Lemon Linguine with Basil Pesto Shrimp

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Lemon Linguine with Basil Pesto Shrimp


Ingredients:


1 pound large shrimp, peeled and deveined – with or without the tails


1 batch Basil Pesto (recipe follows)


1 pound linguine, cooked al dente


1/2 to 2/3 cup olive oil


1/4 to 1/2 cup fresh lemon juice (2-3 lemons)


1/2 cup Parmesan cheese


1 tablespoon fresh lemon zest


1 cup pasta cooking water


Salt and freshly ground black pepper


Directions:


1. Place shrimp in a non-metal bowl or zip lock bag and spoon in half of the pesto to coat. Mix well. Place shrimp in the fridge to marinate for about 30 minutes. Set aside the rest of the pesto for later. You can also put the shrimp on wooden skewers that have been thoroughly soaked in water.


2. Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil over medium heat in a large skillet or grill pan. Add the shrimp and sauté just until it turns pink, about 1-2 minutes per side. Remove from pan and cover to keep warm. It will continue to cook for a minute after you remove it from the heat.


3. In a large serving bowl, whisk the 1/4 cup of the lemon juice and olive oil until partially emulsified. Add the Parmesan and continue whisking until creamy. Toss in the lemon zest and season with salt and pepper. Adjust the oil-to-lemon ratio by adding more lemon juice, a little at a time, until it is to your taste.


4. Add hot pasta to the bowl and toss until well-coated. The heat from the pasta will melt the cheese and help it stick to the linguine. Add some cooking water if the pasta seems dry.


5. Apportion the linguine onto dinner plates and top each with 4-6 shrimp. Ladle some remaining pesto onto each plate as well.


Serves 4.


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Basil Pesto


Ingredients:


2 cups fresh basil leaves, finely chopped


4 medium sized garlic cloves, finely minced


2/3 cup freshly grated Parmesan Cheese


1/3 cup toasted pine nuts


1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil


Salt and red pepper flakes to taste


Directions:


Put basil and garlic in bowl of a food processor. Pulse a few times to combine. Add Parmesan and pine nuts and pulse a few more times. Scrape mixture into a bowl and whisk in olive oil. Add salt and red pepper flakes to taste. Stir.


The pesto will keep in the fridge for several days and can be also frozen.


Makes about 1 cup.


Still hungry? Come visit me at Sticky, Gooey, Creamy, Chewy, friend me on Facebook or follow me on Twitter!

For those of you who don't know, I teach monthly Italian cooking classes at Casa Italia, a great little Italian market in Sarasota. It's a pretty cool gig. I get to do what I love and also get to meet lots of very nice people in the process.

When making up my class menus, I always try to include as many fresh, seasonal and local ingredients as possible. Lemon Linguine with Basil Pesto Shrimp is a good example. It's a lovely, springtime pasta dish filled with fresh Gulf shrimp that highlights the bright, lively flavors of lemon and basil. Plus, it’s super simple to make. This dish was on the menu at my class last week and it was a resounding success. My students loved it!

The dish has two main components: pasta bathed in lemon and olive oil, and a zesty, garlicky basil pesto sauce. Each is really nice on its own, but put them together and WOW!  You can even make this recipe ahead and serve it chilled as a pasta salad.  It doesn’t get much better than that!

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