almost toss it out and order pizza awful — I doubt the cabbage would have helped. The first clue should have been that the only binder (or moisture) in those super lean meatballs were water chestnuts. Ugh.

Last week, I forgot to buy an ingredient, but instead obstinately making the dish anyway, I scrapped it and started over.I started to make the fettuccine with shrimp and portobellos when I realized I didn’t have the white wine. The recipe had so few ingredients, that if I had swapped chicken broth for the wine, I was afraid it would be bland and tasteless.

But because I generally have a well-stocked pantry, I turned into Shrimp Fra Diavolo instead. I didn’t have the ingredients for their basic marinara, but I did have a pint of homemade marinara in the freezer. It was a lifesaver.

And this time, dinner worked out just fine. And it’s possible that the end result was better than the fettuccine dish I planned to make in the first place — even if I did have the wine.

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