Grilled Shrimp + Basil Pesto

Recipe provided by Chef Crusco Catering in Austin, Texas Ingredients:
  • 2 large bunches – fresh basil (plus 6 leaves for garnish)
  • 2 tbsps. Pine nuts (or almonds) – toasted
  • 1 Garlic clove – peeled
  • 1/2 cup EVOO
  • 1/4 cup Pecorino Romano – grated
  • 10-12 oz. Fettuccine, Bucatini, or Spaghetti – your choice
  • Kosher Salt & freshly ground Black Pepper
  • 12 U15 Shrimp – peeled and deveined
  • 10 Mixed Cherry Tomatoes – cut in half lengthwise
  • 2 oz. Ricotta Salata – grated
  1. Combine the basil, pine nuts, garlic, and olive oil in a blender and blend to a puree. Add the cheese, salt and pepper, and blend again. Set aside to use for pasta. (Can also be used as a vinaigrette or sauce for grilled dishes).
  2. Place 5 leaves together like a deck of cards. Roll up tightly like a cigarette. Cut thin 1/8 inch ribbon slices known as a chiffonade cut. Set aside for garnish.
  3. Meanwhile, cook pasta in a large pot of boiling salted water until just tender but still firm to the bite. Drain pasta and transfer to a large bowl (reserving 1/2 cup of pasta cooking water).
  4. Season shrimp with salt/pepper. Add 1 tbsp. evoo to large saute pan on med-high heat and cook no more than 1-2 minutes per side or until golden in color. Set aside.
  5. Add the pesto to the pasta and toss. If dry, add some pasta water to loosen up (1 tbsp. at a time). Taste for salt and pepper, and add a drizzle of oil, if you like.
  6. To serve, add pasta to the plate. Dress with Cherry Tomatoes, Basil chiffonade and Ricotta Salata. Enjoy!