Penne + Shrimp & Cilantro Pesto

From the beginning of our relationship Bryan knew I was a foodie – he may have known before we even met since all I contributed to the camping gear was food.  We met on a camping trip up in Ludington back in September 2011.  On that trip, I brought a ton of food.  On our second “meeting”, I made a delicious meal while up north skiing in Boyne.  Third date, I prepared homemade pasta carbonara for him in Chicago.  Needless to say, he caught on for my love for food and knew he had to step it up on his kitchen knowledge.

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The first homemade meal Bryan prepared for me was this Shrimp Pasta with Cilantro Pesto.  We lived together at this time and for the most part I had done most of the meal prep.  However, one day he said he was going to try out a recipe and cook for me.  I was very excited and came home to find him in the kitchen adorning an apron.  He was slowly removing each leaf of cilantro off of the stem.  It took him a really long time to pull off all those leaves and I didn’t mention that you can use a little bit of the stems., but I won’t forget him tearing all those leaves.. it was his meal, his preparation and boy was it good.

This dish has become a regular in our weeknight meal rotation.  Super quick to make, minimal dishes and a delicious and satisfying result.  Do you remember my Tilapia with Cilantro pesto post?  This pesto is basically the same, but with a couple adaptations to the pesto.  It is made a bit thinner so that it coats the pasta nicely.  Also, I don’t use nuts because I want to avoid the nutty flavor in order to maximize the cilantro flavor.  Over the years, we have tweaked our version of the pesto and continue to make improvements to it.

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I strongly recommend this dish when entertaining guests too.  It is a very pretty dish and since it is easy to make (pesto can be made ahead) you have more time to hang out with your guests instead of spending the whole evening by the stove.  Use whole grain penne, wild caught shrimp and organic ingredients in the pesto for a clean & wholesome meal.

Penne + shrimp & cilantro pesto

Recipe by:  Sara
Prep Time:  15 minutes   |||   Cook TIme: 8-10 minutes   |||   Servings: 4  |||   Difficulty: Low

Ingredients:
half box whole grain penne pasta
1 lb wild caught shrimp, peeled & deveined
2 bushels of cilantro, leaves only
1 garlic clove
1 lemon, juiced
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 cup pasta water
1/4 cup grated fresh parmesan
1 tsp dried oregano
dash of cayenne pepper
salt and pepper

Directions
1.  Bring a pot of salted water to a boil, add penna when boiling and cook according to package directions.  Reserve about 1 1/2 cups of the water once the pasta is drained.
2.  Meanwhile, in a food processor combine the cilantro, parmesan, oil, garlic, and seasonings.  Pulse until combined then slowly add 1/4 cup of water at a time, pulsing until smooth.
3.  Heat the oven to 350 degrees.  Season the shrimp with salt and pepper.  Cook for about 4 minutes.  Remove from oven and set aside.
4.  In the pasta pot, combine the pesto, shrimp and pasta.  Stir to combine and season with salt and pepper.
5.  Serve with additional parmesan cheese.

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Enjoy & have a wonderful weekend!!

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Spaghetti with Kale Pesto

Hi everyone!  Happy Tuesday :)  My blogger friend, Becca at Two Places at Once contacted me to do a guest post on her blog while she is off getting married.  If you’ve been a frequent reader, you will remember that we did a swap back in February.  Blueberry Scones on this blog & Steamed Mussels on hers.  Of course, I didn’t pass up the opportunity to appear on her blog.

I love pesto, but my basil plant is not yet producing enough leaves so I put a spin on it & tried kale!  It was super delicious so head over to Two Places at Once to see my post & the recipe!

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Tilapia with Cilantro Pesto

{delicious. healthy. quick.}

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Fish is always a go-to choice in our house.  It is healthy, cooks quickly, and so versatile to prepare.  I needed a quick weeknight meal and was thinking about a parmesan crusted tilapia fillet with traditional pesto.  Since basil season has come to an end the price was a bit high for how much is needed to make a decent amount.  I decided to switch it up a bit and try a cilantro pesto.  Bryan made a cilantro sauce to go over linguine and shrimp one time.  This recipe was pretty similar except since it is not cooked.  If you are looking for something really flavorful, but quick this is a perfect meal.  The pesto can be served over any type of fish, chicken or like I said pasta.

tilapia with cilantro pesto

HANDS ON TIME: 15 MINUTES   ///   COOK TIME: 8 MINUTES   ///   SERVES: 2

Ingredients
2 tilapia fillets
1 bushel of cilantro, remove all/most stems
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/4 cup + 2 Tbsp grated parmesan cheese
1/4 cup walnuts
1/2 lemon
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup water + additional tablespoon a time if needed
salt and pepper
cherry tomatoes [for garnish]

1.  Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
2.  Season the fish with salt and pepper.  Then sprinkle with 2 Tbsp of parmesan.
3.  In a food processor, add the cilantro, walnuts, parmesan, garlic, lemon, and olive oil.
4.  Process until combined and slowly drizzle in the water.  Process again.  Add more water if needed to make the consistency thick, but not too chunky or too watery.
5.  Place pesto in the fridge.
6.  Place the fish on a greased baking sheet and cook about 7-8 minutes, depending on thickness of the fillets.
7.  Immediately top with cilantro pesto when done and garnish with cherry tomatoes.

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enjoy.xoxosara

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