Thursday, June 24, 2010

Pasta with Shrimp and Cilantro-Lime Pesto

I'm on a pasta kick. Good for my tastebuds, bad for my physique. Also, bad for the butcher because I haven't seen a need to eat meat for dinner all week. We're talking about ME here... this must be some kind of record. Anyway, the pasta...

First, I'd like to give myself props for actually using my foodie magazine this month and also for not abandoning it when I realized I had no jalepenos last night. I grabbed the car keys and dashed to Reasors. I felt so freakin cool. And, it was worth it. Having never had any pesto other than basil pesto, I was hesitant but quite relieved to find this meal refreshing and completely repeatable. Plus, it introduced me to COTIJA cheese, a mexican hard cheese that crumbles beautifully much like Feta, though more mild in flavor. I'm already looking for another recipe in which to use it.

Pasta With Shrimp And Clilantro-Lime Pesto
Bon Apetit, July 2010 (Adapted from Tejas Texas Grill and Saloon)

Serves 4

1 1/4 cups (packed) fresh cliantro leaves plus 1/4 chopped
1/4 cup (scant) chopped green onions ---I did the full 1/4 because, why bother?
3 Tbsp fresh lime juice
2 garlic cloves, pressed
1 Tbsp chopped, seeded jalepeno ( do take care to seed it with a utensil, not your finger... especially if you wear contacts.)
1/2 cup plus 1 Tbsp olive oil
1 lb linguine
1 lb uncooked medium shrimp, peeled and deveined
3 Tbsps tequila ( Ole!)
1/4 cup crumbled Cotija cheese ( or good feta will work fine. Bad feta, will not.)

Blend 1 1/4 cups cilantro and next 4 ingredients in a food processor until a coarse puree forms. With machine running, gradually add 1/2 cup olive oil. Season generously with salt. It will taste too salty but this will be fine as it will flavor the rest of the dish well.

Do ahead- this can be done the day before. Just cover and chill.

Cook linguine in large pot of boiling watter until al dente. Drain.

Meanwhile, heat remaining Tbsp of olive oil in a heavy, large skillet over medium-high heat. Add shrimp and cook until almost opaque (about  minutes.) Remove from heat and add tequila. Return to heat and cook an additional 30 sec- 1 minute until liquids are syrupy.

Add pesto, stir to coat and remove from heat. Toss with drained pasta to coat and season with salt and pepper to taste ( I didn't add any seasonings other than the pesto!) Serve sprinkled with crumbled Cotija and chopped cilantro ( if you remembered it.)

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