Whats that you smell? Why yes, IT IS homemade basil pesto. Still questioning how fancy I can get? Hold on to your seat, its all adventure from here! 🙂
So yesterday I had a super tasty experience at a Italian restaurant chain in Rotterdam called Vapiano. I liked what I ordered so much, I had to try recreating it! So a little elbow grease and some experimenting in the kitchen gave me this dish, which in my opinion, is pretty close to the original thing. In retrospect I would not grind the basil and pinenuts so finely next time, as it looses some of its fun color and dulls the flavor a bit.
Shrimp Basil Pesto Pasta with Spinach
( 😮 who the heck made up that name?! Me. That’s who.)
2 cups peeled and diveined shrimp (or diced chicken if you’re not into shrimp like that)
1/3 cup of pine nuts
3-4 handfuls of fresh basil
1 – 1 ½ cups heavy cream
4-5 cloves of garlic minced
1 shallot or small yellow onion finely diced
2 handfuls of fresh leaf spinach (like the kind you make with a salad, no canned stuffs please!)
Crushed red pepper- optional (For that person who needs a little spice in their life)
Ok, so this gets really easy, really fast. Mince the onion, garlic, and basil.
With mortar and pestle, or food processor for those futuristic space tools at their disposal, grind the pine nuts and minced basil together with a dash of olive oil, until it becomes a slightly creamy green goo.
It is important to note that many like their pesto a little differently, so you need to decide if you like yours crushed super fine or fairly coarse. I think I prefer coarser pesto, but it’s all up to you.
Toss the onion and garlic into a skillet with a dash of olive oil and let it simmer.
Start boiling water in a deep saucepan to prepare for cooking your pasta noodles. Don’t forget to sprinkle in a little salt.
Once the garlic and onion has softened, add the freshly made pesto to the pan. How much you add really depends on your preference. I use about ¾ of the mixture and save the rest for later.
At this point you should add your pasta to the boiling water and let it cook for approximately 8 minutes.
While the pasta is cooking, add the shrimp to the garlic, onion and pesto mixture in the pan and stir a few times. Then add your cream.
When your pasta has fully cooked, drain the excess water and add the noodles to your mixture.
Stir the noodles mixture while letting it cook on a medium high heat. When most of the cream sauce has evaporated, throw in two handfuls of spinach and stir in the pan until the spinach has cooked down slightly.
You’re done! Serve it up in a bowl with some garlic bread and call it a day!