Linguine with Shrimp in Saffron Cream Sauce

I’ve been wanting to make a saffron cream sauce for pasta for a while now.  I’ve also been hesitant to make a true Alfredo because of all the fat and the fact that we don’t need them.  I decided to try and cut some of the fat down by going with a low fat cream cheese based Alfredo type sauce.  I still used some heavy cream but no where near as much as a regular Alfredo sauce uses (which is all heavy cream!).

I totally prefer seafood with my Alfredo and shrimp is usually the seafood of my choice.  I’m not sure if heating the saffron in some oil and then sauteing the shrimp did a whole lot – but I wanted to get a little more of the color than I would have than if I hadn’t.  This was delicious in any case and Grumpy and I both enjoyed it.  However, I can guarantee that he will not want me to cook shrimp again anytime soon.  When I posted about my Roasted Shrimp Tasting Spoons I mentioned he thinks I cook it too often (which is so not true!).  He’s running out of animal protien for me to cook!  ha ha.  Right now its between beef and chicken.  He doesn’t care to have me cook him pork chops anymore either – something he used to complain that I never cooked enough of.  Maybe he’s going to turn vegetarian on me soon, or maybe I’m having some wishful thinking!

This is my dish to share with Presto Pasta Nights this week.  Ruth of Once Upon a Feast and also the founder of PPN is the host for this week’s round up which will be on Friday, December 2, 2011.  Can you believe our year is almost over?!  If you are interested in joining us this week, head on over to the PPN website for the guidelines and submit your post by Thursday, December 1, 2011 to Ruth(at)4everykitchen(dot)com.  This is probably my last PPN post until after our vacation.  I have less than two weeks left and time crunch is starting to hit big time, but I will be back joining in again once we return!  In the meantime, check out Ruth’s page on Friday for all of this weeks posts, and check out the PPN site for all previous links for some great pasta ideas!  

Linguine with Shrimp in Saffron Cream Sauce

1 package (8 oz) fresh linguine, cooked according to package directions, reserving 3/4 cup hot liquid after pasta is cooked
4 oz 1/3 less fat cream cheese
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 large garlic clove, minced
2 generous pinches saffron threads, divided
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 lb shrimp, peeled and deveined
Cook pasta according to package directions.  Reserve 3/4 cup hot pasta liquid and stir in a generous pinch of saffron threads.  Set aside.
Add 1 tablespoon olive oilt to medium skillet and heat medium high.  Drop in a generous pinch of saffron and cook for a minute.  Add shrimp seasoned with salt and pepper and cook 3-4 minutes or until shrimp has just turned pink.  Toss with 1 large clove minced garlic.  Remove from heat and set aside.
In another saucepan (sorry, this dirties 3 dishes, but its well worth it!) heat butter and cream cheese, whisking until smooth.  Add the saffron infused pasta liquid along with 1/2 cup heavy cream and whisk to combine.  Simmer on low 2-3 minutes.  Transfer sauce to frying pan the shrimp is in and return to heat.  Bring back to a simmer and scrape all the yummy deliciousness from the bottom of the frying pan – and stir until blended.  Toss with linguine, serve with chopped chives as a garnish.


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