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Recipe of the Week: Barbeque Shrimp Kabobs over Bow-Tie Pasta al Pesto

By Staff | May 7, 2019

Chef Loretta Paganini

Celebrate Mother’s Day with this delicious dish at home. Since this is one of the busiest days of the year for restaurants, most of the time it can be quite a challenge to secure a reservation in your favorite spot. Only to find yourself in the midst of a crowded restaurant with harried wait staff and less then stellar service. An easy solution it is to prepare this delicious dish, so easy to make and it can be made ahead, chilled and served on this special Sunday honoring moms all over the world. Start planning your shopping trip, making sure to include fresh flowers and a box of chocolates and let the fun begin. In our family the men do all the cooking on Mother’s Day, helped by the children of course. Our kitchen is a nest of activities; drawers and cupboards are open, and lots of clanging noise arises from there before brunch is proudly served. Let your creativity begin as you prepare the shrimp skewers and pasta salad, as they say anything goes, use your favorite vegetable combination. A little effort will be rewarded a hundred folds, especially when mom says how proud she is of you. Serves eight. (Chef’s tip: Classic pesto is always made with fresh basil, but you can use fresh parsley or a blend of fresh herbs; freeze it in ice cubes for easier storage and then use it as a salt substitute.)

Shrimp kabobs:

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 small onion, finely chopped

1/4 cup fresh Italian parsley, minced

1 teaspoon dry mustard

2 cups barbeque sauce

1 teaspoon sea salt

1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

Juice of 1 lemon

2 pounds large shrimp (16 to 20 per lb.), peeled and deveined, tails intact

Vegetable oil, for grilling

Pasta salad:

1 pound bow-tie pasta

1 cup corn kernels

1 red pepper, seeded and chopped

1 cup cherry tomatoes, sliced in half

1/2 cup celery, chopped

1/2 cup black olives, pitted and sliced

4 scallions, chopped

Pesto:

2 cups fresh basil leaves

2 cloves garlic

1 tablespoon pine nuts, toasted

1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil

1/2 teaspoon sea salt

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

In a medium bowl, combine garlic, onion, parsley, mustards, barbeque sauce, salt, pepper, olive oil and lemon juice. Add the shrimp, and marinate for 15 minutes in the refrigerator. Heat the grill over medium-high heat. Brush the rack or pan with vegetable oil to prevent the shrimp from sticking. Skewer four shrimp on an eight-inch pre-soaked skewer. Grill the shrimp on each side, until opaque and lightly charred, about eight minutes.

Process basil, garlic and pine nuts in a food processor until smooth and creamy. Add olive oil. Season pesto with salt and pepper to taste. Cook pasta in large pot of boiling water until just tender but still “al dente” firm to the bite, about 7-9 minutes. Drain, reserving 1/4 cup cooking water. Combine cooked pasta and pesto in a large bowl. Toss with corn, red pepper, tomatoes, celery, olives and scallions until pasta is well mixed, adding reserved cooking water by tablespoon until sauce coats pasta. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve with barbeque shrimp skewers on top.