A few years ago, I did a little something for the Food Network. They had a series called “Calling All Cooks” and I reached out to them. I was surprised when they called me back and told me they wanted to do a show featuring some of my recipes.

One of the recipes the Food Network chose was my grandmother Angela’s signature dish, pasta piselli, which is pasta with a sauce of peas, cauliflower, tomatoes, and garlic.


Click on the pic to see the YouTube video

The other recipe they wanted me to do was shrimp with pesto. I’d done pesto recipes before; I’d done shrimp recipes before, but I never did a shrimp with pesto recipe. I told the Food Network people I didn’t think the recipe would work, because Italians don’t normally use cheese with seafood, and pesto sauce has Parmigiano-Reggiano and Pecorino Romano cheeses in it.

They told me to make it anyway. They were adamant about it. My first instinct was to tell them to go jump in a lake. But…maybe they were on to something. So I put my big head aside, and tried it.

We decided to shoot the episode at my uncle Oscar’s house, on a river outside of Baltimore, Maryland. Oscar and I were really close, he taught me more about cooking than anyone. He had great skills, and a wonderful kitchen.

The Food Network then asked if I could get the Slim Man band to join me at the end of the show for a little taste, and a quick song. Getting the band to set up all the equipment was out of the question, so I ended up playing guitar and singing as the band sampled the shrimp with pesto on Oscar’s back deck, overlooking the river.

The shrimp with pesto turned out great.

Last week, I was thinking about that day at Oscar’s, and the shrimp with pesto. I decided to try and make it again, to re-create the dish I’d done a few years ago.

But this time, I decided to add a little Slim Twist. I added toasted pine nuts to the final dish. I had made a batch of pesto; I broiled some shrimp, and put it in a bowl with the pesto and some toasted pine nuts.

Wow, it was good. I served it with some warm, crusty bread, and she was a so nice!

It was so good, the next night I made it again and put it over some spaghetti. It was delizioso.

So here is the recipe. It’s easy and quick and scrump-diddly-umptious!

You can use my most excellent pesto sauce; the recipe is in the Slim Man Cooks cookbook.

Shrimp with Pesto

I used wild-caught shrimp, de-shelled and de-veined. I’ve tried farm-raised shrimp, and I don’t like the way they taste. They’re mushy and bland. Mushy, I tell ya!

IMG_2011To toast your pine nuts, put a small sauté pan over medium heat. Add your nuts, give ’em a shake every 30 seconds or so. Don’t burn your nuts. I burn mine frequently. Keep your eyes on these guys. When they’re golden, put ’em on a plate.

My pesto sauce is quick and easy. It only takes a few minutes, Slim People. You can do this. If you want to use a store-bought pesto sauce, I will forgive you—just this once!

I’ve included my pesto sauce recipe, just in case you want to see how easy and delizioso it is.

The pesto sauce:


½ cup extra virgin olive oil, plus 1 tablespoon

2 cloves garlic, peeled and smashed with the side of a knife

2 cups fresh basil leaves, cleaned

8 tablespoons of pine nuts (pignoli), toasted (a generous 1/2 cup)

½ teaspoon of Kosher salt

½ cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese

½ cup freshly grated Pecorino Romano cheese

IMG_2027Here we go…

 In a small sauté pan over medium-low heat, add a tablespoon of olive oil.

Add the garlic, and sauté on each side for a minute or two; remove from heat.

Put the garlic and its olive oil, the basil, ½ cup of olive oil, 4 generous tablespoons of the toasted pine nuts, and the ½ teaspoon of salt in a blender and blend, baby, blend. You can also use a food processor.

When everything is smooth, transfer to a bowl, and slowly blend in the grated cheeses by hand. Or better yet, use a spatula.

Use the remaining toasted pine nuts (1/3 cup or so) for the shrimp.



1 ¼ pound of wild shrimp, de-shelled and de-veined

2 tablespoons of olive oil

Salt and pepper

1/3 cup of pesto sauce

1/3 cup of toasted pine nuts


Turn your oven to broil.

Put the shrimp in a bowl. Add the olive oil and mix.

Add some salt and pepper and mix.

Place the shrimp in a single layer on a baking pan lined with aluminum foil.

Place under the broiler for 4 minutes.

Keep your eyeballs on these guys! Don’t go burning your shrimp!

After 4 minutes, taste a shrimp. It should be done. If it ain’t, cook for another minute or so.

When the shrimp are done, put them in a large bowl.

Add a generous 1/3 cup of pesto sauce.

IMG_2012Mix, mix, mix.

Add the remaining 1/3 cup of toasted pine nuts.

Mix ‘em up!

Serve with warm, crusty bread, or you can serve it over pasta.

Cook a ½ pound of pasta (spaghetti or linguine) according to the instructions.

Put the pasta in a large bowl, drizzle with a tablespoon of olive oil, and mix ‘em up.

Add the shrimp with pesto and pine nuts.

Mix ‘em up!