1 pound large shrimp, peeled and deveined - with or without the tails
6 cups fresh basil leaves, gently packed, or any other green
1 - 2 large garlic cloves
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan Cheese, or other hard cheeses
1/2 cup toasted pine nuts, or any other nut
1/4 - 1/2 cup good quality, extra-virgin olive oil
Red pepper flakes if desired
1. Prepare the pesto by putting half of the basil in the bowl of a food processor (or blender) along with the garlic, parmesan, salt, pine nuts and red pepper flakes if desired. Blend continuously until the ingredients are finely chopped.
2. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and then blend in the rest of the basil until a uniform paste has formed. Scrape down the sides of the bowl again as needed.
3. With the food processor running, stream in the olive oil. To use as a marinade, use 1/2 cup olive oil so it's thin enough to coat all the shrimp. This also makes a nice consistency for pasta sauce. If you are using the pesto as a spread for a sandwich or pizza, you might want to use less olive oil. Continue blending as needed until the olive oil is emulsified into the basil and the pesto looks uniform. Scrape down the sides of the bowl. Taste and adjust the salt, garlic, and pepper flakes as needed to taste.
4. Place shrimp in a large zip lock bag and spoon in half of the pesto. Set aside the remaining pesto to use another time. Mix well so the shrimp is coated with the pesto.
5. Place shrimp in the refrigerator to marinate for at least 30 minutes.
6. Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil over medium heat in a large skillet or grill pan. Add the shrimp and saute' just until it turns pink, about 1-2 minutes per side. Remove from pan and cover to keep warm. It will continue to cook for a minute after you remove it from the heat.
7. Use to top Lemon Linguine or any other pasta. Basil Pesto Shrimp is also delicious topping a grilled pizza.