bits and pieces

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Garden Pesto Pasta with Lemon, Garlic, and Olive Oil Poached Shrimp

Red and green and shrimp all over! 

Easy week night dinners that taste good and look good. The holy grail of Wednesday nights, no? 

Foolishly I had thought my life might slow down a bit in summer but if anything it seems to be picking up steam. But that is a-ok. Some people like to be zen. I like to be (slightly manically) busy. However, when one is busy, as one tends to be, managing the 'other' life chores can be a bit of a, well, chore. Laundry, cooking, cleaning, blow drying your hair... all of that can fall by the way side. For me it's laundry. Always laundry. I'll wait until we're nearing a critical lack of underwear situation before I do 3 loads in 2 hours and fold and hang like a madwoman. I don't know, maybe some of you are more organized with your laundering than me. Maybe I have too many clothes (yes! shouts my boyfriend). But whatever. If not doing my laundry is going to keep me sane, then so be it. No shame. 

While I can blissfully avoid laundry and wear my hair in a messy bun for weeks on end, I do feel guilty if I eat out for, oh, every meal a week. It's expensive and while it might save you energy, it doesn't save you time. 

This meal takes 10 minutes to make. That's right ladies and gentlemen, it's a 10 minute meal!

 It stars fresh roma tomatoes, delicious Elton Prawns poached in olive oil, garlic, and lemon zest, fresh pasta and a bunch of herbs. Oh yeah and pesto out of a jar because pine nuts are expensive, and I'm not superwoman. One day I will make my own pesto, but that day is not today. 

And fresh pasta? Did I mention fresh pasta? Fresh pasta makes this instantly gourmet and is well worth it. It's not significantly more expensive, and you can really taste the difference. Not owning a pasta attachment for my kitchen aid mixer I buy my pasta about once a week at Pasta Prima. I buy about 150 g per person, which runs me about $3.60 for two people. While Pasta Prima is primarily a restaurant, they sell fresh pastas, sauces, as well as bruschetta and fresh Parmigiano and other delicious nibblies. Plus it tends to be staffed by adorable teenaged boys who I seem to make uncomfortable, ergo I go out of my way to be effusively friendly thus making them even more uncomfortable. 

Enough of tormenting adolescents, to the recipe! 

300 g of fresh linguine
10 large (U6/8) prawns, thawed, shelled, deveined.
pesto, at least 1/3 cup
3 roma tomatoes, diced
1/3 cup of fresh basil, minced
1 lemon, zested and juiced
2 cloves of garlic, minced, smushed, or grated
1 pinch of red chili flakes
1/4 - 1/3 cup of olive oil
Parmigiano-Reggiano to garnish/eat with your mouth
seasalt and fresh ground pepper

other things you will need:
a knife and a choppin' board for choppin' things
a pot of boiling salted water, throw in a bay leaf for good measure
a large flat bottomed pot or frying pan
paper towel

  1. In your frying pan, heat your olive oil, lemon zest, garlic and chili flakes over medium until they become fragrant. Don't let them sizzle or brown as this will turn them - and your delicious sauce - bitter. 
  2. Also - bring that pot of water to a boil. 
  3. Place your shrimp in the frying pan, ensuring at least 1/4 of the shrimp is covered by the olive oil. Leave them over medium heat, turning after 5 minutes. Depending on your stove cooking times may vary but ensure they're cooked all the way through. 
  4. After you've flipped your shrimp once, add your pasta to the boiling water. Fresh pasta cooks a lot quicker than 'normal' pasta so it will likely be ready after 3-5 minutes. I like mine al dente, so I check it at 3 minutes and normally give it 1 extra minute :). 
  5. Strain your pasta, reserving a third of a cup of the pasta water. Add the pasta water and pasta back to the pan. Throw in your pesto and stir them all together to combine. Cover and set aside. 
  6. Once your shrimp are dry, rest them on a towel or paper towel for a minute. 
  7. Portion out your pasta, and top with your tomatoes, basil, and a spritz of lemon juice. If you're feeling really creative, give them a drizzle of that olive oil too. Top with shrimp, and a pinch of salt and a generous helping of black pepper. 
  8. Admire the work of mere moments. Bless me and my future offspring. Enjoy. 

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