Fiesta Shrimp with Campanelle Pasta and Salsa Ranchera

Recipe courtesy of Chef Thomas Horner from the JW Marriott Desert Springs, Palm Desert, CA

1 tablespoon chopped fresh cilantro
6 tablespoons chopped red onion
5 pounds Barilla Campanelle
3 finely chopped red onions
¾ cup chopped fresh cilantro
7 ½ cups tomato juice
salt and pepper
6 tablespoons chopped garlic
100 (16/20) tail-on shrimp
1 cup olive oil
12 red, green, or yellow bell peppers, cut into ¼-inch dice
6 tablespoons chopped garlic
2 cups tomato paste
24 roma tomatoes, cut into ¼-inch dice
  1. In a hotel pan, combine the cilantro, garlic, and onion to make a marinade. Add salt and pepper as desired, keeping in mind that the shrimp may have salt already. Toss the shrimp in the marinade and refrigerate it overnight, covered.
  2. Drain excess oil from the marinated shrimp, if any.
  3. Cook the Barilla pasta for half the time indicated on the package. Drain pasta and drizzle with some olive oil to prevent from sticking. Place pasta flat on sheet trays or hotel pans and cool in a blast chiller. Alternatively, cool it down in a walk-in cooler. Store in zip lock bags or sealed plastic container; refrigerate and use within several hours.
  4. Make the salsa ranchera: In a pot over medium heat, pour in the olive oil, then the red onion, sautéing until it becomes transparent. Add the bell peppers, half of the cilantro, and the garlic, stirring for about 1 minute. , Whisk in the tomato juice and paste, bring them to a boil, and season with salt and pepper to taste. Remove the salsa from the heat and keep it warm.

For each serving, to order:

  1. Reheat about 2 cups campanelle in simmering water.
  2. In a sauté pan over medium heat, cook 5 shrimp for about 3 minutes per side, until they just become white in the center, not transparent.
  3. Drain the pasta and add it to the shrimp with about ½ cup salsa ranchera. Toss them together and plate, arranging the shrimp around the plate.
  4. Garnish with the diced tomato and some of the remaining chopped cilantro.