We’ve been eating more pasta since I discovered egg pasta that tastes more like freshly-made pasta than the kind we can find at our grocery store. Egg pasta is generally yellow, looks more brittle, cooks more quickly and comes, for some mysterious reason, in fragile packaging like bags or boxes with an exposed, shrink-wrapped front. The kind we get is much pricier than the $1 boxes of pasta we used to get, but it’s so much tastier, it’s completely worth it. It also has some sodium from the egg so it tastes good on its own even though we don’t salt the water when we cook it.
This recipe is fairly quick but it does require a little bit of multitasking and figuring out the timing can be a little tricky. We first prepare the shrimp and set it in the fridge to marinate for at least half an hour. We’ve found that marinating it in a carbonated beverage helps make the shrimp taste more tender. We usually marinate it in the cheapest beer we have; pop or soda also works well. We aim to have the pasta and the sauce ready at the same time so we give the pot of water for the pasta a little bit of time to warm up, then start preparing the sauce in a frying pan. We start cooking the pasta after we add the shrimp to the sauce and give it a couple of minutes to cook. The shrimp cooks pretty quickly so the timing will need to be adjusted if you’re using a pasta that takes longer than 4 minutes to cook.
Low-sodium shrimp pasta with parmesan and ground walnuts
- 0.4 lb (180g) raw shrimp, peeled
- 1/4 cup (60mL) beer (or other carbonated beverage, to marinate shrimp)
- freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- 1 1/2 tablespoons (22mL) unsalted butter
- 2 garlic cloves, finely minced
- 1/4 teaspoon (1.25mL) dried oregano
- 1/8 teaspoon (0.5mL) dried thyme
- 1 cup (240mL) low-sodium chicken broth
- 1/6 cup (40mL) parmesan cheese, finely grated
- 1/4 cup (60mL) raw walnuts, ground
- 6.6 oz (190g) uncooked Tagliatelle pasta
- Cut the shrimp into bite-size pieces (we cut ours into three or four pieces). Season with freshly ground pepper, to taste, and combine with beer or carbonated beverage of your choice. Cover and transfer to the fridge to marinate while you prepare the rest of the ingredients. We usually marinate it for at least half an hour before we actively start cooking.
- In a large pot, bring water to a boil for the pasta.
- In the meanwhile, prepare the sauce. Melt the butter in a medium-sized frying pan over medium heat. Stir in the garlic, oregano, and thyme. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the garlic starts to brown, about 1 minute.
- Stir in the chicken broth and most of the parmesan cheese (leave a little to sprinkle on top of each dish). Bring the sauce to boil over high heat then reduce the heat and simmer until the sauce reduces, about 8 minutes.
- Strain the shrimp then add it to the sauce. Cook the shrimp until it is thoroughly white and pink (no longer transparent), about 5-7 minutes.
- In the meanwhile, cook the pasta for the time recommended on the package. Ours is perfect in 4 minutes. Drain the pasta.
- Combine the drained pasta with the shrimp sauce in the pot that was used to cook the pasta.
- Plate the pasta, distributing it between the two plates evenly. Sprinkle each dish with ground walnuts and top with any remaining parmesan cheese.
Sources of sodium
- Chicken broth
- Parmesan cheese
Approximate sodium intake per serving: 492.5 mg
- 100 mg from the shrimp, which has 111 mg per 3.5 oz (100 g)
- 76.5 mg from the pasta, which has 51 mg per 2.2 oz (62.5 g)
- 35 mg from the chicken broth, which has 70 mg per cup (240 mL)
- 281 mg from the parmesan cheese, which has 433 mg per oz (28.4 g)
- These values are calculated from the nutritional labels of the ingredients I used
Reduce the sodium
Most of the salt here comes from the parmesan cheese. Use low-sodium parmesan cheese instead.
The egg pasta also has some sodium. Pastas that aren’t made with eggs usually don’t have any sodium but they’re less tasty if you don’t salt the water as they cook. I personally need to dress up non-egg pasta with a lot more sauce.
Increase the sodium
If we weren’t worried about our sodium intake, we would salt the water when cooking the pasta and add a little bit of salt to the sauce when adding in the parmesan cheese.
We like Filotea brand pasta, which is available online at Amazon.com but we get ours for less at our local Bed Bath & Beyond, which has a large World Market section. The pasta retails there at $4.99 per box, but I’m a thrifty shopper and I almost always get it for less with store coupons and in-store cashback from Ebates. We use 3/4 of the box for two dinner servings.