Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Conchiglie with Pesto and Grilled Shrimp

Conchiglie with Pesto and Grilled Shrimp

On a recent visit to the Culver City farmers market I picked up a bunch of fresh basil. As you probably know, fresh basil usually only lasts for a couple of days in the fridge before it gets all wilty and starts to turn brown, so I always try to use it as soon as I can. Usually we'll have it fresh with a tomato salad of some sort on the first day. On the second or third day we'll throw it in a pasta dish at the last minute. After that, it gets turned into pesto. On more than one occasion I wasn't quick enough to use it and it got dumped-and I hate wasting food.

Ridges in the conchiglie help the pesto stick

I used to only eat pesto in restaurants or once in a while I'd buy the store bought variety, that is, until I found out how easy it is to make and how superior homemade stuff is in freshness and flavor. Just basil, pine nuts, garlic, parmesan cheese, and olive oil, that's it. Load it all into a blender or food processor, a couple of pulses and you're done or go old school and use a mortar and pestle (pesto's namesake method by the way). If you don't plan on using it right away, float some olive oil on the surface before storing in the fridge to prevent oxidation and to retain the vibrant green color.

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