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Pea & Shrimp Penne with Basil

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Serves 4

  • To learn more, read:
    Peas from the Pod
  • by Annie Wayte from Fine Cooking
    Issue 92

Not only do peas announce the arrival of spring, but they're also sweet, tender, and take only a few minutes to cook, particularly when they're very fresh and young, which makes them a perfect ingredient for fast weeknight dishes or busy weekend meals. We recommend penne for this dish, but you can use other short pastas like rigatoni or ziti if you like.

  • 1-1/2 lb. shrimp (21 to 25 per lb.), peeled, deveined, and cut in half lengthwise
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh basil
  • 5 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 Tbs. finely grated lemon zest
  • Kosher salt
  • 1-1/2 cups fresh shelled peas (about 1-1/2 lb. unshelled) or frozen peas
  • 3/4 lb. dried penne
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/3 cup finely diced shallots
  • 1 tsp. minced garlic
  • 3/4 tsp. seeded and minced hot fresh chile, such as Thai bird or serrano
  • 2 oz. arugula, trimmed, washed, and dried (about 2 lightly packed cups)

Toss the shrimp with half of the basil, 2 Tbs. of the olive oil, and the lemon zest. Cover and refrigerate for about 30 minutes.

Bring a large pot of well-salted water to a boil over high heat. Put the peas in a large metal sieve and dip them into the boiling water. Cook until just tender, 2 to 4 minutes. Lift the sieve from the water, let the peas drain, and then spread them on a baking sheet in a single layer to cool.

Add the pasta to the boiling water and cook, following the package directions, until al dente. Reserve 1/2 cup of the cooking water and drain the pasta.

Meanwhile, take the shrimp out of the fridge and season them lightly with salt and pepper. Heat the remaining 3 Tbs. oil in a 12-inch skillet over medium heat. Add the shallots, garlic, chile, and a pinch of salt and cook, stirring occasionally, until the shallots are soft and lightly browned, about 2 minutes. Add the shrimp and continue to cook, stirring, until the shrimp have turned pink and are almost cooked through, 2 to 3 minutes. Stir in the peas and remove from the heat.

Return the drained pasta to its pot and add the shrimp mixture and 2 Tbs. of the pasta water. Cook over medium heat until the shrimp are completely cooked through, about 1 minute more. Toss the arugula and the remaining basil into the pasta. Add more pasta water as necessary to keep the pasta moist and continue tossing until the arugula is wilted, about 1 minute. Season to taste with salt and pepper and serve immediately.

Serving Suggestions

Start off the meal with a Classic Caesar Salad.  

nutrition information (per serving):
Calories (kcal): 660; Fat (g): 20; Fat Calories (kcal): 180; Saturated Fat (g): 3; Protein (g): 43; Monounsaturated Fat (g): 13; Carbohydrates (g): 74; Polyunsaturated Fat (g): 3; Sodium (mg): 880; Cholesterol (mg): 250; Fiber (g): 7;

Photo: Scott Phillips

Great combination of seasonal ingredients! Love it with wild key west pink shrimp I also swapped spinach for arugula. And topped with a little Parmesan. Yum!

My family loves this recipe. I make it as written. My two kids (5 and 7) cheer when they know this is for dinner. I agree it's not a "wow" recipe with big flavors, but the simple, delicate flavors are well-balanced and delicious. I make this about once a month but would make it more often if I kept shrimp on hand in the freezer (I use jumbo shrimp from costco and they work well).

Well, it was good, but not great. Will not make again. I make all recipes "as is" the first time around and it just didn't cut it for us.

Excellent and easy. 2:1 ratio of shrimp to pasta is right on. I reduced fat by using 1 Tbl olive oil in the marinade, and 1 Tbl to saute shallots--- that was perfect. I used spinach rather than arugula, a half a jalapeno, and I threw the peas into the pasta pot in the last two minutes of cooking time to simplify. A wonderful weeknight meal.

I made this for the second time last night. This time I increased the peas to two cups and the arugula to 3 oz. I also used a full pound of penne since I hate having 1/4 pound of leftover pasta to deal with later. I did have to add more cooking water. This is an excellent, light, easy to make meal for summer.

This recipe is great. I didn't have any peas so I used fresh asparagus. It seems that with so few ingredients it would be bland, but it was very flavorful. Even my picky eater husband liked it.

This recipe was great, really easy, and really fresh, with just the right amount of basil.

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