This incredibly delicious recipe is from Elizabeth Alexander’s book The Light of the World, a memoir of her time with her late husband, Ficre Ghebreyesus, Eritrean artist and chef of Caffé Adulis in New Haven, now closed.
4 tablespoons olive oil
3 medium red onions, thinly sliced
4 to 6 cloves garlic, minced
5 very ripe and juicy tomatoes, chopped coarsely
salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1/2 cup finely chopped fresh basil (1 bunch)
15 pitted dates ( 1/2 cup), cut crosswise in thirds
3 tablespoons unsweetened shredded coconut
1/2 cup half-and-half
1 pound medium shrimp (16 to 20), shelled and deveined
2/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
2 1/2 cups cooked basmati rice.
In a large, heavy pot, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add onions and sauté until wilted, about 10 minutes. Add garlic, and continue sautéing, stirring frequently to prevent sticking, for 2 minutes longer. Stir in the tomatoes, salt and pepper. Cover and cook for about 5 minutes.
Add basil, dates and coconut, and reduce heat to medium-low. Cook, uncovered, stirring occasionally, for 5 more minutes. Add the half-and-half, cover and cook for 3 minutes.
Add shrimp to sauce. Cook, covered, until shrimp turns pink, about 5 minutes. Stir in the cheese, and then the rice, and serve immediately.