Pesto Linguine Shrimp & Roasted Tomatoes
Farmer’s market season makes it so easy for runners to eat healthily; there are so many fresh vegetables to choose from to create lighter summertime comfort foods! One of my favorite recipes to make that uses fresh garden produce is homemade pesto! Pesto can be made many ways; it really is all about personal preference when it comes to the texture and proportions of ingredients. I really enjoy when the pesto is nutty and coarse, and my recipe reflects this.
I use this pesto on a ton of recipes and always keep several batches ready to go in my freezer- I spread it on turkey, tomato, and cheese sandwiches for weekday lunches and it makes a great marinade for grilled chicken! However, my favorite way to consume this garden goodness is in my mom’s pesto linguine with shrimp and roasted tomatoes recipe. It’s a fantastic lighter pasta dish that is my go-to pre-long run meal in the summer!
Related: How to Prepare for a Long Run
Pesto Linguine with Shrimp and Roasted Tomatoes
Time: 30 minutes
2 cups fresh basil
½ lb. linguine
½ cup pine nuts
4 oz. parmesan cheese, cut into chunks
¾ cup olive oil, plus 3 tbsp. additional
2 cups cherry or grape tomatoes
½ tsp salt
½ tsp pepper
½ cup red onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, skins removed
2 tbsp. butter
¾ lb. shrimp, shells and tails removed
1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees and get a large pot of water boiling for the pasta.
2. In a large, high-sided skillet, toast the pine nuts over medium-low heat. Shake them around in the pan every 30 seconds- 1 minute to keep them moving and ensure that they don’t burn. They are done toasting when they start to smell nutty and the nuts get a brown color on them, about 3 minutes. Set aside in the bowl of a food processor to cool.
3. Add two garlic cloves and the parmesan cheese to the food processor.
4. Run the food processor until the nuts, garlic, and cheese are chopped to a coarse mixture.
5. By this time your oven should have preheated. Drizzle the cherry tomatoes with 1 tbsp olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Place in the oven and roast until tomatoes reach your desired state. I love when the tomatoes roast until they burst and have some caramelization, which takes about 20 minutes! Set aside until you are ready to serve.
6. Salt the boiling pasta water and drop the pasta to cook according to package instructions. Before straining the pasta, reserve about ½ cup of the starchy pasta water.
7. Add basil to the food processor and run until the basil is coarsely chopped.
8. With the food processor running, slowly drizzle ½ cup of olive oil until the mixture has come together. I like my pesto to have a coarse texture rather than completely blended, so I try to stop the food processor as soon as the ingredients come together to maintain the texture.
9. Season with ½ tsp salt and ½ Tsp pepper and pulse the food processor until combined. Taste the pesto and add additional seasonings if desired.
10. In the same pan you toasted your pine nuts, heat 2 tbsp. butter and 2 tbsp. olive oil over medium heat.
11. Once the butter has fully melted, add in the onions and sauté for 5 minutes or until onions are soft.
12. Mince remaining garlic clove and add it to the pan. Sauté for 2 additional minutes, stirring frequently so that garlic does not burn.
13. Add the shrimp and sprinkle lightly with salt and pepper. Cook shrimp, stirring frequently, until shrimp turns pink and curls up, then remove the entire pan from the heat. This should take around 4 minutes or so- the shrimp should just be curling up and losing its transparency/turning pink when you remove the pan from the heat.
14. In the same pan with the shrimp, add the cooked pasta, 1 cup of pesto, and a splash of the pasta water. Mix vigorously- the pasta water should help loosen the pesto a bit and make it more into a creamy sauce (without the cream)! If you are struggling to mix the pesto thoroughly with the pasta, add another splash of the pasta water until it loosens enough. Add pesto until your noodles are coated.
15. To serve, plate the pasta/shrimp and top with the cherry tomatoes! If you mix the cherry tomatoes into the pasta they will get crushed and you will lose a lot of the burst of flavor they should provide. I also top with chopped basil and grated parmesan (optional).
- If you don’t have a food processor, you can make a blender work but you will need to help it a bit. To do this, mince the garlic, chop the pine nuts, and shred the parmesan cheese prior to placing into the blender to help it along. You will not be able to retain the coarse texture in the blender, but the flavors will still be there.
- Another (better) alternative to a food processor is to use a mortar and pestle. It’s more manual work, but the texture is far superior to pesto made with a food processor or blender
- Pine nuts are expensive; walnuts or almonds can easily be substituted to be more budget friendly.
- If you have extra pesto remaining, it freezes very well. Simply put the pesto in a freezer safe Ziplock bag and freeze!