Tubetti with Shrimp and Sicilian Pesto

Circle B Kitchen

Recipe adapted from Faith Willinger, Adventures of an Italian Food Lover

The original recipe calls for 1 lb of pasta, but I think that stretches this pesto sauce just a little too far. I've reduced the pasta to 3/4 of a lb and it seems about right. You can, of course, increase the pesto sauce to fit 1 lb, but this really does make a lot of pasta. Also, I buy shrimp that has already been cleaned so it's a cinch to just slip off the shells. As you may notice, there is no olive oil in this pesto, and it really doesn't need it. But I like to finish the dish with a nice drizzle when serving. Grated cheese is optional.

1 pound large or medium shrimp, with shells

4-6 cherry tomatoes


2 Tbls. chopped almonds

2 Tbls. pine nuts

1 tsp. chopped fresh mint

2 Tbls. chopped fresh basil

1 garlic clove

¾ lb short pasta (like tubetti)

Peel and clean the shrimp, reserving the shells. Combine the shrimp shells, tomatoes, and 2 cups water in a medium saucepan and simmer for 30 minutes. Strain the mixture and reduce the broth over high heat to obtain 3/4 cup stock. Adjust for salt.

Combine the almonds, pine nuts, mint, basil, garlic, and 1/4 cup of the stock in a blender or food processor.

Bring a pot with 6 quarts of water to a boil. Add 2 to 3 tablespoons of salt and the pasta. Cook the pasta until if offers considerable resistance to the tooth, around three-quarters of the package recommended cooking time. Drain the pasta, reserving 1 cup of the pasta water.

Transfer the pasta to a large skillet or a 3 or 4 quart pot. Add the pesto, 1/2 cup stock and the shrimp. Cook over high heat, stirring gently and frequently, until the pasta is cooked through and the shrimp are hot. Add the pasta water, 1/4 cup at a time, if the sauce seems dry. Add salt and pepper to your taste.