I recently visited one of my new favourite places to shop. I had been meaning to go for some time, because I had heard of this Asian superstore and knew that it would offer many creative foods I had never tried to cook before, but I hadn’t made it all the way down to the Lakeshore to go (my closest location in Toronto). Needless to say, I will be adding T&T to the places I need to visit often, maybe even every week.
I had procrastinated visiting, maybe because I was nervous that I might feel like a carp out of water. It can be hard to navigate the mysteries of Chinatown when you don’t speak the language(s), and I expected the same of T&T. For example, the last time I went to Chinatown I picked up these little brown fruits that were still attached to a branch that weren’t labelled in English. I showed them to a worker who was stacking other fruits, and said, “Lychees, right?” He laughed at me and said, “pft.” I didn’t speak his language, but we did speak the same body language – I know he basically said, “Who doesn’t know a lychee when they see one, you gringo assclown?” I quietly paid for my mystery fruit, which my well-traveled father-in-law later told me were “dragon eyes.”
Anyway, it turned out to be a pleasure shopping at T&T. Everything is clearly labelled in English, and the staff were helpful and friendly. I had expected that they catered mostly to the Chinese community, but there were also many delicacies I recognized from other cultures (I happily snapped up some pre-made kimchee and a selection of fresh sushi for dinner that night, just as two examples). As I walked the aisles and saw food after food that had originally been enjoyed somewhere else, I even began to feel patriotic. It can be hard to pinpoint things that all Canadians have in common, but the fact that we all enjoy and appreciate everything from everywhere else is actually one of those things!
But enough of a commercial for T&T and back to cooking. I picked up a packet of fresh purple pasta, mostly just because it was purple.
Initially, I thought it would be cool to cook them in a Japanese inspired way, in a recipe kind of like this, with sesame and fresh green things, and thinking about a recipe like that still makes me drool, but then when the day actually came to prepare dinner I had some shrimps in the freezer that were calling my name and I was feeling decadent. So instead, I hijacked a rich fettuccine alfredo recipe from epicurious.com and threw in my shrimps and some green onions.
Purple Shrimp Alfredo
- Frozen or fresh uncooked shrimp, thawed and peeled (I’ve been using smaller ones lately to save money. If they’re thrown into a dish with many other ingredients they add nice texture and are more plentiful!)
- Fresh sweet potato noodles
- 1Tbsp butter
- 1 clove garlic, peeled and diced
- 1/2C heavy cream (I tried to get away with 10% and it worked fine)
- ½ stick butter, cut into pieces
- 1/3C grated parmesan
Directions: Bring large pot of water to boil. Meanwhile, melt butter in frying pan and sautee garlic, 2 minutes. Add shrimp and cook until just pink and set aside. Cook pasta (fresh pasta should only take about 5-6 minutes), reserving 1/2C cooking water. Meanwhile, bring cream and butter to simmer over med-low heat in heavy 12 inch skillet, adding 1/4tsp salt and 1/2tsp pepper, stirring very regularly. Remove from heat. Add pasta, water, cheese, shrimp, and green onions. Toss. Add more water if necessary.
Excellent! This was a rich, delicious pasta dish. I’m not sure that I would be able to taste the sweet potato in the pasta in a blind taste test with regular spaghetti, but hopefully it snuck a few extra vitamins into my system without my notice (Noodlegacy, who makes them, advertises them as having antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties). It certainly did this for my kids – although I had to serve them noodles without sauce because they’re picky, they were overjoyed to eat purple pasta and they both cleaned their plates. I’m going to have to pick up some more to entertain them with in future for sure.
Rating: 3 Yums. If you’re going to make pasta, why not purple? Noodlegacy also makes red (cactus pear), green (green tea), and yellow (pumpkin) which are all fresh, natural whole wheat noodles.
Bonus hot purple pasta photo. Looking forward to getting a new camera!!