Rush Hour

Have you ever really wanted to make a favorite dish when you haven't had all of the right ingredients on hand? Have you ever made it anyway -- substituting other ingredients even though you weren't sure if it would turn out? Well, this month's recipe is the child of such a process.

I have this simple recipe that I like to throw together on busy weeknights that takes advantage of some of my favorite foods and flavors -- succulent shrimp, juicy tomatoes, tangy red peppers and intense curry. This recipe usually boasts a slightly salty chicken broth base. However, when I recently decided to make it, I discovered only too late that I didn't have any chicken stock on hand. But that didn't deter me! Oh no, I took a look in my pantry and a gander in my fridge and spotted a freshly opened bottle of cranberry-apple juice and thought "Why not?" ... and that's where it all began.

I was really surprised at how wonderfully the juice and the curry powder married to create a fruity dish with an intense flavor that not only tasted great, but also had my kitchen smelling delightful for hours on end. In fact, I liked it so much that I think this rendition will replace the old one! So, the next time you crave that favorite dish but don't have what it takes to make it, look again. You might be extraordinarily pleased with the results that a little creative substitution can yield.

Curried Shrimp and Pasta

  • 1 T. olive oil
  • 1/2 red bell pepper, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 c. cranberry-apple juice
  • 1 T. curry powder
  • 1 T. cornstarch
  • 2 T. water
  • 3 c. shrimp, peeled and cooked
  • 1 large tomato, chopped
  • 2/3 c. sliced green onions
  • 16 oz. angel hair pasta, cooked al dente

In a 10-inch skillet, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the red bell pepper and garlic and cook until tender, but not browned.

Add the cranberry-apple juice and curry powder to the skillet and bring to a boil. Mix the cornstarch and water in a small bowl and add to the skillet -- stirring constantly -- until the sauce thickens.

Add the shrimp, tomato and green onions to the skillet and reduce the heat to low. Heat the mixture until evenly warmed. Spoon over the angel hair pasta to serve.

  • Yields: 4 servings
  • Preparation Time: 20 minutes