You know how sometimes a meal just makes you happy? Hits all the right notes and satisfies all your senses? This pasta primavera with shrimp is one of those meals. I kind of improvised it from ingredients I had around, and magic happened!
Improv in the kitchen = fun
Pasta primavera typically includes a variety of fresh spring vegetables. I had fresh asparagus, red and yellow bell peppers, and cherry tomatoes. I also happened to have some fresh homemade whole wheat pasta I had made a couple of weeks before and frozen. This started to spell Pasta primavera to me…
All I had to do was add some garlic, red onion, and from my freezer some frozen peas and a bag of frozen shrimp for a little extra protein.
Timing is everything
I like roasted vegetables so much that I decided to roast as much as I could to make this dish. Roasting provides a wonderful caramelization (aka the Maillard reaction for food scientists) that is hard to replicate in a pan where vegetables get crowded and render more water. The trick was getting my timing right.
I figured tomatoes, bell peppers and onions would take about 25 minutes in the oven. Asparagus and shrimp only about 12 to 15. Fresh pasta and peas about 6 minutes in boiling water.
So off I was. Oven pre-heating at 400F. Water set to boil for the pasta. First, I chopped the bell peppers, sliced the onion, halved the tomatoes, and sliced some garlic. Tossed all in a bowl with a tablespoon olive oil, and off to the oven on a parchment lined baking sheet. Set a timer for 15 minutes.
Next, I cut the asparagus in big chunks, tossed them into the same bowl with olive oil, and threw them onto a second baking sheet. Then it was the shrimp’s turn to go in the bowl. Another drizzle of olive oil, a pinch of red pepper flakes and the juice of half a lemon. Onto the sheet with the asparagus.
After the bell peppers and tomatoes had been in the oven for 15 minutes, I added the second sheet with the shrimp and asparagus and set a timer for 12 minutes.
Meanwhile, the water was starting to boil. I added my pasta and peas once the shrimp was in the oven. Let it boil for 6 minutes.
Happy together = party time
Now it was time to put everything together.
I reserved 1/2 cup of pasta water, drained the rest and placed the pasta and peas in my serving dish.
By then, the veggie sheet was ready to take out of the oven. I seasoned them with a pinch of salt and pepper and poured everything on top of the pasta.
Next were the shrimp and asparagus. They joined the party, along with all the juices from the sheet pan. A big handful of shredded Parmesan, the reserved pasta water. Wished I had some fresh basil to throw in there but I didn’t… Tossed everything together. And ba-da-bang! My Pasta primavera with shrimp was ready!
You can obviously make this recipe with dry pasta instead of fresh. Just adjust the cooking time accordingly. Add your pasta to the boiling water first, then add the peas later so they get about 6 minutes of cooking time. Overcooked peas are not interesting at all.
Fresh basil would be a great addition to this dish, slivered and tossed in before serving.
You could make this a vegetarian meal by omitting the shrimp, it would still be delicious.
Other recipes you might like:
Pasta primavera with shrimp
- 1 Colander
- 1 Pasta serving bowl
- 1 cup cherry tomatoes halved
- 1 red bell pepper sliced
- 1 yellow bell pepper sliced
- 1/2 red onion sliced
- 4 cloves garlic sliced
- 1 lb asparagus
- 1 cup green peas, frozen
- 1 lb shrimp (defrosted if using frozen)
- 1 pinch red pepper flakes
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1/2 lemon
- 1/2 cup shredded Parmesan
- 1/4 tsp kosher salt
- 1/4 tsp fresh ground pepper
- 8 oz whole wheat pasta fresh or dry
- 1/4 cup fresh basil slivered
- Pre-heat oven at 400°F. Position one rack in the lower third and one in the upper third.
- Fill pasta pot with water and a handful of salt. Bring to a boil.
- Chop the bell peppers, halve the tomatoes, slice the onion and garlic, and place in a large bowl. Toss with a tablespoon olive oil. Spread them out on a parchment lined baking sheet and place in the oven. Set a timer for 15 minutes.
- Cut the asparagus in big chunks, toss them into the same bowl with 1/2 tbsp olive oil, and spread them onto a second baking sheet.
- Place defrosted shrimp in the same bowl. Add another 1/2 tbsp of olive oil, a pinch of red pepper flakes and the juice of half a lemon. Toss and spread on the sheet with the asparagus.
- After the sheet with bell peppers and tomatoes has been in the oven for 15 minutes, add the second sheet with the shrimp and asparagus. Set a timer for 12 minutes.
- Once the shrimp is in the oven, add pasta to the boiling water. If using fresh, set timer for 4 to 6 minutes. If using dry, follow manufacturer's recommendation for al dente pasta. Add frozen peas to the pasta 6 minutes before the end of the pasta's cooking time (or at the same time as the pasta if you are using fresh).
- Reserve 1/2 cup of pasta water, drain the rest and place pasta and peas in a serving dish.
- The bell peppers and tomatoes should be ready to take out of the oven (about 25 minutes total cooking time). Season them with a pinch of salt and pepper and pour everything on top of the pasta.
- Check on the shrimp and asparagus, they should be ready (12 to 15 minutes cooking time). Pour them on top of the pasta and vegetables, along with all the juices from the sheet pan.
- Add a big handful of shredded Parmesan (save some for serving), the reserved pasta water, and slivered basil. Toss everything together.
- Served topped with the rest of the shredded Parmesan.