Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Grilled Shrimp with Pesto Pasta

My last post was long. Very long. But there was a lot to tell -- sorry if you tuned out.  If I l lost some of you on that you, you'll be glad to see this one is blessedly short. And it's about basil, everyone's favorite summer herb, and shrimp too.

 If you're growing basil, you've probably already had to cut it back at least once or twice and have made pesto a few times too. Here's another way to enjoy that pesto. It's not rocket science, but maybe you've never thought of putting the combo together. Just grill a few shrimp and you've transformed that ubiquitous pasta sauce into something a little special.

Don't forget to put some of that pesto away in the freezer for the cold winter months ahead. You don't have to use it only as a sauce for pasta (although that will be a nice reminder of summer when the January snows fall.) A tablespoon or two makes a wonderful addition to soups and stews too.

Grilled Shrimp with Pesto Pasta.

For two servings:

10 large shrimp (or however many you like)

4 T. olive oil

2 cloves garlic, minced

springs of fresh thyme

salt, pepper

1 large plum tomato, peeled and deseeded and cut into strips (optional)

1/2 pound pasta (I used trofie, a classic shape for pesto)

about 1/2 cup of freshly made pesto alla genovese - directions below.

Grilled Shrimp

Buy large uncooked shrimp. Peel off the shells and devein the shrimp. Put the shrimp in a bowl with the olive oil, garlic, some salt, pepper and fresh herbs. I used thyme, but oregano would work too. If you want the shrimp to have a little kick, add some dried red pepper flakes. Let it sit for at least 1/2 hour to marinate.

Get the grill good and hot and rub the grates with a paper towel that's been coated with vegetable oil. This will help the shrimp not to stick to the grates.

Grill the shrimp for a couple of minutes on each side and add to the pasta that's been already mixed with the pesto.

For each portion, I also added strips of one large plum tomato that I had peeled and deseeded. (To peel easily, drop the tomato into a pot of boiling water for a couple of minutes.)

Pesto Recipe - Get the full instructions with photos here

Pesto Alla Genovese

The amounts aren't exact. A lot depends on how firmly you pack the basil into the measuring cup, how large the garlic cloves are, and of course, your taste buds.

4 cups basil, loosely packed
2 large cloves garlic
1/4 cup Italian pine nuts, toasted, or pistachios (salted or unsalted), or toasted almonds or walnuts
extra virgin olive oil - as much as two cups, as needed to obtain a loose pesto.
1/4 cup - 1/2 cup parmesan cheese (or pecorino if desired)

If using a food processor: Tear leaves from stem, wash, dry and place in a food processor, along with the garlic, nuts and a small amount of the olive oil. Start with 1/2 cup and keep adding more until it flows smoothly when you dip a spoon into it, but not so thin that it falls off in a stream. Use your judgment.
Add parmesan cheese if serving immediately. If you're planning to freeze it, don't add the parmesan cheese until after you defrost it and are ready to serve.

If using a mortar and pestle, start with the washed and dried basil leaves, garlic and nuts and add a small amount of coarse salt to help break down the leaves. Pound with the pestle and slowly add a little bit of olive oil. Keep working the mixture with the pestle and add the rest of the oil as needed. The process takes a lot of patience and time.

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  1. Un piatto fresco, delizioso e saporito! Adoro i gamberetti <3 Complimenti stella, un abbraccio con affetto! <3

  2. A fantastic dish! Really droolworthy.



  3. Your last post was worth the time! And it was mostly photos anyway...

    I like the idea of combining shrimp and pesto—nice complement of flavors!

  4. I miss my gardens and all the pesto stored in the freezer for the winter. I have few pots on the patio here at the condo so can still enjoy the fresh taste at a seconds notice.

  5. I made pesto too last night, and added in some mint. I love summer pastas.

  6. I LOVED your last post! Bring em on, I just pour myself a cup of coffee and enjoy, like I'm doing now reading this. I'm going to miss my fresh basil, I haven't made pesto yet, I better get in gear!

  7. Beautiful! Pesto sure does say summertime, don't you think? Even though I too freeze some for use during the winter months, the first time I make it in late spring or early summer, as I smell teh basil and garlic, it is just such an utter delight!

  8. Ahhh..I can still find fresh shrimp here easily, so I am still able to enjoy a wonderful dish such as this, Linda. I was also ecstatic to find sources for both veal and broccoli rabe recently .. lol! I never realized how much I took for granted when I lived in NY. I managed to grow a few pots of basil so I'll be whipping up some pesto soon.

  9. This is one of my favorite combinations, Linda. I sometimes poach the shrimp (and often use mint in place basil) but I love the idea of the smokiness of the grilled shrimp. (And by the way, I use your blanching trick for the pesto all the time!)

  10. My mouth is watering with the thought of this delicious combination! I loved your last post - the photography...ahhh... gorgeous!

  11. I keep telling myself I need to make some pesto before my basil goes bye-bye! This recipe sounds like the perfect shove in that direction :)

  12. Lovely pasta dish...reminds me of something I had while visiting the Cinque Terre region.

  13. looks delicious! makes me really really wish I didn't have a shrimp allergy. I'll just have to make a shrimpless version :)