June is a month of birthdays in our family so I cooked this Pasta with Shrimps. I like to plan our birthday meals around noodles, a symbol of long life and prosperity. There are many similarities between how Filipinos and Americans celebrate birthdays. There are also stark contrasts.Birthdays for Filipinos are a mix of east meets west. The differences are interesting.
Years ago, when we just moved to America, I had my first experience at having a birthday in an American corporate setting. To my surprise, my co-workers bought a birthday cake for me, gave me cards and presents and called me to the company’s conference room so they could sing “Happy Birthday”. At other times, my co-workers and even my neighbors treated me out to lunch or dinner, as a birthday gesture.
In contrast, in the Philippines, the celebrant is expected to host one’s own birthday party or pick up the tab at the restaurant for the birthday dinner. So be warned, folks. If you are not Filipino and are headed to the Philippines at the time of your birthday….be ready to foot the bill of a huge banquet in your honor, that is if you let everyone know it’s your birthday. You will have no escape because there will be massive teasing that it’s your birthday and you need to buy everyone dinner. If you are not Filipino, this takes getting used to while living in the Philippines. On the same token, if you ask me, ever since I have lived in the States, today I am more partial to the American way of celebrating birthdays and relish it when my friends treat me out to a nice birthday meal.
Cultural differences are my explanation for these opposites in birthday celebrations between the Philippines and in America. But there are similarities though – like a birthday cake for the celebrant, gifts from family and friends, and everyone sings to you in English (no matter what country you are in) the “Happy Birthday” song.
One thing is universal though, the desire for long life, prosperity and good fortune. No one turns down the prospect of a better year and many more birthdays to come. This is why on every birthday in our family, no matter where we are in the world I make sure we all eat together a huge, bountiful bowl of noodles or pasta like this scrumptious Shrimps and Vegetables on Pasta which I made for a family birthday. Twirl the fork, and dig in, folks!
Pasta with Shrimps and Vegetables
- 6 oz. pasta Fettuccine cooked according to directions
- 2 Tablespoons butter unsalted
- 1 Tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- 1 medium onion sliced
- 1 large tomato chopped (or use 1 cup cherry tomatoes)
- 1/2 piece red bell pepper sliced in strips, white membrane and seeds removed
- 8 oz. fresh jumbo shrimps washed, shelled, deveined,
- 1 Tablespoon calamansi or lemon juice from Asian markets, use fresh or frozen concentrate (or use lemons), to marinate shrimps calamansi juice (the Filipino lime)
- 1 teaspoon fresh garlic minced, to marinate shrimps
- 1/3 cup white wine
- 1/4 cup pasta water or add more if pasta gets dry
- 2 cups fresh baby spinach
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon ground black pepper powder
- 1/2 Tablespoon fresh parsley chopped, for garnish
- 1 piece fresh lemon slice in wedges, for sprinkling and garnish on pasta
- 1/3 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese to sprinkle on top
- for serving garlic bread
- Marinate shrimps with calamansi (or lemon) juice and a teaspoon of minced garlic for 20 minutes before cooking.
- Boil water and cook pasta according to package directions. Reserve about 1/2 cup pasta water when draining cooked pasta.
- Separately, in a large skillet, over medium heat, add butter and extra virgin olive oil.
- When oil is hot enough in about 1 minute, sauté garlic, onions, tomatoes, bell pepper slices. Cook for 2 minutes till these soften.
- Add fresh shrimps to the skillet. Pour white wine. Add 1/4 cup pasta water. (Add more water later if pasta gets dry). Sprinkle lemon juice. Cook for about 8 to 10 minutes till shrimps turn to pink and alcohol aroma is gone from liquid.
- Add the cooked pasta to the skillet. Incorporate all the ingredients together well till liquid is absorbed by pasta. Garnish with parsley and lemon wedges. Sprinkle with freshly-grated Parmesan cheese if desired. Serve with garlic bread.
- Cook's comments: I used Fettuccine pasta in this recipe. Feel free to use the pasta of your preference.
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Notes on Nutrition: The nutrition information provided is an estimate and will vary based on cooking methods and specific brands of ingredients used.
Did you like this recipe? I have more classic recipes inspired by my late mother’s cooking in my popular cookbook: My Mother’s Philippine Recipes. If you’re learning how to cook Filipino food or a fan of Philippine cuisine, buy my cookbooks and books on Amazon.com sold worldwide in paperback and Kindle format.
Hello, Friends! Please DO NOT LIFT OR PLAGIARIZE my original recipe, stories, photos or videos. All the images and content on this blog are COPYRIGHT PROTECTED and owned by my media company Besa-Quirino LLC. This means BY LAW you are NOT allowed to copy, scrape, lift, frame, plagiarize or use my photos, essays, stories and recipe content on your websites, books, films, television shows, videos, without my permission. If you wish to republish this recipe or content on media outlets mentioned above, please ASK MY PERMISSION, or re-write it in your own words and link back to my blog AsianInAmericaMag.com to give proper attribution. It is the legal thing to do. Thank you. Email me at [email protected]