All Photos © Christine Elise McCarthy 2012
Once again – a make-shift invention born of the need to not waste ingredients I already had. My recent homemade tortilla fixation nets me twelve tortillas at a time. I eat two meals a day. Even if I eat NOTHING but quesadillas (and that is what I have been doing – just ask my growing arse) – that is still 6 days of eating. The tortillas have a three day shelf life – I am discovering. So – out of desperation not to throw away more unused & stale tortillas – I came up with this guy. I had everything in it already. I used a frozen batch of my Roasted Tomato & Garlic Pasta Sauce which I recently tried on pizza & found it too acidic. I had heavy cream left over from my Vegetable Pot Pie Cupcakes – and I plotted to curb the acid of the sauce with the smooth silkiness of the dairy. I had a lot of grated cheese (a mix of cheddar & mostly mozzarella). I also had frozen shrimp. I know that cheese & seafood are an ill-suited pairing (some Italian restaurants even stating on their menus that they will not comply with any request to cheese up a seafood dish) – but these were some BS frozen shrimp in a two pound bag in danger of dying a second death due to advanced freezer burn so I decided to risk the arrival of the food police and blend them up in a recipe with a HEAVY dose of cheese. My shrimp had tails – which I had to remove post-cooking.
I just took this thing out of the oven & tasted the slice you see in the photos. HOLY CRAP! This is one of the most delicious things I have ever made. It was all I could do not to just inhale the whole piece – even though I had just eaten a quesadilla. Outrageously delicious & undeniably, flat out out AWFUL for you! SO much fatty cheese & cream & tortillas & yum! I bet this would go over very big with kids or at football parties.
This is a very easy dish to prepare – especially if you use a jarred sauce (but try not to! Try this easy 5 minute arrabiata sauce – if you possibly can) & pre-made tortillas. You could cut the heavy cream entirely, too, to lessen the devastation to your waistline. Maybe use cooked chicken or cooked sausage rather than shrimp? But whatever way you make it – you gotta try it! Trust me!
Shrimp & Tortilla Cheesy Lasagna in a Pink Sauce
5 flour tortillas
3 TBS butter
30 shrimp or about 1 lb – peeled & cleaned
1 tsp crushed red pepper (optional)
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground pepper
6 cloves of garlic – chopped coarsely
2 cups tomato sauce
1 cup heavy cream (optional)
2 cups (or to taste) grated cheese (mozzarella or a mozzarella blend)
fresh parsley – chopped
Pico de Gallo – as garnish
Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees.
Melt the butter in a frying pan & cook the shrimp with the garlic (I left mine whole – but you can use chopped garlic), salt, pepper & crushed red pepper (if using). When they are pink – remove from heat. Err on the side of under-cooking because they will cook more in the oven.
Blend the two cups of tomato sauce with the heavy cream (if you are using it).
Grease (with olive oil, butter or cooking spray) a deep pie dish. Put a tortilla on the bottom. Layer with 1/4 of the shrimp, 1/5 the sauce, 1/5 the cheese & some parsley. Add another tortilla, press it down & continue in the same manner until the last tortilla which you only top with sauce & cheese.
Bake at 350 for 20-30 minutes or until the cheese begins to brown. Remove from the oven & let rest a good ten minutes before cutting into it.
Make a promise to yourself not to step on the scale for a few days – and serve this baby hot with more chopped parsley & pico de gallo (if using).
FOLLOW UP!!!! This tastes great at room temperature, too! And here is how it looks sliced up – cold out of the fridge: