My recipes are easy, BUT I want to impart the experience I have gathered into your cooking. Too many cooks make make tasty food but just miss on technique. Chin up, don't be daunted, my recipes are not just lists of ingredients but roadmaps to cooking more professionally at home.
Among other things this recipe with teach you to add the cheese to pesto AFTER it is out of the food processor so it doesn’t get gummy, AND to par sear your shrimp before assembling the dish so they don’t get cooked to rubber!
This dish is just as easy to make vegetarian, and to make it vegan, substitute nutritional yeast for the Romano cheese to taste
2 large zucchini OR 12 oz pre cooked spaghetti
12 large wild gulf shrimp, peeled and deveined
Olive oil and neutral oil like sunflower or safflower oil
Sea salt and pepper to taste
A handful of cherry tomatoes , cut in half
¼ cup good quality olives, pitted and roughly chopped if they are real big
1 bunch of ramps, about 8
1 small bunch basil leaves
1 small bunch parsley, roughly chopped
½ cup sunflower seeds, toasted golden brown, divided into two piles
¼ pecorino romano cheese
Juice of half as lemon
If you have a vegetable noodle cutter, break it cut and prep the zucchini noodles into spaghetti size strands. I have also seen vegetable noodles precut in local supermarkets recently as they are all the rage.
If you are doing spaghetti, put on some water and get it cooking; you know how.
Bring small pot of salted water to a boil.
Remove the roots from the ramps, then cut the stems right up to the beginning of the leaves into small pieces and reserve half..
Plunge the leaves and half of the stem pieces into the boiling water for 5 seconds and then remove them with a spider or slotted spoon and run cold water on them until they are cool. Leave the water at a simmer.
Use a towel and squeeze out and excess water from the ramps.
Roughly chop the leaves and put them in a food processor with the basil, parsley, half of the sunflower seeds and a generous pinch of salt. Pulse the machine to chop up the mix.
Now add a few tablespoons of the neutral oil and a bit of water a few drops at a time while the machine is running to make a relatively smooth pesto.
Remove from the processor to a bowl and fold in the cheese.
Taste for salt and adjust to your taste.
Use a large heavy skillet. Heat it with enough olive oil to coat the pan until shimmering. Add the shrimp to the pan, not overlapping, and season with a little salt. Cook the shrimp on one side until they are golden, then turn them over. Cook just another 30 seconds and then remove them from the pan and reserve.
While the pan is still hot add the cherry tomatoes and the reserved chopped ramp stems and saute to soften.
Add the olives and return the shrimp to the pan.
Now stir in about three quarters of the pesto.
Top this with a big mound of zucchini noodles. They will reduce to about a third of their volume when they cook.
Add a 2 ounces of the salted blanching water the the pan.
Cover it with a lid and let it gently steam for about three minutes.
Remove the lid and toss to coat everything with the pesto.
Hit it with a squeeze of lemon.
Taste for seasoning.
Serve it garnished with the remaining sunflower seeds.
Serve the remaining pesto and more cheese on the side.