I’m becoming a huge fan of Food Network Magazine. I recently bought a subscription for it via my Kindle Fire tablet and have felt inspired by so much in ever issue so far. Not so much my Bon Appetit magazines, though. While I occasionally see something in them that I like, I’m just not very inspired by the magazine as a whole anymore and haven’t been for several issues now. I decided to let that one lapse while taking on Food Network’s publication instead. It’s hard to pick something new to try because they just make it all look so good. This one caught my eye because of the pesto, which I’ve never made from scratch before.
Welcome to another great weeknight option, when you’re really tired and you just need something that tastes wonderfull without a lot of effort. This one’s healthy, too, and you didn’t even have to think that much about it.
It’s amazing how pretty the ingredients for as-of-yet unprocessed pesto look together…
…but the food-processed results do not!
The one thing that struck me was how little the mint came through. You can tell it’s there, but I was worried it would overpower the pesto. I did use slightly less than the two packed cups called for, but it was still a lot of mint. I’m not a mint fan and I’d like to think I really stepped out of my comfort zone with this dish as a result. Together with its fellow pesto ingredients, it actually is pretty pleasing on the ‘ole tongue.
And that’s it for the sauce! That’s all it takes to make a delicious one for this recipe. No cooking it, no long simmering. Whoever invented the stuff deserves a medal.
The recipe calls for dredging the shrimp in “instant flour”. Color me confounded, but I decided I wasn’t going to buy a specialty ingredient I wasn’t likely to use again or often enough to justify it. I’m also just not a fan of frying foods – though I will eat and profess my love for fried shrimp wholeheartedly. I just don’t want to fry them myself, and I also felt the dish would be better if it was a little healthier. Sauteing the shrimp in a few spices worked perfectly. It’s also quick. Yeehaaaw.
I noticed a couple of weeks ago that my grocery store was carrying a new whole wheat pasta from Mueller’s. I’ve been wanting to find a healthier pasta that didn’t make me want to cough it right back up…I think I’ve found it. The spaghetti I can at least attest to being pretty darn good. It wasn’t full of wheat-ish granules and it didn’t get that glue-like texture after cooking that many I’ve tried before have. Now if only they’d make it in more pasta shapes!
But back to this wonderful dish. What could be better than throwing together a sauce you didn’t have to cook, a few easily sauteed shrimp and some pasta? On top of that pile of awesome, you’ve made it a pretty healthy dish that tastes great. Nothing left to do but enjoy.
Spaghetti with Pesto & Shrimp
Adapted from Food Network Magazine, March 2012
Prep Time: 20 minutes Cook Time: 20 minutes Level: Easy Serves: 4-6
- Kosher salt
- 2 cups drained canned San Marzano tomatoes (about 8 tomatoes)
- 2 cups packed fresh basil leaves
- 2 cups packed fresh mint leaves
- 1/2 cup sliced almonds, lightly toasted
- 2 cloves garlic
- 1 teaspoon finely grated orange zest
- 1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for shrimp
- 1 pound bucatini or spaghetti
- 1-2 teaspoons garlic powder
- 2 teaspoons Italian seasoning blend
- 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- salt and pepper, to taste
- 1 pound extra-large shrimp, peeled and deveined
- 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
In a bowl, combine the shrimp, garlic powder, Italian seasoning, red pepper flakes and two teaspoons of olive oil. Stir to combine and season with salt and pepper to taste. Set aside
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Meanwhile, make the pesto: Process the tomatoes, basil, mint, almonds, garlic, orange zest and 1 teaspoon salt in a food processor until combined. With the motor running, gradually add 1/3 cup olive oil in a steady stream and blend to make a coarse pesto, scraping down the sides of the processor as needed. Transfer the pesto to a large bowl; do not wash out the processor.
Add the bucatini or spaghetti to the boiling water and cook as the label directs. Meanwhile, heat a large skillet over medium heat. Cook the shrimp for about five minutes on one side, then flip and cook for another five minutes or until shrimp are pink and slightly browned.
Remove the pasta with tongs (reserve the cooking water) and transfer to the bowl with the pesto; toss to coat. If the pasta seems dry, rinse the food processor with 1/2 cup of the reserved cooking water and add to the pasta, a little at a time. Season with salt. Add the cheese and toss. Drizzle the pasta with olive oil and divide among bowls; top with the shrimp.