We do love our pasta around here, and I’m all about putting together meals with food we’ve already got on hand, even when we have house guests. My mom and aunt were visiting again, and last time, I made butternut squash risotto. To please my carb-loving relatives without being repetitive, I opted for a pasta dinner one night. I had pesto left over from the panini, so I opted to turn it into a sauce. I needed to use up some random veggies in my fridge, so I paired those with some frozen shrimp and the pesto cream, and TTP #3 was born.
Throw Together Pasta: Version 3
The Farmer’s Market Version
1 lb. pasta (I used rigatoni)
1 bunch spinach, washed and trimmed
1 bunch asparagus, washed
1 lb. shrimp, cleaned and deveined
4-6 slices bacon
1 medium onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 c. chicken stock
2/3 c. pesto, leftover
1/2 c. fat-free half & half
1 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
salt & pepper
Bring a large pot of water to a boil over high heat. Salt the water liberally, then add the pasta and cook al dente (according to package directions).
In the meantime, chop the bacon into 1″ pieces. Cook in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Remove to a paper towel-covered plate using a slotted spoon. If you have an excessive amount of bacon grease, pour it out. I had less than a tablespoon, so I left it in the pan. Add the olive oil to the skillet. Once the oil is hot, in goes the diced onion and garlic. Cook until onion is translucent, being careful not to let the garlic brown.
Chop the asparagus into pieces about 2″ long and add to the pan. Add chicken stock and bring to a simmer. Cook two minutes, then add shrimp and spinach to the pan and cover. Once spinach has wilted, stir in cooked pasta.
In a small bowl or measuring cup, whisk together pesto and half & half. Pour over the pasta and toss to coat. Add salt and pepper to taste. Serve with grated cheese – we like asiago!