Tamra Davis Cooking Show: Pesto Shrek

05/27/2009 05:42 pm ET | Updated Nov 17, 2011

Pesto is such a great standard. It's so simple to make and always tastes good. The color is fantastic, I can usually connect it with some cartoon character and the kids will eat it. Sometimes it's Shrek Pasta, the other night it was the Hulk Spaghetti. You could also call it Little Mermaid Spaghetti. I make up names for their food all the time to help make it more familiar.

On a vacation in Kauai, we invited some friends over for dinner. I didn't want to spend too much time in the kitchen but I also wanted to serve my guests something delicious. My friends were also coming over with their kids so what ever I made I knew that I was going to have to have a kids dinner too.

I made a pesto pasta for the kids and then grilled some fish and added that to the adults plate. I covered the fish and the pasta with this delicious pesto sauce and sprinkled on some parmesan and pine nuts. It was delicious. Obviously, you can also serve the fish to your kids too!

This is a recipe from my cookbook that is a "Combo Meal". A recipe that starts out as a kids meal and then with a few added ingredients becomes the adult dinner. This is a wonderful dinner that's easy to pull off with guests and kids.

I also served a Kauai inspired salad as a first course with mixed greens, local goat cheese, mango and toasted macadamia nuts.

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Grilled Fish with Pesto aka "Shrek Pasta"
(for 4)

"Shrek Pasta"
1 16 ounce package of spaghetti
4 cloves of garlic
2 cups of washed basil leaves
1 cup of toasted pine nuts
1/4 - ½ a cup of olive oil
½ a cup of vegetable stock or water
Salt and pepper
1/4 - ½ a cup of parmesan cheese (optional)

Toasted pine nuts
Parmesan cheese

Boil water and cook your pasta.
Meanwhile toast the pine nuts in a frying pan with a pinch of salt. When they turn lightly brown put them in a blender with the garlic, basil, parmesan cheese and olive oil. Add a ¼ cup of vegetable stock or water and blend until smooth. You may need to add a bit more stock or water to get the consistency that you like. Add plenty of salt and pepper to taste.
Serve topped with toasted pine nuts, a basil leaf and parmesan cheese.


Grilled Fish with Pesto Sauce
(for 4)
Grill or broil 4 6 ounce filets of fish (halibut, cod, salmon, seabass) I try and use the freshest and most ecologically sustainable fish when I cook with fish.

Lightly brush four 6-ounce filets of fish (halibut, cod, salmon, or sea bass) with olive oil, lemon and salt. Grill for three to five minutes per side depending on how rare you like it. You can also broil the seasoned fish on a foil lined baking sheet in the oven on broil for 7-10 minutes. Don't over cook your fish. Please.

Place the fish on top of a plate of spaghetti. Top with the Shrek Pesto Sauce, some toasted pine nuts, grated parmesan and shredded basil. Excellent, and an easy dinner to pull off for guests and kids.