Cilantro Almond Pesto Shrimp Pasta
with sweet cherry tomatoes, red onion and freshly grated Asiago cheese
Ever since my first taste of cilantro almond pesto, I’ve been dreaming of a pasta recipe, wondering what it would taste like. It entered my dreams in various permutations … sometimes simply the lovely pesto on the pasta, sometimes it had vegetables along with it, sometimes chicken, I wondered maybe some black beans? Hmm … I found some amazing cherry tomatoes at the grocery store that surprisingly taste like fresh garden tomatoes and had decided those were a MUST in my pasta, but it wasn’t until I started to actually make the pasta vision in my mind that I stumbled across some frozen shrimp in my freezer and thought “of course! SHRIMP!”
I used a quinoa/corn rotini pasta for this recipe, which was absolutely delicious and incidentally gluten free, but certainly you could use any rotini-type pasta. Use a shape that has swirls or ridges, though, to snatch up and hold that yummy cilantro pesto. This is, incidentally, an incredibly quick dish to prepare. Mine was done within 30 minutes (which was very good, because I was hoping I had a bit of daylight left so I could photograph it!)
Admittedly, I can be a little overzealous about cilantro, so please adjust the amount of pesto accordingly if you are not quite such a lavish lover of cilantro. If you happen to be one of those who doesn’t care for cilantro, try another pesto in it’s stead. I’m quite sure either a regular basil pesto or a pesto rosso would be amazing in this dish, too, but I have to tell you, I REALLY enjoyed the different twist of cilantro and almonds lending flavor to my pasta.
- 4 oz. rotini pasta (I used a quinoa corn pasta, which was delicious, but you can use whatever pasta you like)
- 1 1/2 cups fresh or frozen medium shrimp
- 1 teaspoon olive oil
- 1/3 cup chopped red onion
- 1 clove garlic, peeled and chopped fine
- 1 small sweet pepper, chopped (a couple tablespoons)
- 1/4 cup cilantro almond pesto (recipe here)
- 1/2 cup halved cherry tomatoes
- Cook the pasta according to package directions.
- While the pasta is cooking, chop the onion, garlic, pepper, and tomatoes. If your shrimp is frozen, set a strainer out and set the frozen shrimp in the strainer. Pour the pasta into the strainer (this will help "quick thaw" the shrimp).
- Take the pan you cooked the pasta in, add a teaspoon of olive oil, and swirl it around the pan to coat the bottom as much as possible. Add the onion, garlic, and sweet pepper and sautee over medium heat for a few minutes until the onion is soft and translucent, stirring constantly.
- Add the pasta, shrimp, pesto and tomatoes, reduce heat to medium low and cook, stirring frequently, just until the shrimp is cooked through, pink in color and hot to the touch.
- Serve hot. Top each serving with about 2 Tablespoons of freshly shredded Asiago cheese and garnish with fresh cilantro or basil flowers and/or leaves.