Thursday, March 13, 2008

Fusion Pasta - A Perfect Marriage

I can't believe it's Thursday already. I've been meaning to make this dish all week for Presto Pasta Night. It's my take on a fantastic Jamie Oliver dish - okay...true...there is no such thing as a BAD Jamie Oliver dish. Anyway, somehow or other, life got in the way...until lunch today.

It was sunny and bright....true....freezing if you were outdoors, but from in here, it looked wonderful. And a bowl of this bright and spicy dish made it perfect. All that was missing was eating it on a terrace somewhere in the Mediterranean. Oh well, I can at least have the fantasy with the sun beating through my window and a glass of white wine to go along with the pasta.

Before I share the recipe, I want to talk about the ingredients, because this really is a fusion dish. Weeks ago I was in the new Asian Market downtown and I'm a sucker for everything there. Naturally because pasta is always on my mind I couldn't help but pick up a package of shrimp vermicelle. I've used it in soup and actually the taste is very subtle. If I hadn't read that they were "shrimp" noodles, I'd never guess. Then again, the entire packaging is written in Chinese, so maybe there are no shrimp in "shrimp" noodles.

And speaking of shrimp...which I have always claimed as my personal favorite food, no matter how it's prepared. Last week, at my favorite fine food purveyor...Pete's Frootique, I bought a bag of frozen shrimp. So, what else is new? I probably replenish my supply a couple of times a month. On Monday, I whipped up a dish of pasta time to write it down or take a picture... a day with my delicious grandson is a whirlwind day...I just threw together some of my standard things...a little sun-dried tomato pesto along with some basil pesto and a 1/2 cup or so of some Classico Marinara sauce and some Greek style sausages and shrimp (both from Pete's) quickly sauteed. Voila...a perfect supper with a crisp salad and everyone's happy.

I know, you're probably scratching your head, wondering where I'm going with I'll finally get to the point. The shrimp...were...the sweetest, most delicious shrimps ever. And that's saying alot for me. They're imported from Thailand and now I can't wait to go there! In the short term, I guess I'll just head over to Pete's and stock up the freezer.

It's winter and a long way from making my own basil pesto but I can find some very respectable ones in a jar. My favorite is from Christopher Ranch. They're in Gilroy, California, the Garlic Capital of North America. No wonder the pesto is so great. Check out their website for all sorts of information, not to mention some great recipes.

Jamie Oliver's recipe called for sun-dried tomato puree and I went one better, because my local grocery store sells Marvini Sun-Dried Tomato Pesto that is truly delicious. I add it to scrambled eggs and fritattas, soups...the list is endless , so naturally I had to use some with the basil pesto and that was perfect for this dish.

You've heard all about the great ingredients, so I'll finally share the recipe....



Valerie Harrison (bellini) said...

This sounds amazing Ruth!! My daughter is coming home for Easter and I was thinking of making a shrimp pasta, this would be perfect:D

Chris said...

This recipe is wonderful! It looks perfect for this time of year...with Spring trying to slip on in. I made Sun dried tomato pesto last year and it was fantastic (and easy). Added to tilapia? Out of this world. (

Anonymous said...

I love the combination of spice, the sundried tomato pesto and the arugula--this really does evoke the Mediterranean! Sounds delicious.

Ruth Daniels said...

Val, this was indeed a delicious dinner (I'm embrassed to say the 2 of us ate the "serves 4" all by ourselves!

Chris, you are so right...there's nothing like a simple pesto to really jazz up a dish. I will try it on the tilapia we're having tonight. I also made a great roasted red pepper pesto that's awesome. (

Ricki, the taste really did take me across the ocean!