Shrimp and Pesto Pasta

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This week’s feature is a quick and easy pasta dish courtesy of Bob H., who tells me his specialty is the Spanish dish, paella. He hasn’t given me that recipe yet, so you’ll have to settle for this delicious shrimp and pesto pasta dish.

Now, let’s get cooking!

Shrimp and Pesto Pasta

Ingredients

8 ounces fettuccine

1 pound asparagus, trimmed and cut into 1-inch pieces (about 4 cups)

1/2 cup sliced, jarred roasted red peppers

1/4 cup prepared pesto (see recipe below)

2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil

1 pound raw shrimp (21-25 per pound), peeled and deveined

1 cup dry white wine

Freshly ground pepper to taste

Method

Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add fettuccine and cook for 3 minutes less than the package directions specify. Add asparagus and continue cooking until the pasta and asparagus are just tender, about 3 minutes more. Reserve 1/4 cup of the cooking water; then drain the fettuccine and asparagus and return to the pot. Stir in peppers and pesto. Cover to keep warm.

Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add shrimp and cook, stirring occasionally, until pink, about 3 minutes. Add wine, increase heat to high and continue cooking until the shrimp are curled and the wine is reduced, about 3 minutes. Add shrimp and the reserved cooking water to the pasta; toss to coat. Season with pepper and serve immediately.

Fresh Basil Pesto

Ingredients

2 cups fresh basil leaves, packed

1/4 to 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan-Reggiano or Romano cheese

1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil

1/3 cup pine nuts

3 medium sized cloves garlic, minced

Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Method

Combine the basil in with the pine nuts, pulse a few times in a food processor. Add the garlic, pulse a few times more.

Slowly add the olive oil in a constant stream while the food processor is on. Stop to scrape down the sides of the food processor with a rubber spatula. Add the grated cheese and pulse again until blended. Add a pinch of salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste. Makes 1 cup.

Notes: If you’re looking for a packaged pasta that is close to homemade, try the tagliatelle nests that are available in most local grocery stores. If you make the pesto recipe above you’ll have lots left over. One of my favourite ways to use left over pesto is to mix it with mayonnaise and spread it on sandwiches, especially ones with sliced tomatoes in them.

Now, let’s get cooking!

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