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Author Notes: One of the best Italian restaurants that I have ever been to is here in Charlottesville, Virginia. Tavola is a tiny, rustic Italian spot with delicious food and a comforting, warm environment. Every dish that I have tried here has been incredible especially their house made pastas. The last time I ate there, I tried the Shrimp Capellini which was tossed with a creamy gorgonzola butter sauce studded with diced tomatoes and capers. It was phenomenal and I didn't even think I liked gorgonzola cheese! The taste is so subtle but lends a nice bite to the comforting dish.
Tavola's version uses meyer lemons and an Italian white wine called Trebbiano. Any dry white wine will work if you can't find Trebbiano. If you are ever in the Charlottesville, Virginia area, you MUST try this restaurant. But if you can't get there, this version is pretty close to the real deal. —Plum Pie
tablespoons olive or grapeseed oil
pound large shrimp, peeled and deveined
garlic cloves, 2 minced and 4 thinly sliced
large leeks, thinly sliced
box of capellini or angel hair pasta
tablespoons butter, softened
ounces gorgonzola dulce (or blue cheese of choice)
meyer lemons (or regular lemons)
cups Trebbiano or other Italian white wine
cup clam juice
roma tomatoes, remove seeds and dice into 1-inch cubes (should be about two cups)
cup parsley, minced
cup capers, drained
- Heat one tablespoon butter and one tablespoon oil in a large saucepan.
- Season shrimp with salt and pepper. Add to the hot pan being careful not the crowd the pan (you can do this in two batches if you need to). Cook shrimp for 2-3 minutes on one side until it easily releases from the pan and is pink. Cook for another 2 minutes and remove from pan (don't worry if they aren't completely cooked. They will finish cooking with the pasta at the end of the dish.
- In the same pan that was used to cook the shrimp, heat another tablespoon of olive oil and butter.
- Add leeks and cook over medium-low heat until softened and caramelizing, about 10-15 minutes.
- Meanwhile, mince two large garlic cloves and thinly slice the other 4 cloves.
- Combine the remaining 4 tablespoons of softened butter with the gorgonzola cheese and two cloves of minced garlic. Zest one lemon and add to the gorgonzola butter. Mix thoroughly and set aside.
- Add sliced garlic (from 4 cloves) to the leeks and cook for about 2 minutes until softened. Add Trebbiano (or other white wine) and clam juice and reduce by half. Once reduced by half, add the juice of two lemons.
- Prepare pasta water for capellini. Add salt and a drop of olive oil to water and bring to a bowl. Cook capellini according to package directions.
- Reserve about 2 cups of pasta water. Add 1/2 cup of pasta water to leek-wine sauce and cook for 2 minutes.
- Add gorgonzola butter, tomatoes, shrimp, parsley, and capers to sauce. Add capellini to the pan and cook, tossing the pasta with the sauce until the sauce coats pasta, about 3-4 minutes. If sauce seems too runny, cook for another few minutes. If sauce seems too thick, add more pasta water until you achieve your desired consistency.