Summer Orzo with Basil Pesto

All of the tell-tale signs of autumn are ever so slightly starting to appear.  It's not quite light out when I wake up, the morning walk to my car is getting a little too brisk to be sleeveless, and many of my favorite summer food prices at the supermarket are beginning to drift back up (why can't we just have $2.50 pineapples forever??). I love love love fall, but I'm not sure I'm ready yet to say good-bye to long days and abundant sunshine. 
When summer nostalgia hits, the only thing to make is pesto.  There is nothing more summery than fresh basil. It's like those bright little leaves have stored up all the flavors of sunshine and are just waiting to burst out into a party on your tongue. This particular pesto is very easy to make and, tossed with an assortment of summer foods, was the perfect dinner to remind me that warm days are still here.

Side note: Patrick would like me to inform all of you that this is "So so good. Want more in my belly. Now." ...So there's an endorsement for 'ya.

-Recipe after the jump-

Basil Pesto
Makes about 2 cups

3 C packed fresh basil
2 Cloves Garlic
3/4 C Grated Parmesan 
1/2 C Olive Oil
1/4 C Pine Nuts
Pinch of Sea Salt
Pinch of Black Pepper

1) Toast the pine nuts in a skillet over medium heat for 5-6 minutes, or until the nuts start to brown
2) Combine all ingredients in the bowl of a food processor, and blend to a smooth paste

*Pesto freezes really nicely if you find this recipe is too much.  Freeze it in ice cube trays for single servings!

Summer Orzo with Basil Pesto
Makes 5 servings

1 lb Orzo
1 large bunch Asparagus (about 2 lbs)
1 pint cherry tomatoes
3/4 lb shrimp (peeled and devined)
1 C Basil Pesto

1) Bring a large pot of water to a boil, and cook orzo according to package instructions
2) Meanwhile, chop asparagus into 1 1/2 inch sections and slice cherry tomatoes in half.
3) Steam  asparagus and shrimp for 3 minutes, or until tender (asparagus), and white opaque (shrimp)
4) Combine asparagus, shrimp, tomatoes, and pesto in a large pot, and heat over low until warm
5) Slowly add in orzo, mixing to ensure even coating of pesto

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