We just returned from a nice long trip to Disney World over Mardi Gras break. If you’ve ever been, you know this is not a vacation meant for rest. At the end of the week, I was ready to get back to my quiet little kitchen, simple home-cooked meals and a much slower pace.

After a week of dodging through crowds, though, I had to drag myself to the farmers market. But once I was there, waving hello to the familiar faces of local farmers and producers, the peace of my normal routine settled in. My sense of order was restored. Shopping with these friends I've made over many visits and seeing their smiles is rejuvenating.

It didn’t take long for me to pick up the ingredients I needed to make an unpretentious supper — a creamy shrimp pasta we could eat while watching Winter Olympics events and relaxing after our whirlwind week of amusement rides.

To brighten up the shrimp, I added a couple of spoons of pesto to the sauce. I keep a stash of pesto in my freezer, but there are lots of good ones at the supermarket — and sometimes at the farmers market — that will work just fine. My parsley is still thriving despite the cold temperatures, so it was nice to take a sunny tromp out to the garden to pick some for garnish.

I Eat La.: Recipes for Garlic Shrimp Pasta, Basic Basil Pesto

Leaving the tails on the shrimp for this dish does make for a more sophisticated presentation, but I understand it can be impractical. So take them off if you desire.

For those who abstain from meat during Lent, this simple shrimp dish will make a delicious Friday night supper, too.

So, while we made some precious memories with our girls on our trip, we are all glad to be home — especially when there's shrimp on the menu.


Teresa B. Day is a local food writer and author of the “I Eat BR” blog. You can reach her at ieatbrla@gmail.com.