I was first introduced to Don Peppe's in Ozone Park, Queens onJonny Lennon's birthday. It's an old school joint that's been around since 1968, which has minimal decor - just horse jockey jerseys and a massive menu on the wall. After that it became tradition to stop by before or after a flight out of JFK, which was right around the corner.
Typically, as you walk in, the host - or one of the owners or a cousin of an owner or some combination of the three, is seated in front of a 70" flat screen tv watching the Yankee's game from about 6 inches away, next the coat check and immediately reprimands me for wearing a hat inside with a point, whistle and flip of his finger. Bright fluorescent lights light up the room full of large tables that mostly seat 8-10 people.
Everything is family style, and they look at you sideways if your party is less than 5 people with large appetites. So of course, ironically, I first discovered this particular dish - Shrimp Luciano - on a date after a round of baked clams and a bottle of nameless chilled red house wine. Needless to say, there was plenty of leftovers, and we were not upset about it.
The Luciano sauce is a shallot, butter, white wine sauce with just a hint of tomato. After that meal, i set outto learn this dish. After much trial and error this is my rendition I put together. I was later told by a relative of the Don Peppe family the trick was the type of white wine they used - but he wouldn't tell me which one that was, it's the family secret.
1lb Linguini (or pasta of your choice)
1-2 lbs of rock shrimp
1 Stick of butter (Quartered)
½ Cup white wine
Clean and peel 1-2 lbs of rock shrimp or chopped medium or large shrimp. Rinse and set aside.
Chop 2-3 shallots.
Bring lightly salted pasta water to a boil.
In a sauce pan add olive oil and 1 stick of quartered chilled butter on medium heat. Add shallots and cook together.
Generously finish with diced parsley.
When aromatic, and the shallots have sweated out into the butter, add the chopped shrimp.
When most of the shrimp is pink add ½ cup white wine.
When wine starts to steam and become aromatic, add ½ - full jar of Monte’s sauce, depending on your tomato preference. Stir and cover so shrimp cooks through on medium low heat.
Cook pasta until al dente. Pull pasta from cooking water into sauce and finish cooking in the sauce.
Cook on medium low to low until sauce sticks to noodle.