Shrimp with Cilantro Pesto over linguine recipe is the southwestern version of an Italian classic. It is normally made with parsley pesto and is a taste sensation paired with a few lovely juicy shrimp. Cotija (ko-tee-ah) cheese for sprinkling is a must have. If you can’t find cotija, queso fresco or farmers cheese will make fine substitutes.
Difficulty: Beginner Preparation Time: 10min
Yields: 4-6 Servings Total Time: 30min
1 lb. of Linguine (Barilla is our favorite)
2 lb. of size 10-12 Shrimp, peeled, deveined and patted dry
4 oz. Cotija Cheese, crumbled
Freshly Ground Black Pepper
1 recipe of cilantro pesto
Bring a 6 quart pot filled with heavily salted water* to a boil. Once the water comes to a boil, add pasta and cook, stirring, occasionally, as per the directions on the box. While the pasta is cooking, heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a 10-12 inch skillet over a medium-high heat. Season the shrimp with salt and pepper. When the oil is hot, add half of the shrimp to the pan and cook for approximately 2 minutes. The shrimp will start to turn a nice shade of pink when they are cooked. Using a pair of tongs, flip and cook on the other side for a minute or two.
To check the shrimp for doneness, pick one up and look at where it was deveined. It should have just a a hint of a translucent color to it. Remove the shrimp from the pan. The shrimp will finish cooking from the carry-over heat in the shrimp. Repeat with remaining shrimp. Transfer to a bowl. Drain pasta. Return pasta to the pot and let cool slightly. Add ¾ of a cup of pesto to the pasta and with a pair of tongs, stir to combine. Traditionally, you want just enough of the pesto on the pasta to coat, however a little more can be added if you like. Add ½ cup pesto to the bowl with the shrimp in it. Toss to combine.
Using your tongs, place some pasta in a serving bowl and add 6 or 7 shrimp. Sprinkle with the crumbled Cotija cheese and serve.
*You will want your seasoned cooking water to taste like the ocean. I have found that 2-3 tablespoons of kosher salt added to the pot of water will do the trick. I prefer my food heavily seasoned (not salty! Just seasoned correctly so the flavors come alive) so I would tend to use the 3 tablespoons of salt for my palette but you can start with 2 tablespoons and see what that does for you.