Shrimp Pasta Rosa

This subtle and simple pasta is a pleasure both to make and to eat.

1 tbs. tomato paste
1/4 cup milk
1/4 cup mascarpone
1 tbs. garlic-flavored olive oil
1/4 tsp. red pepper flakes
6 oz. raw, peeled shrimp
5 tbs. red vermouth
8 oz. taglierini

Boil a large pot of water, then add a good bit of salt.

Stir together the tomato paste, milk and mascarpone and set aside.

In a wok or large pan, warm the olive oil and add the red pepper flakes, giving a stir in the heat before adding the shrimp. Stir-fry for a minute or two by which time they should be almost cooked through.

Pour in the vermouth and let it bubble excitedly. When it has reduced a little, add the sauce and stir until everything is hot.

Meanwhile, cook the pasta per package instructions, drain and toss with the shrimp and sauce. Divide between two bowls and serve immediately.

Served 2

Mussels with Pasta and Tomatoes

These marvelous moules are a jot to make and a delight to eat. By the time it takes to cook pasta, supper is sorted. Place the pan in the middle of the table and serve this family style in large bowls.

Mussels with Pasta and Tomatoes

2 lbs. mussels
8 oz. short, stubby pasta such as macaroni or ditalini
2 tbs. olive oil
1 1/2 cups cherry tomatos, cut across the equator
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 tsp. sea salt
1/4 tsp. chili flakes
80ml red vermouth
4 tbs. chopped fresh parsely

Clean the beards from the mussels and rub off any debris from their shells. Soak in cold water for 20 minutes, then discard any that are still open.

Cook the pasta according to package directions until al dente. Drain.

While the pasta is cooking, heat the oil in a large, wide pan that has a lid. Tumble in the tomatoes and cook until softened over a medium heat, 2-3 minutes. Tip in the garlic, chili flakes and salt. Stir often until the tomatoes start to melt down and make a juice, 3-4 minutes. Pour in the vermouth and let it bubble up.

Add the mussels to the pan and cover. Cook, shaking the pan a few times, for 3-4 minutes, or until the mussels have opened. Discard any mussels that have stayed closed. Add the pasta, cover and leave for a minute or two off the heat. Uncover, stir in most of the parsley and serve with the remaining parsley sprinkled on top.

Serves 4