Shrimp Scampi with Tomatoes and Artichokes

This giveaway is now closed. Congratulations to Sandy!

Do you usually go out for Valentine’s Day or do you cook a romantic dinner at home? For us, we almost always stay in. It’s so crowded to go out for a date on Valentine’s Day and the food often isn’t that special.

Celebrating Valentine’s Day at home requires a little bit of organization and careful planning on our part. With two children that need to be tucked in bed (forget going out on a regular basis…), it can be hard to have a romantic evening. I plan a simple, yet thoughtful dinner and prepare it while Eric works on getting ready for bed and we eat after they are fast asleep.

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shrimp scampi valentine's day

You don’t need a 5-course meal to treat your Valentine to a special evening. Not only will planning an evening in for Valentine’s Day ensure a romantic evening for two, it’ll save you a few bucks as well.

Food

Prepare something that’s a little bit more special than your typical evening meal. Or if you know of a favorite dish that your significant other has, consider preparing that to dine on.

We like Italian pasta dishes with lots of flavor and ingredients that are maybe a little bit fancier. Not to say that the recipe is fussy, this Shrimp Scampi with Sun-Dried Tomatoes and Artichokes is actually quite simple to prepare, it is the ingredients that give it flair.

If you and your significant other both love spending time in the kitchen, consider preparing a special meal together.

Music

A little quiet, romantic music is always a nice touch. I don’t even remember what I used last year, but I selected 4 or 5 songs and actually had them on repeat playing on the iPod docking speakers. I think one of the songs was Rob Pattison Never Think from the Twilight Soundtrack. Love that guitar.

Lighting

Harsh, bright light isn’t very romantic. Turn a few lights off and warm up the room with candles. If you are able and it’s not to warm an evening, light up your fireplace to cozy up the room.

What are you doing to make your Valentine’s Day special?

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Shrimp Scampi with Sun-Dried Tomatoes and Artichokes

serves 2-4

Ingredients:

1/2 pound linguini, cooked according to package instructions
2 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
2 shallots, finely diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 pound frozen pre-cooked shrimp, peeled and deveined
5 tablespoons Vermouth wine
6 ounces frozen artichoke hearts, thawed (or canned)
1/3 cup thinly sliced sun-dried tomatoes
1/4 teaspoon fresh black pepper
1/4 teaspoon sea salt, plus more to taste if desired
One large lemon
1/4 cup finely chopped parsley leaves
freshly grated parmesan cheese for serving

Directions:

Set shrimp aside in a bowl to thaw while you prepare all of the ingredients. To speed thawing you can rinse in warm water.

Juice half of the lemon, reserving the other half to garnish the plate. Prepare the pasta according to package instructions so it is ready when you need it.

Measure the butter and olive oil into a large saute or cast iron pan over medium heat. When butter has melted, swirl to combine with the oil.

Add the shallots to the pan and saute over medium heat for 3 minutes. Then, add the garlic and saute for another 1-2 minutes or until the garlic becomes fragrant and the shallots are tender and translucent.

Next, add the shrimp, salt, and pepper. Stir to combine and cook for 3-5 minutes over medium-high heat. Add the Vermouth and cook for another 2-3 minutes.

Stir the artichoke hearts sun-dried tomatoes into the shrimp mixture. Cook until heated through. Stir in the lemon juice and half of the parsley.

Add the hot pasta to the pan, stir until evenly distributed. Taste for seasonings and adjust salt and pepper if desired. Sprinkle with the remaining parsley. Serve topped freshly grated Parmesan cheese and a wedge of lemon.

Before you enter the giveaway PLEASE read the rules.

Giveaway Prize (1 winner):

le creuset giveaway

Winner will receive one Red 3.5 quart Braiser, from Le Creuset (a $200 value)

Giveaway Requirements:

  • Head over to Le Creuset and tell me what product is on your wish-list.
  • You may NOT enter using multiple email addresses. Automatic disqualification.
  • Additional entries must leave a separate comment.
  • Contest ends February 17, 2011 at 11:59 p.m. EST.
  • Contest open to US States only.
  • Winner will be chosen via random.org and will have 3 days to respond before disqualified and a new winner chosen.

Extra Entries:

Additional entries can be earned by doing any of the following, giving you a total of 5 entries. Leave a separate comment for each of your entries.

  • ReTweet the following message: Win a 3.5 qt. Red Braiser from @lecreuset over at @goodlifeeats http://su.pr/29Li32 #giveaway
  • Become a fan of GoodLife Eats on Facebook.
  • Become a fan of Le Creuset on Facebook.
  • Give one of your favorite recipe posts here on GoodLife Eats a Stumble using Stumble Upon, then leave a comment here telling me which post you stumbled.
Disclosure: The fine people at Le Creuset provided me with a the giveaway prize. I was not compensated for this post. Opinions are my own.