Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Basil Drenched Pasta with Shrimp, Peas and Tomatoes

This is a crowd-pleasing dish I love to serve during the summer months. It's one of the more popular recipes from my cookbook, This Book Cooks. It’s a rather simple main dish entrĂ©e, the basil dressing, pasta, shrimp and peas can be prepped in advance. Toss the dish with the dressing just before serving.  Serve with slices of good quality bread like one of favorites, ciabatta. The choice of pasta is a matter of preference, short pasta like the one in the picture works well as does fusilli.   

Tidbits for perfection: Over the years I have found that most pre-cooked, peeled shrimp have become almost devoid of any flavor, I prefer to use 26-30 count raw shrimp that I cook, peel and devein. To thaw frozen peas, set peas in a bowl and cover with warm water. When peas begin to break apart and/or thaw, drain water and cover again with warm water. The peas should be ready after the second soaking/thawing, if not, repeat process. Cover and refrigerate until tossing time.

Basil Dressing

3 cups fresh basil leaves
½ cup olive oil
¼ cup seasoned rice vinegar
½ teaspoon salt
Fresh ground black pepper to taste

Drop basil leaves into the bowl of a food processor; add olive oil, seasoned rice vinegar, salt and fresh ground black pepper, and process until incorporated.


½ pound pasta, cooked according to package directions and cooled

Shrimp, Peas and Tomatoes

2 pounds large shrimp, steamed, peeled and deveined
2 cups frozen peas, thawed
2 large ripe tomatoes, cut into bite size pieces

In a large bowl, combine pasta with shrimp, peas and tomatoes. Toss with basil dressing. Yield: 6 servings.