I first encountered this dish in Chicago. While the sauce for the pasta has all the makings of a primavera, the fried shrimp on top is very much Sicilian.
- For the shrimp
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 2 large eggs
- Kosher salt
- 2 cups fine dry bread crumbs
- 18 jumbo shrimp (about 1 pound), peeled and deveined, tails on
- Vegetable oil, for frying
- 1 lemon, cut into 6 wedges
- For the spaghetti
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more for pasta pot
- 1 pound spaghetti
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 garlic cloves, sliced
- 2 cups small broccoli florets
- 2 cups sliced cremini mushrooms
- 1 cup 1-inch pieces asparagus
- Pinch peperoncino flakes
- 1 bunch scallions, finely chopped
- 1 cup grated Grana Padano
Bring a large pot of salted water to boil for pasta. Once it is boiling, slip the spaghetti into the pot, and cook until al dente.
Meanwhile, pour the flour into one shallow bowl, beat the eggs with a pinch of salt in another, and spread the bread crumbs in a third. Season the shrimp with salt, then dredge them in the flour, tapping off the excess. Dip the shrimp in the eggs, letting excess drip back into the bowl, then dredge them in the bread crumbs. Set the breaded shrimp aside while you start the pasta sauce.
Melt 2 tablespoons of the butter in the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Once the butter has melted, add the garlic and let sizzle for a minute, until fragrant. Add the broccoli, mushrooms, and asparagus, and season with the salt and peperoncino. Sauté the vegetables, tossing occasionally, until they begin to wilt, about 3 minutes. Ladle in ¹⁄₂ cup pasta water, cover the skillet, and let cook until the vegetables are almost tender, about 5 minutes.
Meanwhile, heat ¹⁄₂ inch vegetable oil in another skillet over medium heat. When ready (the tip of a shrimp will sizzle on contact), fry the shrimp in two batches until crispy and golden, about 3 minutes per side. Drain on paper towels, season with salt, and keep warm.
Once the vegetables in the sauce are almost tender, uncover, and add the scallions and 1 cup pasta water. Bring the sauce to a simmer, and cook until it is reduced and the vegetables are tender, about 8 to 10 minutes.
When the pasta is al dente, plop it directly into the sauce. Add the remaining 2 tablespoons butter, and toss to melt. Remove from heat, and toss with the grated cheese. Serve the pasta in bowls, topping each serving with three breaded shrimp. Serve with lemon wedges to squeeze over the shrimp.