Wednesday, April 14, 2010

April 13th - Shrimp and Tomato Pesto Pappardelle

We both hit the gym tonight after work so we needed to do something that was not too fussy.  When that comes up, D goes for Pasta.We keep a stock of Pesto in the freezer so super easy.  There is nothing wrong with jarred pesto but read the ingredients.  It should read like a cookbook and not a chemistry text.  I look for Olive Oil over Sunflower Oil and Basil in the top two ingredients.
Shrimp and Tomato Pesto Papardelle

16 Shrimp, shelled
10 Cherry Tomatoes, halved
3-4 cloves Garlic
250 g Wholewheat Pappardelle, dry (125 g/person)
3-4 T Basil Pesto
1/4 c freshly grated Parmesan
Chili Flakes (optional)

While the pasta is cooking, in a large sautee pan, heat 1 T of Olive Oil on medium-high heat.  Sautee the Garlic and Tomatoes until the Tomatoes are soft.  Careful not to burn the garlic.  Not yummo.  If you are worried or have a tendency to walk away, put the garlic in the pan after 1 minute of the Tomatoes.   Add the Shrimp.  You do not want to over cook the Shrimp so you may want to start the pasta 5 minutes ahead of the sauce because the shrimp will not take long. 

Add the Pesto to the pan and mix gently.  You want to break down the Tomatoes but you do not want to mash them up.  If the pasta is ready proceed, if not, turn down the heat to low and wait.

When the pasta is cooked, with a pasta fork or tongs, bring the pasta into the pan with the sauce.  Do not shake all the water off.  You may even need to add a few spoons of the pasta water.

Toss gently.

Serve with freshly grated Parmesan.  Add Chili Flakes if you like.

N's Orgasmic Basil Pesto or something like it

6 cups basil leaves
1 cup parmesan or pecorino cheese, grated
1 cup pinenuts
1 cup olive oil (+/- 1/4 cup depending on consistency you like)
8 cloves garlic
Salt and Pepper to taste

Load the food processor with the Basil Leaves, Pine Nuts and Garlic.  Do not get intimidated or put off by that word, Processor.  I have been doing this recipe since University. Originally, my friend N gave me the basic parts of this recipe but I use more Garlic and Cheese and less oil.  I have cut back the Garlic over the years a tad because it was not dinner guest friendly.  For many years I used the tiniest of food processors from Black and Decker.  We all have seen these 'single-person' sized processors where the bowl is about 2 cups and sometimes comes with handblenders.  This is double because I am using a 'real' food processor. I make enormous batches and freeze it and it can last me upto a year.

Blitz the first ingredients with short quick pulses until it is broken down to small pieces.  Open the pour spout and continue to pulse but process slightly longer while streaming in the oil.  You may not need as much oil.  You could use more.  Typically, I would say other recipes use more oil and less nuts.  I love Pinenuts and they are so good for you.  One of my mom's 'old wives' tales is that Pinenuts is good for circulation and mental faculties.

A good portion for 1 person is about 1-2 T of pesto.  Totally your taste.  I go for 2 for sure if not a dash more.  If you freeze, freeze in ice cube trays.  TRUST ME.  Do not freeze in one big container.  Even though there is alot of oil, it will freeze solid and you will not be able to easily portion out.  Once it is frozen, pop out of the trays and put in ziplock bags.  Defrost 2 cubes (typically) per person.  You could microwave for 1 minute but it will also defrost in a bowl during the time it takes to cook the pasta.

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