Sunday, August 8, 2010

Green Shrimp!

I call this dish green shrimp, despite the fact that the shrimp is clearly not the green element. It's an old favorite that I haven't made in years (and never made fresh from scratch), and a nice glass of wine and an empty house has a knack for making me go on a cooking binge.

The ingredients? A homemade pesto and some lovely shrimp - that's it! Light, bright, delicious.

For Pesto:
2 c basil leaves - I estimated this to be anywhere between 20 or 30 leaves, depending on a) how big the leaves are and b) how basil-y you like your pesto
2 c flat leaf Italian parsley (one bunch should do it - just rip the leaves from the stems!)
2-3 cloves garlic, smashed or diced
1/4 c toasted pine nuts (walnuts or cashews would work too - 1 minute on the stove over high heat. Roughly chop before adding to the pesto if using walnuts or cashews)
3/4 c extra virgin olive oil
1 c fresh grated parmesean cheese (note: reserve a solid palmful for topping your pasta!)

2 tbs butter
1 lb shrimp, uncooked, peeled and deveined
1 loving pinch red pepper flakes

1 box (1 pound) whole wheat fettucini (your favorite pasta of course will do!)

Salt and pepper to taste

1. Bring 5-6qts of water in a large pan to boil
2. While waiting, begin to peel/devein shrimp if your market didn't sell them so. I find it easiest to run a paring knife down the back where the vein is just to the base of the tail. The shell and tail will pull right off and you'll have a lovely butterfly shape!
3. When water comes to boil, add fettucini with liberal pinch of salt and a tbsp of olive oil. 10 minutes for al dente, but test-it at nine (it should have a slight bite to it)
4. While pasta cooks, in blender or food processor, add basil and parsley. Chop 5-6 times or until slightly broken up. Scrape sides of processor and toss in toasted nuts. Chop another 5-6 times and add garlic cloves and most of the cheese. Continue chopping until all bits are roughly the same sides. Scrape down sides of appliance and begin to slowly drizzle in olive oil. You may not need the full 3/4 cup - eyeball it until your pesto has the consistency of... hmm... a really grainy yogurt!
5. Melt 2 tbs butter over medium high heat. Add your shrimp and toss to coat. They're done when they're slightly pink and no longer opaque - 2 minutes a side, or no more than 4 minutes total (overcooked shrimp SUCKS). Just before finishing, add pinch salt, cracked black pepper and red pepper flakes. Toss again to coat.
6. Drain pasta when done and transfer to serving dish. Toss with your finished pesto until all noodles are coated evenly. Top with shrimp. Serve immediately with reserved parmesean cheese to garnish!

Bon appetit!