Your Life A to Z Recipe: Monday, May 12th, 2014: Shrimp, Leek and Spinach Pasta and Toffee Chocolate Chip Shortbread

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Shrimp, Leek and Spinach Pasta
Adapted from Real Simple
Yields: 8 servings

1 pound gemelli, fusilli, or other short pasta
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
4 leeks (white and light green parts only), halved lengthwise then crosswise
kosher salt and black pepper
2 pounds peeled and deveined medium shrimp (raw)
finely grated zest of 2 lemons
3/4 cups heavy cream
20 ounces baby spinach

1. Cook the pasta according to the package directions; drain and return it to the pot.
2. Meanwhile, heat the butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the leeks, ½ teaspoon salt, and ¼ teaspoon pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, until the leeks have softened, 3 to 5 minutes.
3. Add the shrimp and lemon zest and cook, tossing frequently, until the shrimp is opaque throughout, 4 to 5 minutes more.
4. Add the cream and ½ teaspoon salt to the pasta in the pot and cook over medium heat, stirring, until slightly thickened, 1 to 2 minutes. Add the shrimp mixture and the spinach and toss to combine.

Toffee Chocolate Chip Shortbread
All You
Yields: 2 dozen cookies

8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/4 cup confectioners' sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup mini chocolate chips
1/2 cup toffee bits

1. Preheat oven to 350ºF and line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. Using an electric mixer on medium-high speed, cream together butter, confectioners' sugar and vanilla until smooth. Stir in flour and salt just until a dough forms. Fold in chocolate chips and toffee bits.
2. Using your hands, roll dough into 1-inch balls. Place on prepared baking sheet, 1 inch apart, pressing down lightly on each one with a moistened palm.
3. Bake until cookies are firm and just golden around edges, 12 to 14 minutes. Place baking sheet on a wire rack for 5 minutes, then transfer cookies to rack to cool. Repeat with remaining dough. Store cookies in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days.