BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) -
Prep Time: 45 minutes
Yields: 6 servings
If you’ve never paired fresh tomatoes with honey and vinegar, this sauce might seem a bit unusual at first, but it is actually quite delicious. This simple dish becomes extraordinary when enhanced with Gulf shrimp and spicy Italian sausage.
2 links Italian sausage
1 pound (21–25 count) shrimp, peeled and deveined
1 (12-ounce) package linguine
¼ cup honey
8 large Creole tomatoes, diced
salt to taste
½ cup extra-virgin olive oil, divided
6 cloves garlic, peeled and sliced
½ cup lightly packed, julienned basil leaves
1 tbsp sliced cayenne pepper
OR 1 red jalapeño pepper, thinly sliced
¼ cup balsamic vinegar
black pepper to taste
¼ cup sliced green onions
1 large basil sprig
Fill a large pot ⅔ full of lightly salted water then bring to a boil over medium-high heat.
Remove the Italian sausage from the casing and pinch into small, marble-sized meatballs. Roll and set aside. In a large sauté pan, heat ¼ cup olive oil over medium-high heat. Add meatballs and sauté for 2–3 minutes or until browned on all sides. Add garlic and sauté until lightly browned around the edges, approximately 1 minute. Add fresh tomatoes and blend well into mixture. Stir occasionally until juices begin to develop.
Place linguine into boiling water and cook according to package directions, approximately 12 minutes. While pasta is boiling, add julienned basil and cayenne pepper to the tomato sauce. A small amount of water (¼ cup) may be added to the sauté pan if the tomato sauce is a bit dry. I recommend using the boiling pasta water for this purpose. Add balsamic vinegar and honey to the sauté pan. Stir well into the mixture then season to taste using salt and pepper.
Add shrimp and green onions to the tomato sauce and cook until shrimp are pink and curled, approximately 2 minutes. When pasta is tender, drain and return to the pot. Coat with remaining olive oil. Place 1–2 cooking spoons of tomato sauce into the cooked pasta and blend well. Place lightly coated pasta onto the center of a large serving platter and top with remaining sauce mixture. Arrange shrimp and sausage as a garnish around the edges of the platter. Top pasta with basil sprig.