I can’t get this meal out of my mind! I blame the walnut pesto sauce, the plump sweet shrimp, the fresh tender string beans, and the chewy rotini pasta.
Because one humble ingredient can cause a meal to be entirely unforgettable but the sum of its parts deserves credit too.
The fresh, earthy pesto walnut sauce ties everything together, enhancing and bringing out everyone’s best qualities.
If you have the pesto sauce made ahead of time, which I recommend to let the flavors marry and mingle, then this comes together in the short time it takes to cook pasta.
Trim the string beans while the water toils to a boil then toss them right in with the pasta. Or, if you prefer, put your steamer basket right over the pasta and steam your little string bean’s heart out.
While the pasta and beans cook saute the shrimp.
Toss all that deliciousness together with the pesto sauce and call it dinner time.
No one has to know how fast and easy it really was to create.
Because it will appear as if you slaved over the hot stove for at least an hour.
If not longer.
- 8 ounces rotini or penne pasta
- 1 pound medium or large raw shrimp, cleaned, deveined and tails off
- 2 cups string beans, ends trimmed, cut in half
- ½ - ¾ cup pesto sauce (recipe follows)
- parmesan cheese, for serving
- 4 packed cups fresh basil leaves
- ¾ cup extra-virgin olive oil
- ½ cup fresh Parmesan, grated
- ⅓ cup chopped walnuts
- 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
- coarse salt
- Cook the pasta and string beans together in plenty of salted water to al dente, being sure to reserve ¼ cup of the pasta water before draining.
- Meanwhile, in a large skillet heat a tablespoon of olive oil over medium heat, add shrimp, season well with salt and pepper and cook until they begin to curl. Remove from heat.
- Mix pasta, beans, shrimp, ½ cup pesto and pasta water together. Add more pesto if needed. Serve immediately with Parmesan cheese.
- Blanch basil leaves in boiling water for 30 seconds, remove and immediately plunge into a large bowl of ice water. Drain and dry well on paper towels.
- Toast walnuts in a dry skillet over medium heat, stirring often about 5 minutes.
- Add all ingredients to the bowl of a food processor and blend until smooth. Season to taste with salt. Store tightly covered in a glass jar in refrigerator up to 1 week.