This dish was one of the first dishes that I made after arriving into the US, so it holds somewhat of a special place.
When we first moved in, our kitchen was barren except for the essential appliances. I never realised how many things were required just to stock the basics, not to mention figuring out where to get them. We just happened to have arrived during a cold spell, and all that I wanted was hot water, but we had neither pots/pans nor a kettle. It took three days before we settled on a set of pots/pans, which we used to boil water, until the desired kettle arrived two weeks later. Then came the challenge of finding tableware and cutlery. Can you believe it took us over seven big name stores before we found some simple, plain, yet elegant-looking, tableware??! Everything was either oddly shaped, coloured, patterned, unsubstantial, or too expensive. And the cutlery. What happened to silverware, cutlery that actually felt like metal rather than plastic??! I'm still hunting, even now, for coffee spoons because all the ones I've found thus far can bend, or break, with the slightest of pressure.
One of the pleasures of shopping, though, was finding the new variety of food available to us. Inexpensive fresh shrimp was something that we hadn't seen for many years, and we found them peeled and de-veined for a very good price. Food, especially meat and seafood, that required minimal preparation was key at that time as my knives and other utensils had yet to arrive from abroad. My first dishes with the shrimp were very very simple. Once my kitchen supplies arrived, though, I started to explore old dishes that I'd cooked in France, and this was a spin-off from one of them. The prawns are lightly sautéed with garlic before they are tossed with the cooked pasta and a pesto-like sauce. It's simple, all fresh-made, and the combined smell of seafood, pasta, and cheese can make anyone hungry.
Shrimp Pesto Pasta (Serves 2)
A mortar and pestle can help bring out the flavours of the sauce better, but it is not necessary. The sauce can simply be prepared in a bowl beforehand.
- 2 sun-dried tomato halves, diced
- 10g (2 tbsp) ground nut (the standard is pine nuts, but it works with almonds and pistachios, as well)
- 1g (2 tsp) dried basil
- 1g (2 tsp) dried parsley
- 0.5g (1/2 tsp) dried garlic (or 1 clove, finely minced)
- 10g (1/2 tbsp) maple syrup
- 10g (1/2 tbsp) olive oil
- 60g (3/4 cup) grated parmesan cheese
- shrimp (I used 454g, or 1 lb)
- 2 cloves garlic, chopped
- pasta (I used 170g, uncooked)
- Boil water, add salt, and cook pasta until desired done-ness. Drain pasta and reserve liquid.
- Combine pesto sauce ingredients and set aside.
- In another pot/pan, heat oil with garlic, then add shrimp. When the shrimp have turned colour but are still translucent, add the drained pasta. Continue cooking until the shrimp are done. Pasta stock can be added if too dry.
- Add the pesto sauce ingredients. If the pasta is still a bit soupy, continue cooking until most of the liquid has evaporated. If it is too dry, the pasta stock can be added until the desired consistency.