Monday, May 16, 2011

Shrimp Stuffed Shells With Pecan Pesto

Shrimp Stuffed Shells w/ Pecan Pesto

Take a look at our Sunday dinner!   This is a delicious touch of spring on a plate. 
I created the recipe for two, but you can double or triple it as needed. 

The pecan pesto is awesome with the feta cheese.  To me, pecans taste fresher than pine nuts.  Cheaper, too!

Want to make this?   You will need-

10 Jumbo pasta shells, cooked per box direction
10  Shrimp – Steamed in Old Bay and fresh herbs until pink

Steamed Shrimp

For the Steamed Shrimp:

2-3 sprigs Fresh Thyme
1 sprig fresh Oregano
½ tablespoon Old Bay

For the Pesto:

2 hands full of fresh Basil
1 hand full of fresh Mint
1/2 cup Pecan halves
1 or two grinds of freshly ground pepper
Course Sea Salt, to taste
4 tablespoons grated Parmesan Cheese
1  tablespoon Lemon Juice
Drizzle ¼ to ½ cup Olive Oil, more if needed

For Shrimp Stuffing:

6 of the Extra Large shrimp, peeled, deveined, steamed and chopped into six pieces each (reserve four whole cooked shrimp from topping)
1/2 cup minus two tablespoons chopped tomatoes (canned are fine)
½ teaspoon dried Oregano
3 tablespoons Philadelphia Brand Savory Garlic Cooking Cream
1/3 cup crumbled Reduced Fat Feta Cheese


Butter flavored Cooking Spray
Extra Feta for sprinkling on top of baked shells.

Cook pasta shells per package directions and steam shrimp.  Let shrimp cool in refrigerator.  I like to put the shrimp on ice to stop the cooking process.  You want to steam the shrimp just under done, as they will bake longer in the oven.

Shrimp on Ice

Note:  Reserve a ladle of the starchy cooking water from the pasta.

Eyeball the Basil and
Mint Measurements

Add all pesto ingredients to food processor except for the olive oil. 

Pulse until ground.  Turn on food processor to low and drizzle in olive oil until the pesto is well-blended. 

You can add extra olive oil as desired. 

Right before you pour the pesto on the shells, I like to take a ladle of the starchy cooking water from the pasta to thin it out.  This step is optional.

Combine all ingredients for shrimp stuffing in a mixing bowl.  Spoon equal amounts of the mixture into the cooked (cooled) shells.  Place shells in baking pan sprayed with butter flavored cooking spray.  Top with Pesto.  Cover with tin foil and bake at 375 degrees for 20 minutes.  Uncover and top with remaining feta cheese and bake for approximately five minutes.

Get creative with the plating.
Serving suggestion:   I like to top the plated shells with the leftover tomatoes (reserved 2 tablespoons), and two whole cooked shrimp.  You can pass extra pesto around at the table as desired.  I like the combination of the warm and cool pesto together. 

If you have never tried warm pesto, try it.  I think you will be surprised how good it is.

Note:  To warm up the whole cooked shrimp back up, just toss it into the microwave for about 15-20 seconds on high.
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