Chori-Gamba Pasta

We all have our favoured pasta sauce camp. There is the cream sauce camp. The tomato-based camp. And the olive oil-based camp. Although I am mostly an equal opportunity pasta enjoyer, I pretty much stand with the olive oil-based sauce camp (greedily taking butter-based and pesto-based in with me as “sub-camps”). C meanwhile is steadfastly entrenched in the tomato-based camp...a pasta sauce monogamist.

Now, we all know that marriage is about give and take, about finding compromises and happy mediums. People talk of the “big commitment”, and the “big decisions”, and the “big changes”, and yes, that is all definitely important and should be given a good amount of thought. But don’t ignore the small things. Not even the itty, bitty, tiny things. Oh no. These are important as well. Teeny tiny bits swept under a rug grow into nasty creatures I tell you.

So in the spirit of compromise amongst the little things, I put together this pasta dish. Pairing chorizo and gambas in pasta in not that novel an idea over here, but it’s usually done as an oil-based sauce, not a tomato-based one. I added the tomato thinking to make a version more to C’s liking (although chorizo and gambas is already much to C’s liking...and mine!) and ended up loving it myself!

Pay attention to the little things. They can lead to the most delicious resolutions.

Our Chori-Gamba Pasta Sauce
  • Olive oil
  • 150 grams shrimp (weight peeled without heads and tails)
  • 130-150 grams chorizo for cooking (your favourite type), taken out of its casings
  • 1 medium white onion, chopped
  • 8 cloves garlic, finely chopped (this is supposed to be garlicky but feel free to reduce the number)
  • 1 tablespoon chopped parsley, leaves and stems
  • A glug of red wine (about 1/8 cup)
  • A scant 1/2 teaspoon pimentón de la vera
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried chilli flakes
  • 1 400-gram can crushed/chopped tomatoes
  • A small handful of basil leaves
  • Freshly ground black pepper and salt

- Sprinkle shrimp with some salt.
- Heat olive oil in a saucepan. When hot add garlic, onions, parsley, and chilli and sauté until onions are soft.
- Add shrimp, pimentón, and pepper. Toss lightly until shrimps are just colored then remove shrimps (leaving everything else) from pan and set aside. Do not over-cook the shrimps!
- Add chorizo to the pan and sauté (making sure to de-clump the meat) until cooked. De-glaze the pan with wine.
- Add the tomatoes and simmer until thick and pulpy. Taste and adjust seasoning.
- Remove from the heat and stir through shrimp and basil.
- Serves 2. We prepare 200-250 grams (uncooked weight) spaghetti or linguini noodles for this.

The tomatoes make this dish less oily-feeling than the tomato-less version and the greens give it a sharp, bright flavour that brilliantly cuts through that richness of the chorizo and the pungency of the garlic. I use all the parsley, leaves and stem. Parsley stems are so underutilized! I never throw them away. The chopped up stems can be used in sautés (add them with the onion and garlic – they give a nice bright “green” punch) and the whole stems in stocks. Freeze them if you’re not using them immediately. If I don’t have parsley, I have also used gotu kola stems in this recipe and they worked fine.

I still make oil and pesto based pastas (of course!), but usually for lunch, when C is at the office. I’ll sometimes spring one on him, and he’ll give the requisite MMM although I can tell that it’s different from his tomato-sauce MMM (or his adobo MMM). But that’s fine. Give and take can taste good with a little creativity :)

This pasta’s for you C! There is more where this came from so watch out...I’m planning to get a lot more MMM’s out of you yet! :) There is no one else I’d rather be give-and-taking with! Happy birthday!!!