Chef Ryan

Cajun Chef Ryan

Feeling & sharing a world of cooking ~ more than your average Cajun


Shrimp and Pasta Pesto Alfredo

August 5th, 2009 · 8 Comments

Shrimp Pesto Pasta in Saute Pan This is an adaptation of an appetizer that was very popular at the Columns Hotel during the time of Chef Chris Canan and Chef Brian Coats under the Michael’s Management tenure in the 1984 to 1986 period. The appetizer menu item was listed as Shrimp and Pesto Alfredo – Shrimp, Basil, Garlic, Cream and Fettucine $4.25. (PDF – Click link to view Columns Hotel menu) The pesto was prepared in advance but was made just about every 2 to 4 days, and the shrimp and pesto pasta dish was prepared to order on the lunch and dinner menu at the sauté station.

Plated Shrimp Pesto Pasta At the restaurant as orders came into the kitchen a small 6-inch sauté pan was put on the fire with a small amount of clarified butter and heated up then 4 to 6 ounces of small peeled and deveined (P&D) shrimp were added with a touch of salt and white pepper mixture. The shrimp were sautéed just a minute or so then a tablespoon of pesto and about a cup of heavy cream were added along with about a quarter cup of fresh grated parmesan cheese. This was all stirred up well and allowed to simmer until the cream thickened up a bit. Then the pre-cooked fettuccini was tossed in and heated through, once plated more fresh grated parmesan cheese was sprinkled on top and the dish was garnished with fresh basil. This dish sold like hot cakes and many would order a double portion as an entrée.

Following in the basil and pesto series and utilizing some of the fresh basil from our front yard herb garden, this recipe makes enough for 6 to 8 servings and I’ve also added some extra flavoring ingredients with the addition of a touch of chicken base and some Worcestershire sauce. In this recipe the fettuccini has been replaced with Rotini and the shrimp are a 21-30 count size, however, any of your favorite pasta and any size shrimp work well for this dish, just ensure to adjust the cooking times for your particular pasta and sized shrimp.

1 Quart Heavy cream (or milk thickened with cornstarch slurry)
Pinch Nutmeg
½ Lb. Parmesan cheese, shredded
¼ Cup Basil Pesto
½ Tbsp Chicken base
½ Tbsp Worcestershire sauce
½ Tbsp Olive oil
1 Lb. Shrimp, peeled and de-veined (P&D), any size
1 Lb. Rotini, cooked and drained
To taste Salt and white pepper
Procedure Steps
1. Heat heavy cream in a large sauce pan and allow to simmer until thickened. Whisk often to prevent boiling over. Or, for a low fat and lower calorie preparation use milk and bring to a simmer and thicken with cornstarch slurry.
2. Over medium low heat add the nutmeg and parmesan cheese and fold in to mix well.
3. Add the basil pesto, chicken base, and Worcestershire sauce mixing evenly into the sauce and continue simmering over a low heat.
4. Add the olive oil to a large sauté pan over a high heat. Add the P&D shrimp and sauté until they are pink, then add the sauce and fold in the pasta to heat through. Then season to taste with salt and white pepper.
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Tags: Appetizers · Cajun · Columns Hotel · Pasta · Recipes · Sauces · Seafood

8 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Jessie // Aug 6, 2009 at 9:01 am

    you cooked those shrimp to perfection, I love the use of pesto in this dish as well. I need to try using pesto with seafood, thanks for sharing such a wonderful recipe 🙂

  • 2 Banu B.B. (BaL) // Aug 6, 2009 at 10:46 am

    But can we adopt this with salmon instead of shrimps?
    I’m not getting along well with shrimps nowadays :p

  • 3 Ryan Boudreaux // Aug 6, 2009 at 12:14 pm

    Yes Bal, you can use any seafood that would fit for your taste and diet. Salmon could be grilled and then flaked and added at the very end, tossing with the pasta and sauce.

  • 4 Jen @ MaplenCornbread // Aug 6, 2009 at 12:36 pm

    Ryan this sounds great! I love the combination of the alfredo and pesto! I will be trying 🙂

  • 5 zerrin // Aug 6, 2009 at 4:09 pm

    Pasta, parmesan, shrimp and basil pesto together make an excellent combination. YUM!

  • 6 Miranda // Aug 7, 2009 at 10:46 pm

    I love your posts. Every one of them. You are a VERY VERY talented Chef.

  • 7 Heidi / Savory Tv // Aug 9, 2009 at 2:13 am

    What a wonderful appetizer, who needs an entree after that! Thanks for sharing Chef Ryan!

  • 8 The Hungry Mouse // Aug 26, 2009 at 1:20 pm

    Oh gosh, this looks great! Thanks for sharing! 😀