15 May 2011
Bridging the Seasons - Pasta Shells with Pesto and Shrimp
It’s mid-May, late spring and the last day for Starbucks Frappuccino Happy Hour. Friday was the only day of these past ten when the temperature tempted me to take advantage of this special deal and indulge in one of those frosty blended beverages. As pretty as they looked on the menu board and as tasty as the flavors sounded I just couldn’t get excited about sipping a tropics-inspired coconut topped frozen beverage while I was wearing a jacket to stay warm.
Still I am craving a taste of spring. Out my window I see the season unfurling in spite of the persistent clouds and relatively cool temperatures. A day or two of bright sunshine with the thermometer pushing seventy and my azaleas have burst into bloom, my chives and columbine have sprung into bud, and soft tufts of light green needles sprout from the tips of my evergreen branches.
Here’s a pretty salad that bridges the seasons nicely. This is another simple dish from one of my favorite cookbooks, "Table for Two" by Marianne Paquin. It can be served warm or cold, depending on your need and preference. It uses ingredients I often keep on hand in the freezer: small shrimp and Pesto. Of course these ingredients can also be picked up last minute at the market, making this a particularly easy recipe to pull together when the sun peaks out to inspire me. The only cooking required is to boil the large pasta shells. Then stir together the shrimp and pesto, drizzle with olive oil and garnish with chopped black olives to add a touch of interest and rich flavor. Beautiful!
Pasta Shells with Pesto and Shrimp
adapted from "Table for Two: French Recipes for Romantic Dining" by Marianne Paquin
Serves 2. Easily doubled or tripled.
4 large pasta shells, cooked and drained
6 ounces small shrimp, cooked, shelled and well-drained
2 Tablespoons pesto
2 Tablespoons olive oil
4-6 pitted black olives, chopped
Stir together the shrimp and pesto sauce. (If using frozen shrimp be sure they are thawed and well drained.)
Fill the pasta shells with the shrimp mixture.
Arrange the filled shells on two serving plates. Drizzle the olive oil on top and sprinkle with the chopped olives.
Serve and enjoy!