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Author Notes: I really like frozen peas, they're just darn good. I also like shrimp. Oh, and light, fruity white balsamic. I decided to throw the three together and see what happens. The peas here are blended with walnuts, romano, and a little bit of half and half into a velvety pesto/cream sauce that clings to orecchiette or another flat pasta quite well. I hope y'all like it! —Tyler Varisco
For the sauce
- 2.5 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 2 cloves garlic-sliced thinly
- 8-12 walnut halves, chopped lightly
- 1/4-1/2 cups white wine (I used chardonnay, and I just poured until I was happy)
- 1/2 cup half and half
- 1 cup frozen peas
- A scant 1/4 cups finely grated pecorino romano or parmesan
- 10-12 fresh basil leaves, chopped roughly
- A handful Arugula
- A light splash Good white balsamic for serving
- To taste Salt and Pepper
- 1/2 package orecchiette or other small, flat pasta
- Prepare the pasta al dente according to package instructions.
- Melt the better in the bottom of a 1-2 qt sauce pan over medium heat. When it is melted, add the garlic and walnuts, toast until fragrant and the garlic is golden but not browned.
- Add the wine. When it starts to bubble, begin to whisk in the half and half and the cheese. When the cheese is incorporated and things are starting to look smooth, add in 1/2 cup of the frozen peas and the basil. When the peas are defrosted, remove the pan from the heat.
- Blend everything until smooth with an immersion blender then add in the remainder of the peas. Return the pan to low heat and allow the peas to defrost.
For the Shrimp
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1/2 pound fresh, medium (31-40 count) shrimp peeled and deveined
- Crushed red pepper to taste (optional)
- 1 clove garlic, peeled and crushed
- Preheat the broiler to low. Add olive oil to the bottom of a heavy, oven proof skillet over medium-high heat. Add the crushed red pepper and the clove of garlic. Stir lightly until fragrant and add the shrimp in one, even layer at the bottom of the skillet.
- When the shrimp are turning opaque, either finish them off in the pan or place them under the broiler until pink and remove.
- Plating: Add a layer of pasta to the bottom of a bowl. Add 10 or so leaves of arugula on top. Dress lightly with white balsamic. Spoon the sauce on top, adding 5 shrimp per serving. Sprinkle lightly with more pecorino or finely grated parmesan. The cheese should disappear into the sauce.
- This recipe was entered in the contest for The Recipe You're Most Proud Of