When I need dinner in a hurry, I often throw whatever I have on hand into pasta. I usually have shrimp in my freezer, tomatoes in my fridge, pasta in my pantry and basil on my window sill. (It’s even better if you have it in your garden, but I live in a condo and that is not an option. Whenever I find fresh basil in a pot at my supermarket or Costco, I buy it and it lasts for months on my sunny kitchen window.)
But you don’t need basil to make this recipe. It is meant to be a throw-for-all—-throw in whatever you have on hand or want to get rid of. Feel free to sub any herb, or leave it out altogether or in a pinch, add a fave dried herb.
If you don’t like shrimp, chicken works, as does almost any protein. Think of this recipe as a guide. It’s a great way to use up leftovers. I usually drizzle my best EVOO over everything before serving and then top with Parm.
Pasta with Shrimp, Peas & Cherry Tomatoes
2 oz. gigli pasta, or any other short pasta
2 cups fresh peas (or frozen)
1 tablespoon plus 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, divided
Dash red pepper flakes or Aleppo pepper flakes
1 lb. large shrimp, shelled and deveined
3 cups cherry tomatoes, tri-color if available, halved or quartered or whole tomatoes, cored, seeded and chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
½ cup fresh basil, julienned
Juice of half a lemon
Shredded or grated Parmesan cheese, for serving
Cook pasta as directed on package. Add peas the last 5 minutes of cooking.
Meanwhile, in a large skillet, preferably nonstick, heat 1 tablespoon olive oil over medium high heat. Add pepper flakes. Salt and pepper shrimp and and cook, turning, until pink, 3 to 4 minutes. Remove to a bowl.
Add 2 tablespoons olive oil to skillet. Stir in tomatoes and toss until heated through. Stir in garlic and cook 1 minute. If pasta isn’t ready, turn off heat.
When pasta is al dente, drain it over a bowl reserving 1/3 cup of the cooking water. Return pasta to pot.
Add shrimp to skillet. Add pasta water and cook, stirring quickly, until heated through. Pour over pasta, add basil, toss, season with salt, pepper and a sqeeze of lemon and serve with Parmesan cheese.
Makes 4 servings.