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SHRIMP AND TASSO PASTA

1 pound shrimp, peeled and deveined or 1 pound crawfish tails or 1 pound
scallops or 2 dozen fresh shucked oysters
1/2 pound tasso, cut in 1/4 inch dice
1 pint heavy cream
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/4 teaspoon white pepper
2 teaspoons fresh basil or 1/2 teaspoon dried
2 teaspoons fresh thyme or 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1 pound spaghetti, fresh if possible
1/2 cup green onions, chopped
1/2 cup parsley, chopped

Pour the cream into a large heavy skillet and place over medium heat.
Stir the cream when it begins to rise to keep it from overflowing;
when it comes to a boil, add the tasso, salt, peppers and herbs and
let simmer for 8-10 minutes. The cream sauce should be fairly thick,
especially if you're using oysters (the liquid from the oysters will
thin it out). You can prepare the sauce ahead to this point.

Bring a large pot of salted water to a rolling boil and drop in the
pasta. Cook until just al dente. Meanwhile, return the sauce to a
simmer, stir in the shrimp (or oysters, scallops, crawfish, etc.),
green onions and parsley and cook until the shrimp turn pink (or until
the oysters curl around the edges), about 3-4 minutes. Drain the pasta
and divide among bowls. Ladle the sauce over and toss; serve with
freshly grated Parmesan cheese. Serves 4-6.

Note: This recipe is also excellent with oysters, scallops, or even
crawfish. (If you like smoked oysters, try it substituting 2 dozen
oysters for the shrimp; the fresh oysters stay nice and plump, and the
dish gets its smoky flavor from the tasso.)

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