Monday, August 9, 2010

Shrimp and Summer Vegetables with Pistachio Pesto

I actually created this blog months ago and then life got busy (all good things) and I put it on the back burner for a bit. But I am back and ready to start blogging about the good food coming out of my small apartment kitchen.

This past Saturday I ventured to the farmers market in Lincoln Park. I went without a plan (which was a bit challenging as I love a well organized list) and ended up finding the majority of the ingredients for what turned out to be a great summer dish. It started with a bunch of fresh basil and after a few laps around the farmers market, Shrimp and Summer Vegetables with Pistachio Pesto was born!

For a fun side dish we made Bruschetta with Fresh Ricotta, Honey and Pistachios. This dish is my successful recreation of an appetizer at Frasca, a local pizza restaurant in Lakeview. It was wonderful but I don't think I can brag too much as there are only 4 ingredients!

Shrimp and Summer Vegetables with Pistachio Pesto
**Pistachio Pesto recipe adapted from Cooking Light

Prep Time: 30 minutes- Although I am not going to lie, it took Brady and I close to an hour due to some technical difficulties with the Cuisinart.

Serves: 4

For the pesto:
2 cups fresh basil leaves
4 Tbsp, shelled, roasted pistachios (you could also substitute pine nuts)
1/2 tsp salt
2 garlic cloves, coarsely chopped
1/4 cup of fresh Parmesan cheese

For the pasta:
8 oz penne or fusilli pasta (I used fresh homemade pasta from the farmers market and while fantastic I am sure the dish would be just as good with dried pasta)
1 pound fresh medium size shrimp, deveined and shells removed
1 clove garlic, minced
1 yellow heirloom tomato, halved and then sliced
1 red heirloom tomato, halved and then sliced
1 small yellow squash, halved lengthwise and then sliced

Start by boiling water in a large pot. Combine basil, pistachios, salt, and garlic in a food processor. Process until smooth. Transfer basil mixture to a small bowl and set aside.

Slice tomatoes and squash and wash and devein the shrimp. Add pasta to boiling water. While pasta is cooking heat a medium size skillet with 1/2 T. olive oil and saute minced garlic. Once garlic is browned add sliced tomatoes and squash and saute. Add shrimp to the skillet and cook till done- about 4 minutes.

Remove 1/4 cup of pasta water and add to the basil mixture as well as 1/4 cup parmesan cheese. Stir to combine. Drain pasta water and add the vegetable/shrimp mixture to the pasta, toss pasta with pesto sauce. Serve with freshly grated parmesan.

Bruschetta with Fresh Ricotta, Honey and Pistachios

Fresh baguette
1 cup fresh ricotta (Don't use the ricotta that you would buy in the dairy section next to the sour cream. Try and find the fresh stuff, it made a huge difference. I found mine in a small container in the deli section.)
1/4 cup chopped pistachios

Preheat oven to broil. Slice the baguette and place on cooking sheet. Broil for 5 minutes on each side. Monitor the bread as you don't want it to burn, just get nice and toasty.

Spoon about a 1/2 Tablespoon of ricotta onto each piece of bread. Sprinkle each piece of bread with chopped pistachios and then drizzle with honey.

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