Spencer asked to have his girlfriend Natalya over for dinner for her birthday. And asked if I’d help him cook her dinner. Like father, like son! She likes shrimp so we decided on the house favorite, tomato cream sauce with pancetta and shrimp. Bread and salad would round out dinner. For dessert, we’d pick up a red velvet cake for two from the store.
I made an Italian herb sourdough ahead of time…
Oil in the bottom of the dutch oven
After the rise, sprinkled with Himalayan rock salt and rosemary, scored with an “N”
After the first 30 minutes at 450°F with the lid on
After another 10 minutes at 325°F with the lid off
I prepped for the pasta to make it a little easier on my chef-in-training under pressure with an audience. He made the salad on his own, also ahead of time.
With Natalya seated at the bar in front of the stove, Spencer assumed the helm. He started with house made pancetta dice in the skillet to render off some of the fat and to brown the pancetta.
Next up, he sautéed the garlic cloves in the rendered pancetta fat. From there, he added the tomatoes, beef broth and herbs & spices.
He let the sauce reduce and boiled water for the pasta and the shrimp. While we waited on the water, we whipped the heavy cream to give the sauce that airy silky texture. We went for the 16-20 count raw deveined tail on shrimp for the special occasion. Here he is dropping the shrimp in the water.
After the shrimp just cooked through, we drained them and ran cold water over them to chill them and drained again. He put a ladle of the tomato sauce over the shrimp to hold them over until time to serve.
About 3 minutes before the pasta was done, he stirred in the butter, then the whipped heavy cream, and finally the grated parmesan. Pasta was drained and combined with finished sauce. For the plating, a piece of butter bread, pasta topped with pancetta, shrimp and fresh grated parmesan and dash of crushed red pepper.
Dinner plated and ready to enjoy!
Natalya ready to eat and probably ready to be done with my picture takingSpencer serving saladThe cute couple ready to dive in to the red velvet cake for two
Proud moment for dad watching his son grow into a fondness for cooking, chivalry and romance. I’m clearly not the perfect father or role model, but at least some of the good parts are rubbing off on the kid! Perhaps there is hope for him yet!