Mojito Shrimp/Red Pepper Pasta

After two weeks in the shivering cold of the East Coast, and largely banned from the kitchen (my mom was having her kitchen cabinets refinished), it was wonderful to be back in sunny California where today’s temperature was in the  balmy mid 70’s.  With such lovely weather, I needed to make a warm-weather dish. For those of you shivering in the snow, you could make this, down a couple of mojitos and imagine yourself on the beach.

Soak 4 large bamboo skewers in water for at least one hour.

  • 1 pound shelled and deveined large raw shrimp (prawns)
  • Grated rind from one lime
  • Juice from two fresh limes  (microwave them for about 30 seconds, let cool, cut in half and use a citrus reamer for easy juicing)
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • ½ cup fresh mint leaves, minced
  • ¼ cup fresh Italian parsley, minced
  • ¼ cup light rum
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • ½ tsp salt
  • Freshly ground pepper
  • ½ tsp ground paprika

Mix all ingredients except shrimp, stir to dissolve sugar.  Reserve about ¼ cup of the marinade for salad.  Pour the remaining marinade over shrimp in a zippered plastic bag.  Massage bag gently and set aside for no more than 15 minutes (if you marinate the shrimp any longer the acid in the lime will ‘cook” the shrimp and it won’t have the correct texture).

While shrimp is marinating, heat a large pot of water for pasta over high heat.  Add 1 tsp salt and 1 tsp salad oil to prevent sticking.  Make red pepper pesto sauce for the pasta by blending together in a blender until smooth:

  • 1 cup jarred roasted bell peppers, drained
  •  ¼  cup loosely packed Italian parsley
  • ¼ cup well backed fresh basil leaves
  • 1 clove garlic
  •  1 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • ¼ tsp coarse salt
  • Generous grinding of freshly milled pepper
  • ¾ cup chicken broth
  • 2 tbsp grated parmesan cheese

Set aside.  Preheat broiler or grill.

When pasta water comes to a boil, add

  • 8 oz dried pasta, such as spaghetti, vermicelli or fedelini

Set timer for period indicated on pasta package.  Stir pasta occasionally

Remove shrimp from marinade, reserving the marinade.  Drain bamboo skewers and thread shrimp onto skewers, distributing them evenly between the skewers.  Broil or grill shrimp as close to the flame as you can get, basting with reserved marinade and turning skewers once.  SHRIMP WILL COOK VERY QUICKLY, DO NOT OVERCOOK OR IT WILL BE RUBBERY.  Start checking and basting after one minute, you will probably need no more than 2 minutes per side.  turn them as soon as they turn pink.   Remove shrimp from oven/grill when the other side has turned pink, and set aside.

When pasta is al dente, drain it and return it to the pot.  Stir in red pepper pesto and mix well.

Portion pasta onto plates and top with shrimp skewer.  Toss remaining marinade with washed and spun mixed salad greens.  Makes 4 servings.  Serve with tropical cocktails (mojito preferred)

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