Pesto Shrimp over Cheesy Polenta for Two
These April showers had me feeling chilled to the bone and quite blah the last few weeks and that meant a craving for easy but rich and satisfying dinner. Cue a semi homemade, seasonal meal that would really hit the spot but required about two pans and not much else, we’ve all had those days don’t you judge me! Trader Joe’s is really one of my favorite places because you know you can get all natural, quality ingredients that will help you to make a really wonderful dinner for yourself and your family inexpensively. I keep a container of Trader Joe’s pesto in my refrigerator for so many reasons but in a pinch like this I didn’t need to leave my house to make dinner that would normally require real pants and possibly a reservation.
12 Jumbo shrimp, or 16 Extra Large shrimp (I buy peeled and deveined for this kind of meal)
4 tbsp. Trader Joes Pesto, any jarred pesto or fresh will do
2 tbsp. toasted pine nuts (optional but super yummy)
2 tbsp. shredded parmesan cheese
1 tbsp. olive oil
Crushed red pepper (optional)
1 cup chicken stock
1 cup milk or cream
½ cup coarse ground cornmeal (I buy this at any store that does bulk sales so I only buy how much I want to keep in the house, but GOYA does this as well by the bag)
1/3 cup shredded parmesan cheese
2 tbsp. butter (times like this fancy, expensive butter is nice because it has a higher fat content, but normal butter works fine)
Salt and pepper to taste
Add chicken stock, milk or cream and corn meal into a COLD pot. Turn the stove onto medium or medium high heat and let the mixture come to a fast simmer, almost a boil, stir often until the mixture thickens up, remove from heat and stir in the cheese and butter, season healthily with salt and pepper (if you have white pepper this is the time to use it).
In a medium sauté pan add the olive oil and shrimp and cook about 3 minutes and turn over, add the pesto, (if you are adding the pine nuts add them now along with the optional crushed red pepper) and cook 3-4 more minutes or until the shrimp firm up and turn opaque.
Serve the shrimp over a bed of the polenta and top with the extra pesto from the pan, and parmesan cheese.
This meal takes less than 30 minutes and can be paired with some roasted vegetables or a side salad but was perfection on its own. If your polenta starts to thicken too much you can add more milk or cream and butter to thin it out.