Pesto is one of those bold, flavor-packed additions that can easily overpower more delicate ingredients, but it's also delicious for that very same reason. Maybe it's the brightness of the basil or some childhood association that I can't recall, but it always reminds me of spring and summer. I love swirling it into steamy noodles and topping it with toasted pine nuts for extra crunch and nuttiness for a quick and easy meal.
To save time, I bought basil pesto but you can easily make your own. I added tomatoes and shrimp to complete this dish but you could easily skip them and try using chicken or a vegetarian version. Save some of the pasta cooking water just in case you want to loosen up the sauce if it seems dry. I only ended up using about a 1/4 of a cup of the water, but I would experiment with adding a little at a time and tossing it together until it reaches a consistency that you're happy with.
Overall, this is an easy weeknight meal that can be thrown together quickly with just a few ingredients. It also makes for great leftovers.
- 1/4 cup pine nuts
- 3 cups water
- 1/2 pound linguini, broken in half
- 2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
- 10 to 12 cherry tomatoes, quartered
- 1 1/2 pounds medium or large shrimp, peeled and deveined
- 3/4 cup bails pesto, preferably homemade
- 1/2 cup fresh basil, roughly chopped
Place pinenuts in a 12-inch skillet and heat over high heat, tossing and stirring frequently until lightly toasted. Transfer to a bowl and set aside.
Heat the water in a 12-inch skillet over high heat until boiling and heavily salt it until it tastes like the sea. Add the linguine and cook, stirring occasionally, until al dente, about 8 minutes. Drain, reserving 1 cup of the pasta water, and transfer to a bowl. Toss with 1/2 tablespoon olive oil and set aside.
Wipe out the skillet, and heat remaining 1 1/2 tablespoons oil over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add the tomatoes and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, 2 to 3 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Push the tomatoes to the side and add the shrimp, seasoning those with salt and pepper on both sides. Cook until pink and opaque, about 4 minutes total, flipping once half way through cooking.
Add the pasta back to the pan, stir in the pesto and pine nuts until combined. Add reserved pasta water as necessary, adding a little at a time until it reacjes desired consistency. Season with salt and pepper, transfer to warm serving bowls, top with basil, and serve.