Basil Pesto Shrimp


Several weeks ago, my neighbor’s daughter brought us a large bag of basil from their garden. Naturally, I was excited. Unless you are growing your own basil, it can get expensive buying that much basil. What to make? There was no way I was going to make that much pasta sauce. Pesto! For those of us that are allergic to dairy, store bought pesto always has cheese it in. The pesto that I made for this dish is great and it’s quite flexible if you need to make changes. If you don’t have, don’t like, or allergic to pine nuts then use walnuts. If you don’t have any nuts or you’re allergic to all nuts, then double the amount of the diary free Parmesan cheese substitute. If you can have dairy, just use your favorite Parmesan or Parmesan/Reggiano cheese. Serve with a light salad and some garlic bread and you’re set! Also, the shrimp marinated in this pasta is great by itself and would be an awesome appetizer.
pesto divided
2 lbs peeled and deveined shrimp
1 lb box of thin spaghetti
·      Mix 2 tbsp of pesto with the peeled and deveined shrimp.
·      Let sit for 5 minutes.
·      Heat a stovetop grill pan or a skillet on medium high heat.
·      Let the pan get really hot.
·      Brush the pan with some olive oil.
·      Place the shrimp in a single layer on the pan (if you’re pan isn’t large enough, then do the shrimp in batches).
·      Start your pasta water. Add 1 tbsp of olive oil and make sure it’s well salted.
·      After about 2-3 minutes or after the bottoms are caramelized, turn the shrimp over.
·      Remove the shrimp to a bowl or plate.
·      Once you’re water is boiling add your pasta.
·      Cook pasta for 1 minute less than the suggested time. 5 minutes for the thin spaghetti.
·      Transfer the pasta to a large bowl. (save about ¼ cup pasta water).
·      Toss the pasta with the pesto.
·      Add the shrimp.
4 cups (3oz.) fresh basil, loosely put in cup. (don’t pack it down)
3 cloves of garlic
¼ cup pine nuts, toasted
2 tbsp Go Veggie grated Parmesan style topping*
zest and juice of 1 lemon
⅓ cup extra virgin olive oil
1 ½ tsp salt
¼ tsp black pepper, freshly ground
⅛ tsp crushed red pepper (more if you want it spicier)
·      Rinse the basil and place in the food processor.
·      Add all the ingredients in the food processor EXCEPT the olive oil.
·      Pulse the food processor until the ingredients are smooth.
·      Very slowly pour the olive oil down the chute of the food processor lid until incorporated and smooth. Set aside.
~If you have leftovers, pour the reserved pasta water into the food processor to collect the residual pesto. Save and use when you reheat the pasta in a skillet.
* There are 2 kinds of Go Veggie Parmesan style topping. One is casein free and the other has casein in it. Here is a picture of the casein free one: