Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Pesto Shrimp Pasta

Pesto is a sauce originating in Genoa in the Liguria region of northern Italy.  Your basic pesto shrimp pasta was our dinner last night.  We used basil from our garden to make the pesto.  Italian cuisine is a staple in our house as our family on Jim's side is from northern Italy - Lucca region. 

3 tightly packed cups basil leaves (can substitute 1 cup with Italian Parsley leaves)
2 cloves garlic, peeled and coarsely chopped
Pinch or so of coarse salt
1⁄2 cup grated pecorino sardo
1/2 cup of parmigiano-reggiano or parmesan cheese
1/4 cup of parmigiano-reggiano for serving
6 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
1 box of spaghetti or whatever type pasta you prefer if we don't make ours homemade we like De Cecco or Barilla.

Using a mortar and pestle (as the Genoa preferred way) or food processor (what we do), make a paste with washed/cleaned basil, garlic, olive oil and salt.  Adding basil a little at a time.  Gradually add parsley leaves, marjoram leaves, grated pecorino sardo or parmigiano-reggiano, and more olive oil till it's the consistency of choice.

Peel and Devein Shrimp and saute with a clove or two of garlic and olive oil.  With the olive oil in the skillet heat it up to medium high heat so the oil is hot then add the garlic and cook for 30 secs.  Then add the shrimp and saute about 1.5 minutes (90 seconds) each side on medium high heat.

This recipe is so basic.  The hardest part is cleaning the basil.  We've tried several versions and the one above we prefer.  We don't like to use the traditional nuts whether pine or walnut, and the pecorino cheese gives it just the right bite.  Using the parmigiano - reggiano instead of regular parmesan intensifies the flavor.  You can use pesto for so many and bruschetta to name a few.  It's most delectible and the basil is like gold because it takes so much to make pesto.

Another Easy And Even More Basic Pesto Recipe
Carton of basil and one bunch of Italian parsley
1 garlic clove
1/4 tsp salt
1⁄2 cup fresh shredded parmesan with microplane
Around a little less than 1/4 cup of olive oil
A little pepper

Put all in blinder – start with garlic clove and a handful of parsley then add some olive oil blend, then more parsley blend, then olive oil and more parsley, then blend add salt, then basil, then parmesan, pepper, a little more olive oil blend.  Once all blended use or freeze. 

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