Sunday, February 9, 2014

Recipe :: Pesto Ravioli Salad with Shrimp, Cherry Tomatoes & Black Olives

Pasta is one of my favorite foods to eat AND make, so it's no surprise that when I'm in charge of making a meal it involves pasta. If I had to choose between warm pasta and cold pasta, I'm not even sure that I could pick one over the other. I love them both. Since it's summer here, a cold dish is more appropriate for these days when you don't want to be sitting over  a steaming plate of food.

After spending several hours online searching for a pasta salad recipe, I was left a bit dissappointed. The recipes either had ingredient combinations that I didn't particularly care for OR included ingredients we can't find here. I knew I had to take matters into my own hands, and with the help of Tomas' culinary mind, we improvised this pasta salad. The first time we made the dish it was good, but some of our ingredients weren't meshing together. We used celery in the salad for an added crunch and a bit too much garlic. On the second attempt, I decided to nix the celery and add more walnuts in the pesto for that added crunch. I also decreased the amount of garlic and added a bit more basil.

All in all, it is a very simple recipe to make, doesn't take much time and is SO ABSOLUTELY DELICIOUS. In fact, I wish I had this chilling in the fridge now for my lunch today. I knew that writing this post was going to make me crave it again!

Ok then, let's get started...
Pesto Ravioli Salad with Shrimp, Cherry Tomatoes & Black Olives
Serves: 2 (with leftovers) OR can serve 4

-500g. package mini raviolis
-350g. shrimp (350g. ended up being 11 shrimp. This will serve 2 people. If cooking for 4, double the amount.)
-300g. cherry tomatoes
-25 black olives
-basil, a few leaves for garnish
-garlic, 1 clove
-olive oil
-black pepper, red peppers flakes, grated parmesan cheese (optional)

-handful of basil leaves(a handful for me ended up being 27 leaves of various sizes)
-1 garlic clove
-6 walnuts
-olive oil, 3 Tbsp.


Put a pot of salted water on the stove to boil. Once water is boiling, add your ravioles. Cook until al dente. If you are using fresh pasta, it shouldn’t take that long to cook. It took me about 4 minutes. If you are using frozen it will take a little longer. Refer to the instructions on your box of pasta. You will know when your pasta is cooked when it floats to the top of the water. 

Note: It is important to cook pasta al dente for pasta salads so that it holds up better in the refrigerator. You don’t want to eat a pasta salad full of soggy, breaking apart pasta.

Once pasta is cooked, drain and put into a large bowl. Drizzle a little bit of olive oil over the pasta, cover and put in the refrigerator to cool. (It’s not going to seem like that much pasta, but once you add all the ingredients the bowl really fills up).

While pasta is cooling, prepare your shrimp. The shrimp we bought is frozen, so we defrosted them overnight. You can also buy fresh shrimp if you’d prefer.

Heat 1 Tbsp of olive oil on high heat in a small frying pan. Add 1 clove minced garlic & your shrimp and sautee until shrimp is cooked. This will only take about 1 minute. You’ll know when the shrimp is cooked because it will change color. Remove shrimp from pan, chop in halves and set aside to cool.

Chop cherry tomatoes in halves or quarters, depending on the size. Put cherry tomatoes and black olives in medium sized bowl and set aside.

Now you can make your pesto dressing. Finely chop your handful of basil leaves as well as your walnuts. Mince 1 clove of garlic. Put these ingredients in a small bowl and mix together with 3 Tbsp olive oil.

Remove large bowl of pasta from refrigerator and add your shrimp, cherry tomatoes and black olives. Mix together. 

Add in pesto dressing and mix once again. 

Season with freshly ground black pepper, and garnish with a few basil leaves.If your pasta is cool, your dish is ready for serving! If not, place back in refrigerator until cool.

As for seasoning,I like my salad as is, but you can also add some red pepper flakes (if you like it spicy) or grated parmesan cheese (if you like it cheesy).

I almost finished my entire bowl before I remembered to take a picture!
And there you have it, Pesto Ravioli Salad with Shrimp, Cherry Tomatoes & Black Olives! Does this look like something you'd like to try out in your kitchen? If so, please share a photo of your dish with me and any variations you make if you choose to do so!

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