Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Clever Leftovers: Lemon Pesto Pasta with Shrimp

I am so clever that sometimes I don't understand a single word of what I am saying. – Oscar Wilde

Good stuff. Lemony, creamy, herby.

I’m getting a little more clever in the kitchen. Thank goodness it’s happening somewhere in my life! I’m slowly learning how to use leftovers in interesting ways.

If you’re a regular reader you saw my post a few days ago for Italian parsley pesto. I made it to get rid of a lot of parsley I had. In essence, to get rid of a leftover.

There’s something about pesto made at home. It can make a lot. In fact, in getting rid of too much of one thing (the parsley) you can magically generate too much of another thing (the pesto), especially if you don’t have an Italian family of six or eight to feed.

I’m not a family of six(or even four), at least not the last time I checked, So I was left with about 3/4 to 1 cup of excellent parsley pesto. In the fridge it went.

The secret to life? Make interesting leftovers. Well, maybe it's not THE secret to life, but it's A secret to life.

There’s quite a few things you can do with leftover pesto that doesn’t involve it touching pasta. 

For example did you know you can use it as a sandwich spread? Not just for with meats, but it makes an interesting addition to an egg salad sandwich too.

Pesto also can be used as a substitute for pizza sauce, or as a sauce for grilled meat. For interesting homemade bread, try throwing 1/2 cup into your favourite recipe after proofing the yeast. It's also good on top of bread for bruschetta. It's quite a useful sauce, actually.

So what do I do? None of the above – at least not yet. I do have more leftover after this recipe so I haven't missed the boat.

I’m starting to get a little smarter at the grocery store too. I’m buying larger quantities of items for less money. For example, until this last weekend I had a very large bowl of lemons. I was planning ahead.

I used one lonely lemon in this sauce. Many of the remainder went into something else far more interesting. Preserved lemons. You'll have to come back in a few days to see how simple that is.

I also purchased several one-pound (454 g) bags of shrimp recently when they went on sale at a local grocery. So one of those went in too.

The pesto isn’t the star of the show like it is when you toss directly with pasta. But it adds all the delicious flavours, just not quite so intensely.

That's not to say this isn't an exceptional sauce. It is. The result is herby-lemony, and just barely tinged green.

Grate some parmesan on top, serve with some crusty bread and you’ll have a meal for four that will leave them asking for more...

Lemon Pesto Pasta with Shrimp
Prep: 5 min  |  Cook:  12 min  |  Serves 4
1 lb shrimp, peeled
1 tbsp olive oil
1 small onion, diced
2 garlic cloves, chopped
1/2 tsp chilli flakes
1 cup whipping cream (32%)
1-2 tbsp parsley pesto (I used 1 heaping)
juice of 1 lemon
rind of 1 lemon
1/2 cup parmesan cheese, plus more for at the table
1/2 tsp pepper
1/2 tsp salt
linguini for 4 people

Heat a pot of salted water to a boil and cook the pasta according to package directions.

Meanwhile, heat the olive oil in a sauté pan. Cook the onion, garlic and chilli flakes on medium heat for about 2 minutes.

Add the whipping cream, parsley, half the lemon juice and the grated lemon rind. Let cook until thickened slightly. Stir in the parmesan.

Note: when reducing the cream, remember that a little liquid will come from the shrimp and thin the sauce slightly. Especially if previously frozen. It's far better to add a little cream to thin the sauce than to cook the shrimp too long to thicken the sauce.

Add the shrimp and let cook until just no longer pink, about 4 minutes. Do not overcook.

Season with salt and pepper to taste and squirt the remaining lemon juice on top. Serve with more parmesan at the table, and warm crusty bread.


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