Healthy Homemade: Shrimp Marinara

I don’t typically like labels. Terms like hipster, prep, and feminist tend to stereotype and more often have negative connotations than say anything worthwhile about a fellow student.

Likewise, Vegetarians get a bad rap. When I told my sister that I was becoming a vegetarian she warned me against becoming a PETA worshipping pacifist who subsists on salads alone. Despite her concerns, I reassured her that nothing would be changing about me other than my diet. Rest assured, I said, she would not have to worry about me forgoing everything besides leafy greens or protesting fur fashion shows with a can of red paint.

Since making the switch to vegetarianism this past January, it has been relatively smooth sailing. Although I have given up eating meat. I decided that fish could remain a part of my diet. Technically this would make me a pescatarian, but like I said, I don’t like labels.

This recipe for shrimp marinara is simple and very satisfying for vegetarians and non-vegetarians alike. If you are more of the no-animal-products-allowed type eater, simply leave out the shrimp and smother your pasta in all of the sauce’s red, tomato glory. While it may not be acceptable to literally lick the plate clean, achieve the same end by mopping up all of the marinara’s goodness with a piece of bread. No matter if they’re meat eaters or not, all diners can agree that nothing, especially good food, should go to waste.

Bethany Imondi, a junior studying Government and English at Georgetown University, aspires to follow in the footsteps of Vogue food writer Jeffrey Steingarten by going to law school and then writing about food for a fashion magazine. Read more…


Shrimp Marinara
Serves 4


3 tablespoons olive oil
1 small onion, chopped
5-6 leaves of fresh basil, chopped
4 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
28 ounce can crushed tomatoes
1/4 cup red wine
1 dried bay leaf
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1 pound of spaghetti or linguine
Half a lemon, zested
1 pound of shrimp, cleaned and de-veined
Parsley, chopped, for garnish (optional)
Grated Parmesan cheese (optional)

In a large heavy-bottomed saucepan, heat the olive oil over medium flame. Add chopped onion, basil and minced garlic and sauté until tender, about 5 minutes. Add red pepper flakes and can of tomatoes. Fill tomato can about halfway with water and add to the saucepan. Stir to combine.

Slowly pour in the red wine and add bay leaf. Season with salt and pepper. Cook until sauce comes to a slight boil, then simmer on low heat for 30 minutes.

While the sauce simmers, place a large pot of water on the stove to heat. When the water comes to a boil, salt liberally, then add the pasta. Cook according to package directions.

When the pasta has about 3 minutes of cooking time left, add lemon zest and shrimp to the sauce. Cook until shrimp are bright pink and cooked through. Remove from heat.

Before draining the pasta, add one ladle of starchy cooking water to the saucepan. Drain pasta, then add to the sauce. Toss to combine everything and sprinkle with chopped parsley and cheese, if desired.

Originally posted on Monday, March 12th, 2012

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