Creamy Pesto Pasta with Shrimp

I walked into the market after work to find myself taken back by the amazing smell of basil. I just had to do something with it. I was compelled. It was speaking to me. So I got two bunches of basil, a head of garlic, and headed into the kitchen.

Disclaimer- I’ve never made pesto before. In fact, I can only recall having pesto once. If that was even pesto…(we were in the Prague so we could have actually purchased something else…I do not miss grocery shopping a foreign country…)

However, I love basil. The smell is intoxicating. The flavor is heavenly. So why had I never made pesto before? I don’t really know why.

I used the pesto to make a creamy sauce and topped the plates with delightfully seasoned shrimp.  I wasn’t sure what my husband (and most honest and knowledgable food critic) would think.  Well, he ate two plates and I caught him eating more out of the pan before I could pack away leftovers. So this has definitely made it on the ‘make again’ list- and with how simple it is, I look forward to it!

Basil
Gorgeous Basil
Toasting Pine Nuts
Toast pine nuts and garlic
Pesto Ingredients
Pine nuts, garlic, basil, olive oil
Making Pesto
Add to food processor
Pesto
Puree. Add parmesan cheese and pulse a few times.

Creamy Pesto Pasta with Shrimp

Ingredients

3/4 pound pasta, cooked
3/4 pound shrimp
Vegetable oil
1/2 onion, diced
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 1/2 cups heavy cream
1/2 cup pesto (recipe below)
Salt
Pepper
Cayenne pepper
Paprika
Granulated garlic
Oregano
1/2 cup shredded parmesan

Instructions

Season shrimp with salt, pepper, paprika, cayenne, oregano and granulated garlic.  Cook in hot pan.  Remove and reserve for serving.

Saute onion.  Once soft, add garlic.

Add heavy cream, pesto, and seasonings (salt, pepper, cayenne, and paprika) to taste.  Simmer to thicken.  Once thick, add most of the parmesan, reserving some for garnish.  Stir, then add cooked pasta and stir to coat.

Serve with shrimp and reserved parmesan cheese.

Creamy Pesto Pasta with Shrimp
Creamy Pesto Pasta with Shrimp

Pesto

Makes about 1 cup pesto

Ingredients

2 cups tightly packed basil
1/4 cup pine nuts
4 garlic cloves, not peeled
1/4 cup olive oil (more if thinner consistency is desired)
salt, to taste
1/4 cup shredded parmesan cheese

Instructions

Toast pine nuts and garlic over low/medium-low heat until the pine nuts are lightly browned. The garlic will slip right out of the skin.

Put basil, toasted pine nuts and garlic, olive oil, and salt in food processor (or blender) and puree. If you desire thinner pesto, add more olive oil.

Once pureed (it won’t be smooth, but there will not be any chunks), add parmesan and pulse a couple times.

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