This Shrimp Pasta with Cilantro Pesto Recipe will surprise you. It’s easy AND impressive too.
Pasta is one of my weeknight go-to meals. It’s always quick and pasta is so versatile. Along with that pesto is a great sidekick for pasta. I enjoy making a variety of pesto combinations. It’s so packed with flavor and pretty healthy ingredients too, and it can be made ahead, which is always a winner in my kitchen. This recipe for Shrimp Pasta with Cilantro Pesto Recipe is easy enough for a quick weeknight meal, but impressive enough for a special dinner with friends.
Let me show you how easy it really is:
Prepare the pasta as directed on package, and don’t forget to salt the water. No oil. Just salt. Remember to reserve some of the pasta water—about a 1/2 cup.
Saute the shrimp (or chicken) in a little olive oil, salt and pepper. It only takes about 2-3 minutes for shrimp to cook. Once done, remove and set aside. Add the pesto (pesto recipe found here) and a tablespoon or so of the pasta water.
Whisk the pesto and pasta water together over low-medium heat until blended smooth. If needed add a bit more water until desired consistency is reached. Remove from heat.
Next, add the pasta and shrimp back to the pan, and gently, being careful not to squish the pasta, toss the pasta with the pesto sauce and shrimp.
You’re done! That’s it. Ready to serve. Just watch it disappear right before your very eyes!
A few notes:
- For this pasta dish shrimp or chicken is a great combination with the cilantro pesto.
- Sometimes I like to splurge on good quality egg pasta. It’s so worth it. If you’ve never had egg pasta before, go find some. It’s good. Like really good. Tagliolini is my favorite noodle size. It’s like linguini but thinner. Be forewarned, it’s not cheap, but for special occasions it certainly is a nice change of pace. Of course, you could always make your own too.
- For a vegetarian version, easily substitute sautéed onions, peppers, mushrooms, or even thin fresh green beans.
- The Roasted Pepper Cilantro Pesto can be made ahead, covered tightly and refrigerated for a couple of days. It’s a wonderful spread for bruschetta (a fancy word for toast), or crudités, or thin out with more olive oil, a smudge of lime juice and/or vinegar to make a salad dressing to accompany the pasta dish.
- 16 ounces, weight pasta of choice
- 3-4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1 pound large shrimp, peeled (or chicken, cubed)
- pinches salt and pepper
- 1 cup Roasted Pepper Cilantro Pesto Recipe
- Prepare the pasta as directed on package, and don't forget to salt the water. No oil. Just salt. Remember to reserve some of the pasta water—about a ½ cup.
- Heat olive oil in skillet over medium heat. Add shrimp; sprinkle with salt and pepper. Saute shrimp for about 2-3 minutes, until done. Remove shrimp; set aside.
- Add pesto and 1 tablespoon or so of the pasta water. Whisk the pesto and pasta water together over low-medium heat until blended smooth. If needed add a bit more water until desired consistency is reached. Remove from heat.
- Add pasta and shrimp to pesto sauce, and gently, being careful not to squish the pasta, toss the pasta with the pesto sauce and sauteed shrimp (or chicken).