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Spinach Pesto Pasta with Shrimp

Photo: Hector Manuel Sanchez
Active time 45 mins
Total time 50 mins
Yield

Serves 4 (serving size: 1 3/4 cups)

Pesto is a great big-batch sauce for using up a mix of herbs and greens, but it tends to go army-green if made ahead. We quickly blanch spinach and basil to preserve the color without diluting flavor, then bump up the green with fresh parsley. A little chopped tomato adds moisture and mild acidity. Be sure to press the plastic wrap directly on the surface of the pesto to keep it from browning. A simple shrimp and asparagus pasta toss lets the pesto shine; you could also use chicken breast, broccoli florets, or haricots verts. This recipe goes with: Pesto Chicken with Blistered Tomatoes

Ingredients

Pesto:

  • 2 cups packed fresh baby spinach
  • 1 cup packed fresh basil leaves
  • 1/2 cup loosely packed fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 1/2 cup seeded chopped plum tomato
  • 6 tablespoons chopped toasted walnuts
  • 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 1/2 ounces Parmesan cheese, grated (about 1/3 cup)
  • 1 garlic clove, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

Pasta:

  • 8 ounces uncooked whole-wheat penne pasta
  • 1 pound fresh asparagus, cut into 2-in. pieces
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 1 pound large fresh shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground red pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/2 cup halved multicolored grape tomatoes
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

Nutrition Information

  • calories 409
  • fat 15.5 g
  • satfat 3.6 g
  • monofat 5.6 g
  • polyfat 4.4 g
  • protein 27 g
  • carbohydrate 50 g
  • fiber 9 g
  • cholesterol 154 mg
  • iron 5 mg
  • sodium 443 mg
  • calcium 163 mg
  • sugars 3 g
  • Est. Added Sugars 0 g

How to Make It

  1. To prepare pesto, bring a large saucepan filled with water to a boil. Add spinach and basil; cook 20 seconds. Remove spinach mixture to a bowl filled with ice water (reserve water in pan); let stand 30 seconds. Drain and pat dry with paper towels.
  2. Place parsley and next 7 ingredients (through garlic) in food processor; process until finely chopped. Add spinach mixture and 2 tablespoons oil; process to combine. Place 3/4 cup pesto in a small bowl; place plastic wrap directly on pesto. Reserve for Pesto Chicken with Blistered Tomatoes and Vegetable Soup au Pisto.
  3. To prepare pasta, return water in pan to a boil. Add pasta; cook according to package directions, adding asparagus during last 5 minutes of cooking. Drain in a colander over a bowl, reserving 3/4 cup cooking liquid.
  4. Heat 1 tablespoon oil and butter in a large skillet over medium-high until butter melts. Sprinkle shrimp with red pepper and 1/4 teaspoon black pepper. Add shrimp to pan; cook 1 to 2 minutes on each side or until done. Remove shrimp from pan.
  5. Add pasta mixture and reserved 3/4 cup cooking liquid to pan; cook 1 minute. Stir in remaining 6 tablespoons pesto, shrimp, grape tomatoes, and 1/4 teaspoon salt. Divide pasta mixture evenly among 4 bowls.