Pasta, Pesto and Shellfish

Pasta, Pesto and Shellfish

To support the Food For Thought 2017 fundraising campaign for FTD dementia, here is one of Adrienne’s favorite summertime recipes – Pasta, Pesto and Shellfish – from the book Cooking with Adrienne.  Do you know someone who is caring for a dementia patient? Many caregivers are isolated from their friends and the community by the stigma of FTD dementia. Bring them this easy to make dish and show them you care. And then consider contributing to the Food For Thought fundraiser at the link below:

Support Food For Thought

The addition of shrimp and scallops makes this recipe for Pasta, Pesto and Shellfish a bit more festive and it requires very little effort.  If you have the pesto in the freezer you can make this all year long.  Serve a green salad after the pasta on the same plate – the way they do in country restaurants in Italy – to sop up the remaining sauce.  A nice piece of gorgonzola cheese would make it a perfect meal!

If you have the time, and it is worth the effort, make double the quantity of pesto and freeze what you don’t use.  The basil taste will fade a bit but in the dead of winter that pesto will taste like summer sunshine on pasta.  When you store the pesto, in the freezer or the fridge, film the top of the pesto with olive oil so that the basil doesn’t turn black from exposure to the air.  If you are going to freeze the pesto add the Parmesan cheese only after it is thawed.  It should keep in the fridge for a week in an airtight container.  In the freezer it should last the winter.

Pasta, Pesto and Shellfish

September 26, 2017
: 6-8 persons

Pasta with pesto is great on it's own but the addition of shellfish makes it more festive and still a very easy dish


  • Pesto
  • 3 cups packed fresh basil leaves, about 3 bunches
  • 1 clove garlic, peeled
  • ¼ cup pine nuts (pignoli)
  • About ½ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • ½ cup grated Parmesan cheese (omit if freezing the pesto)
  • Salt
  • Shellfish
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 pounds shrimp, shelled and deveined
  • 2 pounds scallops, tough muscle removed*
  • Pasta
  • 1½ boxes (24 ounces total) good-quality linguine
  • Salt
  • Freshly grated Parmesan
  • Step 1 Pesto
  • Step 2 Remove the leaves from the basil branches. If the leaves are very large, remove the thick vein in the center. Wash if necessary and pat dry. Put the basil leaves, garlic clove, pine nuts, ¼ cup of the oil, the Parmesan (if using), and a good pinch of salt in a food processor. Blend, stopping to scrape down the sides, until pureed, 2 to 3 minutes. It should be thick but not a paste. If it is too thick, add a bit more oil. If too thin, add more cheese and basil. Taste and correct seasoning – Add more garlic or Parmesan to your taste. Pour into a container and film the top with a bit of olive oil.
  • Step 3 Shellfish
  • Step 4 In a sauté pan, melt the butter over medium-high heat until foaming. Add the shrimp and sauté just until they turn pink. Remove from pan. Add the scallops and cook, turning once, until just browning on the edges and still a bit translucent in the center (they will continue to cook further in the sauce). Remove the scallops and cut in half or quarters if large. Keep warm.
  • Step 5 Pasta
  • Step 6 Meanwhile, bring a large pot of salted water to boil. Add the linguine and cook until al dente. Drain the pasta, saving ½ cup of the cooking liquid.
  • Step 7 Return the linguine to the pot and add the shellfish, 3 to 4 tablespoons pesto, and ¼ cup of the pasta water. Cook over low heat, tossing to combine. Taste for seasoning and add additional tablespoons of pesto until you have the right taste and texture. Add additional pasta water if the mixture becomes too thick. Serve immediately garnished with the grated Parmesan.
  • Step 8 * Scallops are often sold with the remnant of the muscle that attaches it to the shell. This rough strip along the side of the scallop about ¾ inch long should be removed with your fingers or a knife.



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