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!
Creamy Pesto Pasta with Shrimp
3/4 pound pasta, cooked
3/4 pound shrimp
1/2 onion, diced
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 1/2 cups heavy cream
1/2 cup pesto (recipe below)
1/2 cup shredded parmesan
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.
Makes about 1 cup pesto
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
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.