There’s nothing like making pasta a little more exciting, and one of the best ways to do that is by adding both sauce and proteins to it. One great combination is the fresh taste of pesto with the buttery, meatiness of properly cooked shrimp. When combined with an al dente pasta, you’ve got a meal that will satisfy the entire family — as well as one that comes together in almost no time.
What Goes Into a Quality Pesto?
At its core, pesto is a mix of basil, garlic and olive oil. Other common additions include pine nuts and Parmesan cheese, but most versions of pesto will incorporate garlic, olive oil and a fresh herb, usually basil. Basil is a big part of a good homemade pesto because a little bit of basil provides a large amount of flavor, so a home chef can get a lot out of it. When it’s been properly prepared, the pesto will be easy to mix into the pasta, providing a new layer of flavor in every bite.
What Other Variations Exist?
Nothing says that pesto has to be made with basil. Some people don’t like the flavor, some find it too hard to keep basil fresh long enough for them to use it and some would simply prefer to use another green herb for their pesto. If any of those apply, there’s nothing wrong with using tarragon, mint, cilantro or even beet greens. Any of those options can give you a green, flavorful pesto that will work wonderfully with the pasta and the shrimp.
Why Use Shrimp With Pesto?
If you’ve ever had shrimp scampi, you know that shrimp works excellently with buttery flavors and a little bit of herbs. Plus, shrimp doesn’t take long to get attached to the flavors that are commonly associated with a quality pasta and pesto. While some proteins might need several minutes to properly absorb the flavors that you want to get in your dish, shrimp cooks in almost no time and marries with the flavors even quicker. In short, it’s an ideal protein for the busy home cook who needs to get dinner on the table in minutes.
What Pasta Works Best With Pesto Shrimp?
When you’re making a pasta dish of any kind, you want to be sure that you choose a pasta that fits well with the sauce you want to use. Pesto is an oil-based sauce, so it’s a good choice for either long, thin pasta or for twisting, ridged pasta that the sauce can cling to. A pasta like linguine or fettucine makes a great pairing with shrimp and pesto, as it works well with oil and buttery flavors and makes a good bed for the shrimp.
How Do I Make Creamy Pesto Shrimp?
First, you’ll need to decide if you want to make your own pesto or use a store-bought version. If you have time, go for a fresh pesto, but a store-bought version will be fine if you need to save minutes. In either case, the first thing you need to do is get the water boiling so you can prepare your pasta. Cook your pasta al dente and start preparing your sauce, either by making your pesto or mixing butter, cream and pesto together. Once the sauce has thickened, add your shrimp and cook until the shrimp are opaque and curled. Serve over your pasta and get ready to enjoy!
Getting more freshness and more lean protein into their diets is a goal that most people have, and this dish provides both of those things at once. When you throw in how quickly all of the ingredients come together, this dish is a perfect fit for most families!