Rice Noodles with Lemon, Asparagus, and Shrimp

I’ve been reading about the nutritional benefits of rice noodles – while they are comparable in calories to regular (wheat-based) pasta, a smaller serving is filling relative to to wheat-based pasta.  I haven’t found brown-rice noodles in my neighborhood stores, but decided to put together dinner using regular (white) rice noodles. They come in a lot of shapes and sizes – for this meal I used “rice sticks,” which are roughly the size of fettucini.

I still had some Meyer lemons that I wanted to use while they’re still fresh, so I used them as the starting point for my meal.  (I think regular lemons would also work, but I’d use less juice.)  With lemon juice as the base for my sauce, I wanted to stick with nice fresh ingredients. I decided on shallots, sun-dried tomatoes, red bell pepper, asparagus, and shrimp. As I started cooking the sauce, the lemon juice was still a little tart for my taste, so I added white wine (sauvignon blanc, since this is what I had on hand). Topped with some freshly-grated pecorino-romano cheese, and I had a bright-tasting satisfying meal. It was really quick to prepare, too – the sauce was done by the time the noodles were done cooking.

I cooked the rice noodles according to the package directions – I added them to a large pot of boiling water, and cooked them for 7 minutes.

In the meantime, place in a large skillet heat over medium-high heat:

  • 1 Tbsp olive oil

Heat the oil until it shimmers and add:

  • 1/4 cup minced shallots (about 2 medium)
  • grated zest of 1 lemon (about 1/2 tsp) – yellow part only

Sautee the shallots and lemon zest for about 1 minute, stirring constantly, being careful not to brown the shallots.  Then add:

  • 1/4 cup sun-dried tomatoes (julienne cut) – not packed in oil
  • 2/3 cup Meyer lemon juice (from 3 lemons – less if using regular lemons)
  • 1/4 cup dry white wine (I used sauvignon blanc)

Cook over medium heat for several minutes, until the sun-dried tomatoes become a little soft, then add to the pan:

  • 1 red bell pepper, cut into thin (about 1/4 inch) strips, with the strips cut in half
  • 4 ounces asparagus, trimmed, and cut into 1-inch pieces (I used the stems and tips)
  • 8 ounces shrimp, peeled and deveined (I used medium shrimp because they were on sale – I’m sure larger shrimp would be even better).

Continue to cook until the shrimp is opaque and just heated through.  By this time, the noodles should be done.  Serve the sauce over rice noodles, and topped with freshly-grated pecorino-romano cheese.  I’m sure parmesan would be good, too, but I can get pecorino-romano at Trader Joe’s for a reasonable price ($6.99/pound).  It has a stronger flavor that I love, and don’t need to add too much of it to my pasta (or whatever else I’m making).

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