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Rachael ignores the Italian no-cheese-with-seafood rule and makes parm with fried shrimp, a quick marinara sauce + shredded mozzarella.
"Cheese and seafood is a 'no-no' in a lot of seafood dishes in our family and among Italians. Many seafood dishes are topped rather with seasoned and toasted breadcrumbs. But my favorite dish in late fall and winter were my grandpa's artichokes, and the breadcrumbs were rich with melted anchovies and parsley and tons of Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese. So, why not breadcrumbs and cheese on large, sweet shrimp?" —Rachael
Serve with Rach's Garlic Bread and her husband's Negronatini.
For the marinara, heat a medium pot over medium heat with EVOO, add garlic, red pepper flakes and oregano and stir 1 minute. Add tomato paste and stir a minute more. Add passata and combine, then stir in basil and add salt. When the sauce bubbles, reduce the heat and simmer 20 to 25 minutes.
For the shrimp, dress shrimp with a little lemon juice and salt.
Place the flour in a shallow dish, whisk eggs in a second dish and combine breadcrumbs, Parm, garlic and parsley in a third shallow dish.
Heat about ½ inch of olive oil in a large skillet over medium to medium-high heat.
Meanwhile, coat half the shrimp at a time in the flour, then the egg, then the Parm breadcrumbs.
Preheat the broiler.
Shallow-fry the shrimp in batches for about 4 minutes, turning occasionally. Drain shrimp on a wire rack or paper towels.
Add two-thirds of the marinara to the bottom of a large casserole or oven-safe dish. Arrange shrimp on top, then dot with a bit of sauce, but let the crispy coating be the star. Sprinkle with mozzarella and lightly brown under broiler.