pasta with shrimp and bacon in a poblano cream sauce

Yep, I said it. Shrimp, Bacon and Poblano Cream sauce – the new triumvirate. Add in pasta and it’s just ridiculous. I actually used “spiralized” zucchini for this one because I felt guilty about feeding my child the aforementioned triumvirate. You can buy a “vegetizer” or “spiralizer” on Amazon for about $10. It turns zucchini into pasta in 15 seconds (super convenient if you’re eating low carb:). If this is too out-there for you, please make this recipe with regular spaghetti, fettucine or tagliatelle. Actually, the zucchini added a beautiful sweetness that contrasted perfectly with the earthiness of the bacon and the richness of the shrimp.

Serves 4 as a main dish.

4 medium zucchini (or ½ lb uncooked pasta)
1-3 medium poblano peppers
12 oz bacon
1 lb shrimp
1 medium sweet onion, diced
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 tbs flour
1 cup cream
¼ cup chicken stock
Salt & pepper to taste
1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
2. “Spiralize” the zucchini, then lay out on a paper towel to drain. Alternatively, prepare 1 lb of pasta according to directions and drain in colander.
3. Line baking sheet with parchment paper and top with bacon strips being careful not to overlap (my bacon was wide, so I needed 2 baking sheets).
4. Cook bacon in oven for 10-15 minutes until crisp but not blackened.
5. Remove bacon from oven, place on paper-towel lined plate to drain fat. Drain and reserve bacon grease from pans before cleaning.
6. Place poblanos on a baking sheet in the top rack with the broiler on high and broil until each side is blackened (about 3 minutes per side).
7. Carefully place blackened poblanos in a bowl and cover with plastic wrap to steam for at least 5 minutes.
8. Generously season shrimp with salt and pepper.
9. Put 2 tbs of bacon grease into a wide and deep sauté pan. Heat to medium high and add shrimp in a single layer once grease is hot. If pan is too small to fit the shrimp comfortably in a single layer, cook them in batches to get a nice sear instead of steaming them (no crowding!).
10. Resist the temptation to toss or stir the shrimp, you a quick sear on the one side before flipping (2-3 minutes per side).
11. Remove the shrimp to a plate, add 2 tbs of the bacon grease and heat on medium high. When grease is hot, add the onion and stir periodically for 3 minutes or until onions begin to soften. Add garlic and continue stirring for another 2 minutes.
12. As soon as the garlic begins to turn golden, turn heat to medium low and sprinkle flour over the onion and garlic mixture and stir until the flour turns golden brown.
13. Add cream and chicken stock and stir periodically as sauce develops and thickens.
14. Meanwhile, carefully peel the skins off peppers (they’ll be hot!). Remove stems, seeds and veins. Since poblano heat levels can vary widely, taste one to see how hot it is. Based on your heat tolerance, decide how many to add to the sauce (I roasted 3 but only ended up using one as I wanted my daughter to eat, too). Any remaining peppers can be frozen whole or diced. They defrost beautifully and make a wonderful addition to almost anything!
15. Chop the poblanos, add to a food processor or blender. Carefully pour sauce into blender with pepper and puree until smooth.
16. Squeeze zucchini in paper towels to remove any excess moisture. Place zucchini in pan, add sauce and heat over medium heat. Stir occasionally until “pasta” is heated. Top with shrimp and crumbled bacon.
NOTE: if sauce is too thick for your taste, add a little more cream or chicken stock, if too thin, keep heating, as it will continue to thicken.
17. ENJOY! Thank your mother for teaching you how to use a kitchen and me for teaching how to make this unbelievably delicious dish!