Prep 45 mins
Cook 45 mins
This is an amazingly versatile pasta dish we've refined over the years that's great for family-style dinner parties, and can be customized to the individual tastes of each diner. The combination of sharp pesto, rich tomato sauce, creamy bleu cheese and freshly grilled shrimp make for a meal that can range from light to extremely satisfying. Best served with a light salad (e.g. fresh greens and mandarin oranges in a dijon vinaigrette) and crusty italian bread. A lively chianti finishes off the meal (we like the '97 Querciavalle Chianti Classico).
- 1 lb linguine
- 1 cup crumbled blue cheese
- 1 lb medium shrimp, shelled and deveined
FOR PESTO SAUCE
- 1 cup basil leaves, well-packed
- 2 cloves garlic, lightly crushed and peeled
- 1⁄4 cup pine nuts (toasted)
- 1⁄2 cup freshly grated parmigiano
- 1⁄2 cup extra virgin olive oil
- salt & fresh ground pepper
FOR TOMATO SAUCE
- 5 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 2 cups diced red bell peppers ("1/4-inch" dice)
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 cups diced red onions ("1/4-inch" dice)
- salt & fresh ground pepper
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 1 (28 ounce) can whole tomatoes, chopped
- 1 1⁄2 cups double-strength chicken stock
- 1 bay leaf
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh oregano
- 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
- 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh basil
- Clean and prepare shrimp, brush with olive oil and one clove minced garlic/pepper mixture Prepare Pesto Sauce: place basil leaves and garlic in food process and process until leaves are finely chopped.
- Add nuts and process until nuts are finely chopped.
- Add cheese and process until combined.
- With machine running, add olive oil in slow, steady stream.
- Turn machine off and add salt and pepper to taste.
- Yields about 1 cup.
- Prepare Tomato Sauce: Heat 1/4 cup of the olive oil (or 2 tablespoons olive oil and 2 tablespoons garlic oil) in a heavy saucepan over medium-high heat until hot.
- Add the bell pepper and sauti until brown, about 7 minutes.
- Add the remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil, if necessary, and the garlic, and cook briefly until light brown.
- Add the onion and a pinch of salt (if the pan is dry and the ingredients look as if they might burn, adding salt will release the liquid in the onions), and cook until brown, about 5 minutes.
- Add the tomato paste and stir to mix well.
- Add the tomatoes and their juice, the stock, and bay leaf.
- Bring to a boil, reduce the heat to low, and simmer the sauce until thick, about 25 minutes.
- Add the butter, oregano, parsley, and basil and stir well.
- Adjust the seasoning with salt and pepper.
- While boiling pasta, grill or broil shrimp until just done.
- To assemble, drain pasta (do not rinse) and toss in 1/4- 1/2 cup pesto.
- Arrange in serving platter, top with 2 cups tomato sauce, sprinkle generously with Bleu Cheese, and top with grilled shrimp.