My husband’s favorite meals are hands down pasta dishes that I put together for him. I read about a roasted pepper “raw” sauce on The Italian Dish (I love that blog, btw) and it inspired me to create my own version since I had a refrigerator full of red and yellow peppers from the farm. I decided to top mine with shrimp because, well, just because!
The peppers from the farm were looking a bit beat up – some ugly bruises and discolored skin. Roasting is perfect in this case as it will remove any of those blemishes along with the charred skin. Cut them into flat pieces and grill or broil until blackened, then let cool in a covered bowl or bag until you can handle them.
While they are roasting, chop up a couple of tomatoes (rough chop is fine – you’re going to use the food processor)…
…and heat some garlic in some extra virgin olive oil just to take that really raw bite out of it. Set that aside.
I bought these Gulf Coast pink shrimp because they are as local as we can get in Colorado, and are a better option than shrimp that are flown in from Thailand. Unfortunately, however, they don’t come already peeled and deveined… so I did that while the peppers cooled. Not my favorite job, especially the deveining part!
When you peel off the charred skin from the peppers, don’t worry about a few bits clinging as it will just add some flavor to the sauce. And whatever you do, don’t rinse them under water as you’ll rinse away all the juice and flavor.
The peppers, tomatoes, garlic and olive oil all go into the food processor – use a few short pulses to get a rough chop like this. You could puree this all the way, but I think the texture is more interesting this way.
Heat some pesto in a nonstick skillet and add the shrimp – season liberally with salt, pepper and some red pepper flake (which I like to grind into food), and cook about 2 minutes per side.
The shrimp will curl up and become firm, but be careful not to overcook them to the rubbery stage.
Toss cooked pasta with the pepper sauce – I like a long pasta with this sauce so used whole wheat spaghetti (but please don’t tell my husband it was whole wheat because he thinks he hates that). Top with pesto shrimp, some toasted pine nuts, and shaved or grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese. Mmmmmm!
Spaghetti with Roasted Peppers and Pesto Shrimp Serves 4
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil 4 cloves garlic, sliced 4 sweet peppers, red or yellow, roasted and peeled 2 small tomatoes, chopped salt and pepper, to taste 2 tablespoons pesto sauce 1 pound shrimp, peeled and deveined 8 ounces spaghetti, cooked and drained 1/4 cup pine nuts, toasted Parmesan cheese, grated, to taste
Heat olive oil in a small skillet and add sliced garlic; cook just until fragrant, about 1 minute. Transfer to a food processor and add peppers and tomatoes; pulse several times until roughly chopped, but not pureed. Salt and pepper to taste and set aside. Heat pesto in a large skillet and add shrimp; cook until just barely cooked through, about 2 minutes per side. Remove from heat. Toss cooked spaghetti with pepper sauce and divide between four plates. Top each with several cooked shrimp, then sprinkle with pine nuts and Parmesan cheese to taste.
Hey Michele this is a great recipe, I love pesto for its bright and earthy flavors — this would go great with shrimp. I think my fiance has finally gotten over his "shellfish allergy" (I don't think it ever existed haha) so I will have to try this in the near future.
There's nothing better than pesto covered anything…especially shrimps. I love to make my own pesto, slicing and dicing and changing a few ingredients- almonds instead of pine nuts, a mix of parsley and basil, sometime a bit of chilli….yum. Will have to try this sauce soon