I can count the number of times on one hand I have not made it across brutally hot deserts or endless seas of concrete to the shores of San Diego in the summer. I count myself as incredibly lucky, but it has also become a sort of life line for me. Get through the hard winter, the unpredictable spring, the first few months of acrid summer, and you can go lay on the beach for one bliss-filled week. This year’s trip was rather unexpected, no doubt, and I still blame the heat in Phoenix for my initial refusal of the prospect, but nothing matters. Once the car temperature gauge starts to descend from the mid 110’s to the slightly more pleasant mid 70’s and the first whiff of salty air hits my nose, it doesn’t matter how I got there or when I have to leave. I am there in that moment, and nothing can take me away. What ensues after I ensconce myself at the beach cottage that has been my San Diego home for over 10 years now is a pretty predictable beach vacation, this year taken with Cindy and Bob in tow. Beach-going, boogie boarding, bike riding, running, hiking, napping, and most importantly cooking with the great bounties that come from the land and sea of California and the west coast. Pair that with an introduction to martinis, Game of Thrones and an occasional game of Hearts, the trip will go down as one of the best in the bunch.
Enjoy the photo-essay below, as well as the recipe for Spaghetti with Shrimp and Basil, made from Mexican shrimp caught by local fisherman via Point Loma Seafood. Enjoy!
Spaghetti with Shrimp, Broccoli and Basil
Recipe adapted from Jennifer Steinhauer’s recipe of the same name for TasteFood, Serves 4
1 pound spaghetti or linguine
Extra-virgin olive oil
Crushed red pepper flakes
1 pound large shrimp, peeled with tail shells intact, deveined
3/4 pounds broccoli, ends trimmed, cut in 1 inch pieces
1 large garlic clove, minced
1 28 ounce can Italian plum tomatoes, drained
Freshly ground black pepper
Pinch of sugar, to taste
1/3 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, plus extra for serving
1/2 cup whole basil leaves (torn in half if large)
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add spaghetti and cook until just shy of al dente. Drain, reserving about 1 cup of cooking water.
While the pasta is cooking, heat one tablespoon olive oil in a large skillet. Add garlic and sauté until fragrant, 30 seconds. Add broccoli and fry, stirring frequently, until brown. Add crushed red pepper and simmer for 1-2 minutes, until fragrant. Add tomatoes, one teaspoon salt and one teaspoon black pepper. Simmer 5 minutes, breaking tomatoes apart with a spoon. Add shrimp and half the basil to the skillet and simmer gently for another 8 minutes, until shrimp is cooked through.
Taste and if necessary add a pinch of sugar and more salt, pepper, or crushed red pepper to taste. Add pasta into the skillet and toss well, adding pasta water if necessary to moisten the dish. Cook pasta 1-2 minutes in the sauce. Remove from heat.
Transfer spaghetti to a serving bowl. Scatter cheese and basil leaves over pasta and toss one more time. Add a grinding of black pepper. Serve along with extra Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese.