Bavette with Pistachio Pesto and Shrimp
Published by Knopf
I had this in a restaurant in Selinunte, a small seaside town in western Sicily famous for its enormous Greek temples. I love to visit historic places, but afterward I am always exhausted and the only cure is a big bowl of pasta. –G.
NotesWe don’t blend pesto completely into a paste because we like to taste the nuts and the basil under our teeth.
We don’t taste pesto when we make it, because pesto gives its best flavor when it is hot, with pasta.
Total Timeunder 30 minutes
OccasionCasual Dinner Party, Family Get-together
Recipe Coursemain course
Taste and Texturebuttery, garlicky, light, nutty
Type of Dishdry pasta
- 3 garlic cloves
- 2 cups whole basil leaves
- 1 cup shelled pistachios
- ¼ cup pine nuts
- 1 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1 teaspoon salt, plus more for the pasta water
- 4 tablespoons (½ stick) unsalted butter
- ½ pound small shrimp, peeled and boiled
- ¾ pound bavette
- ¾ pound almonds, lightly toasted and chopped
- Freshly grated Parmesan cheese
Put the garlic cloves, basil leaves, pistachios, pine nuts, ¼ cup of the olive oil, and salt into the bowl of a food processor fitted with a metal blade and blend. Gradually pour the rest of the oil through the feed tube until all the ingredients are integrated into a paste with a slightly coarse texture. The pesto must be fluid, not hard or dry. If it is not fluid, turn the food processor back on and add more oil until you have a runny paste.
Put the pesto in a large serving bowl, reserving a large spoonful. Place the butter and the cooked shrimp on top of the pesto.
Bring a large saucepan of water to a boil. Stir in a small fistful of salt, a splash of olive oil, and the bavette and cook, stirring often so the pasta doesn’t stick together, until the pasta is al dente.
While the pasta is cooking, toast the almonds in a dry skillet over medium heat, shaking the pan constantly so the almonds don’t burn.
Lift the pasta out of the pot and into the bowl with the pesto, butter, and shrimp. Add a splash of pasta water and toss the pasta until the butter is melted and the pasta is coated. Add the toasted almonds and toss again. A tavola! Dust with Parmesan cheese and serve very hot, with more Parmesan on the table.
2005 Wanda Tornabene and Giovanna Tornabene