For a taste that will transport you to beautiful Naples, Italy, try this truly classically inspired Italian Shrimp and Grits.
It all began last week when chef Luca Caretti invited me to come show him how to put a Lowcountry spin on the cusine that made the Old World famous. His new restaurant, Miramare Italiano, is the latest jewel in Beaufort’s crown.
It sits in the heart of Habersham, a community that exudes the charm of the Old South with its white-columned homes nestled amongst ancient live oaks along the banks of the Broad River near historic Beaufort, SC.
After a few short weeks, Miramare has established itself as a gathering spot for locals and visitors; some popping in for a drink and others coming for fine dining With every Luca Caretti meal, you receive the full measure and passion of a man on fire with devotion to his chosen work.
Chef Luca Caretti of Miramare Italiano
Alla Vostra Salute!
Long before the founding of our nation immigrants arrived from Europe, the Far East, and Africa bringing their distinct culinary contributions to the New World. The Lowcountry became a melting pot that includes the distinct cuisine of Italy.
His grandmother is the force behind his passion for Italian food.
Luca’s Italian roots and expertise in Italian cooking grew deep while working from a young age alongside his grandmother in the original Miramare Italiano in Naples, Italy. In this family-owned restaurant, he honed his kitchen skills and began his journey toward the pursuit of quality and excellence.
Fine Wine From the Hillside Vineyards of Naples
Miramare’s wine list skews unabashedly Italian, with all selections earthy and terroir-driven from Italy’s hillside vineyards. The cocktail list is similarly poised between sophistication and unique new pours.
Cory Pope is pictured here as the co-owner with Luca of Beaufort’s premier Italian restaurant.
By design, authentic Italian food tends to be exclusive, geared toward the sophisticated palate that can truly appreciate its epicurean artistry. To make Italian cuisine more approachable, Chef Luca marries some crowd-pleasing Southern dishes with the finest Italian ingredients and techniques.
What could possibly have more appeal to his Lowcountry diners than this original version of the classic delicious shrimp and grits, the collaboration between a Southern cookbook author and an Italian chef par excellence!
Shrimp and Grits is right at the top of the list of the 10 most popular dishes in the South.
For example, for our Italian Shrimp and Grits, we combined locally sourced shrimp from the waters around the Lowcountry and stone-ground grits from Edisto Island with pure Italian white wine, aged Parmigiano-Reggiano, and prosciutto.
Ultimately, despite the veneer of exclusivity surrounding it, Italian cuisine shares many of its deepest-held principles with Southern food. Both Italian cooking and Southern cooking sit on centuries of history and both are driven by the imagination and passion in the heart and soul of the individual chef who creates it.
Here is the recipe we developed for the most delicious Shrimp and Grits you will ever experience! There are not enough good things I can say about this recipe. You must try this.
And by all means use stone-ground grits – nothing overly processed!
Italian Shrimp and Stone-Ground Cheese Grits
2 Tbls. butter
1 shallot, minced
1/4 cup minced green onion
1/4 cup minced red bell pepper
3/4 cup halved grape tomatoes
2 tsp. minced fresh chives
1 pound peeled and deveined medium fresh shrimp
1/4 cup dry white wine
2 Tbls. fresh lemon juice
1/2 cup butter, softened
Stone-Ground cheese Grits (recipe follows)
Fontina cheese – grate on top just before serving and add the garnish
Garnish: fresh dill, fresh thyme, chopped fresh chives, and sliced green onion
In a large skillet, melt 2 Tbls. butter over medium-high heat. Add shallot, green onion, and red bell pepper; cook, stirring frequently, for 4-5 minutes or until vegetables are tender. Add tomatoes, thyme, and chives; cook, stirring constantly, for 22 minutes. Add shrimp, and cook for 1 to 2 minutes or until shrimp begin to turn pink. Remove pan from heat, and spoon mixture into a large bowl, cover, and keep warm. Add wine and lemon juice to skillet. Cook over medium-high heat until the mixture is reduced by half. Remove skillet from heat. Whisk in butter, 1 Tbls. at a time, whisking until butter is melted after each addition. Return shrimp mixture to skillet, and cook over medium heat, stirring constantly until shrimp are pink and firm. Place a scoop of grits in each serving bowl and divide the shrimp mixture evenly among serving bowls. Garnish with dill, thyme, chives, and green onion if desired.
Stone-Ground Cheese Grits
5 cups chicken broth
1/4 tsp. salt
1 cup stone-ground yellow grits – you definitely want stone-ground
1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
1 1/2 cups grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
In a medium Dutch oven, bring broth and salt to a boil. Slowly add grits, stirring constantly. Reduce heat, and simmer, stirring frequently, for 30 minutes. Add cream, and cook, stirring frequently, for 10 to 20 minutes or until grits are very thick. Stir in cheese and cream. Spoon grits mixture evenly into bowls and top with the shrimp mixture.