Whenever I see my parents, instead of "Hello" from my dad, it's "You need basil or parsley? How about some tomatoes?" He's always ready to share his bounty with the world....that's the nice thing about people who have vegetable gardens! How can I say no? These ingredients are an Italian cook's dream come true and before you know it, they will be a distant memory. So enjoy them now!
I made this recipe on a whim for company one night and they loved it, deeming it "blogworthy". Photo credits to my number one fan and blogtographer, Mark Sylvestre.
Hope you all enjoy this delightful dish!
Shrimp Pesto Pasta
To make the pesto:
1 1/2 cups packed fresh basil leaves
1/2 cup packed fresh parsley
1/4 cup pignoli (pine) nuts, or you may try sliced almonds or walnuts, whatever you're nuts about is fine with me!
2 garlic cloves
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp freshly ground pepper
approx 2/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/2 cup grated pecorino Romano or Parmesan cheese
2 Tbs roughly chopped calamata olives (optional, but I think they are what separates this from your ordinary pesto)
In a food processor or blender, pulse the basil, parsley, nuts, garlic, salt & pepper until finely chopped. While it's still running, add the olives (if using) and slowly add enough oil to make a thick and smooth consistency, approx 2/3 cup. Transfer to a bowl and stir in the grated cheese.
The pesto will keep well in the fridge for 2 days.
The pasta portion of the show includes:
1 pint of cherry or grape tomatoes, sliced in half
1 lb rotini whole wheat pasta
1/2 cup chopped sun-dried tomatoes packed in oil
1/3 cup sliced calamata olives
1 lb frozen pre-cooked shrimp, thawed according to package directions
1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese (goat cheese might also work well here)
- In a large serving bowl, add the sun dried tomatoes, slightly drained and sliced olives. Set aside.
- Cook the pasta according to package directions or until al dente and drain. While the pasta is cooking, in a separate skillet or stove top grill pan, spray lightly with cooking spray and turn heat to medium. Add the grape tomatoes. Season lightly with salt and pepper, tossing occasionally. The goal is to get a little carmelization/slight browning on the tomatoes. You want them to hold up and not turn to mush. Transfer the tomatoes to the serving bowl with olives & sun dried tomatoes.
- With the heat still on the pan, spray a little more cooking spray or a drizzle of olive oil. Add the thawed shrimp and cook for 2-3 minutes. Then transfer to the serving bowl with the other ingredients.
- Add the cooked pasta to the bowl and toss with the pesto, making sure to incorporate the pesto well into the pasta. Add salt and pepper if needed. After it's cooled slightly, toss in the feta or goat cheese and serve, warm or room temp.
Variation: Omit the shrimp and use grilled chicken breast strips or leftover rotisserie chicken.