Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Shrimp Pesto Pasta

This is a dinner I made by raiding the pantry and the refrigerator. It was totally unplanned. All I knew early in the day was that dinner would contain shrimp and pasta. The rest of it came together as the meal progressed. I buy big bags of frozen raw shrimp when they are on sale. It's great to have them in the freezer anytime we feel like seafood for dinner. Other things I keep in the pantry, like pesto sauce and evaporated canned milk. In the summer, I can step outside my kitchen door and pick basil if I want pesto. I freeze a good amount of it but  usually run out around January. SO, a jar or 2 of pesto sauce in the pantry is the way to go. Evaporated canned milk is a great shelf stable sub for cream, and it's lower in fat as well. Cherry tomatoes and fresh garlic are always on our weekly shopping list, so we've always got them on hand.

This entire dinner came together in about 30 minutes. The pasta and shrimp both cook up quickly and the sauce goes together in a flash. I've given measurements for 2 hearty portions, but it can easily be doubled. This amount made a plate full for each of us plus a small bowl for lunch then next day. AND my husband said, "Don't scrimp on the shrimp!"

Here's what I came up with, using what I had around:

Shrimp Pesto Pasta
Wish I'd had a fresh basil leaf for garnish!!
Shrimp Pesto Pasta with Roasted Tomatoes and Garlic
2 servings

16 LARGE shrimp peeled and deveined, tails off
Pesto Sauce and Evaporated Milk
Pantry Staples
4 cloves of garlic peeled and halved
8 cherry tomatoes 
2 T. Classico Pesto Sauce                                                          
3 T. evaporated skim milk (from a can) or equal amount cream
2 T. dry white wine
6 - 8 oz. vermicelli
Olive Oil
Kosher Salt
Freshly ground black pepper

Preheat your oven to 300 degrees. Toss the tomatoes and garlic in a little olive oil and put them into a small baking dish. I like to use stoneware for this.
Cherry tomtaoes and garlic for roasting

While the veggies are roasting, place the shrimp in a single layer on a layer or two of paper towels to dry them in preparation for searing. They need to be fairly dry. 

Fill a large pot with water and bring it to a boil for the pasta.

While the water is heating, preheat a non-stick skillet until it is hot. Add a few drops of olive oil and sear the shrimp off a few at a time, making sure not to crowd them or over cook them. Sprinkle them lightly with kosher salt while they are searing. Cook them 2 - 3 minutes on each side. Remove them to a bowl to add back into the sauce later.
They should be just pink and slightly crispy on the edges as shown above.

In the same pan, add the pesto sauce, the evaporated milk and the white wine. Stir over low heat to combine. Don't let the sauce boil, just simmer gently until warmed through.

Cover it and keep warm until the pasta is cooked to al dente'.   Drain the pasta well, and add it back into the hot pot you cooked it in. Add the tomatoes and garlic and the sauce you made. Toss to combine. Add the shrimp and cover the mixture. Heat on low a few minutes and serve with grated Parmesan.


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