I wanted to clean out my veggie drawer and thought about tossing a bunch of lightly sautéed summer-fresh veggies with some whole wheat pasta. It turned out that I had some shrimp on hand too, so this recipe came about as a way to combine all these flavors and still come up with something fresh and bright tasting. It couldn’t be simpler! You just chop the herbs and veggies, sauté some bacon and then cook the veggies and shrimp in the same pan. Then add the pasta and liquid, and finish with fresh herbs, lemon and parmesan cheese. I lightened it up by using low sodium, fat free chicken broth, center cut (lower fat) bacon, whole wheat pasta and just a touch of olive oil, but you can be more indulgent if you want! This dish is good hot or room temperature and fancy enough for company, yet economical, easy and quick enough for a mid-week supper. You can omit the bacon if you prefer and just use a bit more olive oil, and you can also substitute whatever fresh summer veggies you like or have on hand. Be creative!
6 pieces of center cut (lower fat) bacon
1 small Vidalia (or other sweet) onion
3 cloves of garlic, minced
1 small zucchini, seeded and diced
1 lb. Large shrimp, peeled and deveined
1 box whole wheat or multi-grain pasta – spaghetti or angel hair is best
1 cup green peas (fresh preferred, but frozen is fine)
4 cups baby spinach leaves
1 pint cherry tomatoes, cut into halves
½ cup fresh basil, chopped
¼ cup fresh parsley, chopped
1 cup reduced sodium chicken broth
1/3 cup grated parmesan cheese
2 Tbsp Olive Oil
Salt and Pepper to Taste
Saute the bacon until crisp in a large nonstick pan. Remove bacon to drain on paper towels. Keep drippings in pan. If you use full fat bacon, you probably want to remove about half of the drippings at this point. While the bacon is cooking, be sure you have your veggies and herbs all chopped and your shrimp cleaned. Also, boil some salted water in a large pot to cook the pasta as directed to al dente. Once the bacon is removed from the pan, sauté the onions and garlic for 3-5 minutes. Add zucchini and shrimp and continue to sauté over medium heat until shrimp are opaque. Add the cherry tomatoes and sauté for 2 minutes, then add the chicken broth and reduce heat to low to simmer. Season to taste with a bit of salt and pepper.
The pasta should be nearly done now in the other pot. Add the spinach and peas for the last few minutes of cooking. When the pasta is done, before draining, take about 2 ladles of the starchy pasta water and add to the sauté pan with the shrimp and veggies. Now add the drained pasta to the sauté pan and toss. Crumble the cooked bacon and add to the pasta. Finish the dish with the chopped herbs, salt and pepper, a drizzle of the best quality olive oil you can find, the juice and zest of one or tow lemon(s), and the parmesan cheese. Toss and serve.
We had this as Sunday supper with a luscious bottle of California Chardonnay and a radicchio and endive salad with balsamic vinegar, olive oil and walnuts. It was perfect! We finished up with great big wedges of watermelon for a real taste of summer! Enjoy!!