Photo courtesy LSPMB.

In the kitchen: Chef Amy Sins’ Shrimp and Crab Bucatini

Sure, the piano changed the game of music composition, the internal combustion engine paved the way for the invention of automobiles, and the architecture of the Pantheon is pretty impressive…but of all the inventions bequeathed to the world by Italians, we still rate pasta as prime (especially when paired with garlicky Louisiana shrimp and perfectly crusted crab cakes).

However you prefer your pasta, when we stopped by chef Amy Sins’ segment of the Louisiana Seafood Cook-Off last month (read the full story here), we knew that we would have to share the recipe for her 30-minute dish. And don’t be fooled by the plethora of ingredients below—we guarantee that many of them will already be sitting in your pantry.

Amy Sins’ Shrimp and Crab Bucatini

Chef Amy Sins’ Shrimp and Crab Bucatini
Bucatini & Shrimp Pasta:
6 oz. unsalted butter
1/2 cup shallots or onion, finely chopped
6 cloves garlic, minced
3 Tbsp. fresh squeezed lemon juice
1/4 tsp. lemon zest, grated, or preserved lemon
1/4 cup arugula or parsley, minced
Kosher salt
1/4 tsp. red pepper flakes
4 cups pasta (bucatini, capellini or linguini)
1 1/2 lbs. cooked shrimp (size 9/12), peeled and deveined
½ cup dry white wine (optional)
1 cup pasta water (reserved water from cooked pasta)
Parmesan cheese for garnish
Olive oil, as needed
In a large pan, cook butter over medium heat until frothy; add shallots and cook until toasted. Add garlic. Add lemon juice, lemon zest and arugula. Taste and season with salt and red pepper flakes. Add cooked pasta and cooked shrimp, and toss. Add wine and/or reserved pasta water to pan to add moisture, if desired. Serve topped with Parmesan cheese.
Blackened Shrimp:
2 lbs. large fresh raw shrimp, peeled and deveined
1 tsp. cayenne pepper
1 tsp. ground black pepper
1 tsp. kosher salt
1 tsp. dry thyme leaves
1/2 tsp. onion powder
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1/2 tsp. smoked paprika
1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted
Rinse shrimp with cold running water and pat dry. Your seasonings will stick better and you will get a better blackening if your shrimp are dry and slightly tacky to the touch. In a small mixing bowl, combine all spices and whisk to combine; adjust seasoning to your taste. Coat shrimp in seasonings; get both sides and cover surface but do not apply too thick.
If skillet blackening, preheat a large cast iron skillet over medium heat. Add half of melted butter, and allow to brown slightly. Add half of shrimp and allow to cook on one side for 3 minutes before turning and browning other side. Transfer to a warm dish to keep while using remaining butter to complete the next batch.
If oven blackening, preheat oven to 375 degrees; arrange shrimp on a wire rack above a cookie sheet. Brush both sides of shrimp with melted butter. Bake for no longer than 7 minutes. Serve immediately.
Crab Cake:
1 lb. jumbo lump crab
2 egg whites
¼ cup mayo
1 Tbsp. mustard (Dijon or Creole)
Juice of 1 lemon
½ tsp. liquid crab boil
½ tsp. blackened seafood seasoning
½ tsp. garlic powder
½ tsp. black pepper
Salt to taste
1/8 cup chopped green onions
¼ cup panko breadcrumbs
Drain and pick crab. Whisk together egg whites, mayo, mustard, lemon juice, crab boil and all the dry seasonings. Fold in crab and green onion, then add panko. Set in refrigerator for 20 minutes. Shape crab cakes and gently coat in panko/andouille crust. Cook until heated through.