Pea Pesto Linguine with Shrimp

I have arrived in Montana for the summer and couldn’t be happier.  There is nothing more enjoyable than cooking a great summer dinner and eating with friends on my back porch in Missoula.  I lived in this house in high school and because my mom is moving to Seattle at the end of the summer, I am cooking and eating as much as possible during my last weeks here.  That being said, I started off July with a pea pesto pasta and topped it with succulent garlic shrimp.

This is a great recipe for summer because you can use fresh peas and it is very light.  However, frozen peas can be substituted during those dreadful winter months.  The pesto is so light that it is perfect for a summer night.  The recipe is so simple and comes together so quickly.  The peas offer a sweetness to the pasta and it surprisingly creamy.

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups (from approximately 1 1/2 pounds peas in pods) fresh pea or a 10-ounce package frozen peas, defrosted
  • 1 small garlic clove, minced
  • 2 tablespoons pine nuts, toasted and cooled
  • 1/2 cup finely grated parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 teaspoon table salt, plus more for pasta water
  • 1/3 cup olive 12 ounces dried linguine
  • Thinly slivered basil or mint leaves for garnish

Bring a small saucepan of lightly salted water to a boil.  Add the fresh peas and cook for two minutes.  Then drain the peas and add them to an ice bath (ice cubes and water in a bowl), then drain again.  Make sure your peas are not still hot when you puree them.

Set aside 1/2 cup of the peas to toss in later.  Put the rest of the peas in a food processor or a blender (if you have a good one like my mother).  Add the garlic, toasted pine nuts and 1/3 cup of parmesan and salt and puree until smooth.  Drizzle in olive oil and whirl around once more.


Meanwhile, cook roughly 16 peeled and deveined shrimp in a saute pan on medium heat in two Tablespoons of butter and two cloves of minced garlic.  The shrimp is cooked once it starts to turn pink and is no longer translucent.

Bring a large pot of water to boil and cook linguine until it is al dente, which means that it is cooked with a bite to it.  Drain the pasta and reserve two cups of pasta water to thin out the pesto.  Put the pasta back in the pot and toss in the pesto and thin out with the hot pasta water until it reaches your preferred consistency.  Add in the reserved peas.  Sprinkle with salt, pepper, herbs and parmesan and then serve immediately with the shrimp.

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