Oh man. I am eating this right now, and I am so pleased with myself. (You thought I was kidding.) It is totally making my day. And, before you get scared, it's easy. And frozen shrimp aren't very expensive, especially if you opt for smaller shrimp. And they keep! (However, most frozen shrimp are pretty salty. So keep the salt in the pantry until you've had a good taste. Seriously.)
shrimp (I used small, frozen shrimp) or you can use chicken or sausage if you prefer
either a few plum tomatoes, or a can of diced tomatos (better in the winter than the lousy hothouse ones we have right now!)
a green pepper sliced
a red pepper if you feel like splurging, sliced
an onion sliced or diced (red makes it so pretty but I used yellow because I had it handy)
garlic, minced or pressed
black pepper, chili powder, paprika, red pepper flakes, sage, and cumin (or cajun blend)
a little wine if you have it (yum but not worth buying a bottle just for this)
1. Thaw the shrimp in cold water for about 10 minutes. Don't use hot water to speed things up; that actually cooks the shrimp. Meanwhile, you can chop things that need chopping, and start cooking your pasta.
2. Heat up a heavy pan/skillet. When it's pretty hot, add some butter and a little olive oil. Get that nce and hot. Drain your shrimp, and toss some chili powder/cayenne on them before throwing them into your hot pan. (Be careful! Wet shrimp and hot oil make for splatter. Protect yourself!) Try to get them into a single layer if you can, but don't burn yourself. Leave them there a minute or two, and then turn them until they're cooked through. Remove them from the pan with a spoon or tongs, and keep them nearby.
3. Add your onions. Stir 'em up. Add your garlic (2-4 cloves depending on your proportions). Add the peppers. When everything seems to be almost done, add the tomatos. If they were canned, drain them first. Give it no more than a minute to cook a bit. Scoop all that out too, and put it on the same plate as the shrimps.
4. With the heat on high, throw in about 1/4 cup of wine if you've got it. Or some. It should sizzle nicely and start deglazing your pan. Now chicken broth. Stir everything, and get all those brown bits off the bottom. Turn the heat down to medium, and add cream. I never measure, but I would guess a cup would be a good place to start, compared to about a cup of wine/broth. Whisk the broth and cream together. You're looking for a nice warm color, the creaminess blending with the darkness of the cooked deliciousness from the deglazing. Start tossing in spices. Start with chili or cayenne if you're blending your own, then paprika, which gives a nice warmth and sweetness to everything. Finish off with the fresh black pepper, and if after tasting you want to, a bit of salt.
5. Throw everything (shrimp, veggies) back in. Stir to combine, and heat through. Toss with pasta. Garnish with fresh chopped parsley if you're trying to impress someone.