This dish is dedicated to my SO ('Significant Other'), who had entered my life quite some time ago and broke my 'lone Ranger' image, I had worked on for quite some time and got comfortable with (perhaps too much so...).
When I met my SO (she prefer's to stay anonymous), I was a film student in Sydney, Australia who's most valuable possession was my 'Olympus' SLR camera (real film, old school camera that is). Safe to say I was a student and broke, and when I asked her out, I knew I couldn't afford to take her to a fancy restaurant, let alone any restaurant at that time.
So I decided to cook for us a 'Restaurant' style shrimp pasta, and chose the perfect location, overlooking Sydney's famous Harbor bridge. I think it was delicious, and how do I know that?... Well... she's still with me to this day, shattering any reminiscence of my not so glorious days as the Lone Ranger.
This recipe is very similar to the one I made many years ago, but for one small change... the Pesto. Not too long ago, I tried this 'No - Nut' pesto recipe by the famous Italian chef, 'Massimo Bottura, and I just loved it. It's light, full of flavor and just goes so well with pastas, salads or sandwiches. And the best part, it is so much more affordable to make since we're not using Nuts, that are usually very expensive, but rather use 'Italian Breadcrumbs' made from old bread loafs, you typically have hanging around in your kitchen.
So Let's do this...
Portion: for 2 people
For the Pesto
½ cup 120 (118g) Basil Leaves
¼ cup (60g) Mint leaves
¼ cup (60g) Arugula
3 Tbsp (20g) Parmesan cheese grated
1½ Tbsp Pecornio cheese grated
Place cheese in freezer about 30 min before grating. It will make the grating action a breeze.
1 garlic clove, chopped
4 Tbsp Italian Breadcrumbs
1 Tsp kosher salt
½ Tsp Sugar
3-4 Ice cubes
¼ Cup filtered Water
2 Tbsp Olive oil
For the Pasta
7oz. (200g) Spaghetti
4 q (16 cups) water
Salt to taste
For the Shrimp
4 oz (400g) peeled and deveined shrimp
3 Garlic cloves, finely chopped
½ Tsp Chili flakes
1½ Tbsp Extra virgin olive oil
Salt to taste
In a blender or food processor, combine all ingredients except for breadcrumbs, salt and sugar and pulse to a fine chop.
Then add the cheese, salt, sugar and and more water / olive oil if needed and pulse to incorporate.
Taste and adjust seasoning to taste.
Bring a large pot with 4 q water to a boil
Add Salt to taste (roughly ¼ cup)
Mix well for salt to dissolve
Add the past and cook for 7minutes for al Dente stirring occasionally
Then, Try the past for doneness
Reserve about 1 cup of the pasta water in the case you’ll need to thin out the sauce later.
While the pasta is cooking, heat 1 Tbsp Extra virgin Olive oil in a large frying pan over medium high heat.
Add the garlic and sauté for 1-2 min till translucent
Reduce the heat and add the chili flakes, mixing with the shrimp to incorporate.
Add the 2 Tbsp of the pesto and 1 Tbsp of the pasta water and toss to incorporate.
Season with salt to taste and turn off heat until past is ready
Drain the pasta and add to the Shrimp
Turn on the heat to medium-high and toss to incorporate. We want the pasta to immerse in the sauce, tossing it until the sauce is thick and glossy.
Spoon over sliced cherry tomatoes and toss
Then remove from heat and divide among plates and serve, topping each plate with Anchovy bread crumbs.
For the anchovy bread crumbs....
To a small hot pan over medium heat add 1 Tbsp Olive oil and 1 Tsp butter
Once butter has melted and incorporated with the oil, add 2 anchovy filets
Dissolve anchovy into the oil using a flat spatula, and once fully dissolve add bread 1 bup bread crumbs
Remove from heat and toss bread crumbs in oil, then set aside for 5 minutes for breadcrumbs to fully absorb the anchovy oil.
Season with seas salt to taste and use immediately or store in a jar upto 1 week .
Link to Video Recipe