I’m a pesto loving fool. I’m also a tomato loving fool. Thankfully, this dish has ’em both (plus super cool spiraled zucchini noodles). I’m a fool in love, and in this particular instance I’m referring to my dinner.
What do I love about this dish (other than the pesto and tomatoes?):
- The harmonious balance of slightly chewy al dente pasta and crunchy veg achieved through the combination of pasta noodles and zucchini noodles.
- The sweetness from the roasted garlic. Enough said.
- The toppings. Shrimp, garlic and herb panko breadcrumbs, lemon zest, fresh basil, and the parmesan cheese.
Spiral that fresh zucchini and slice up those pretty multi colored cherry tomatoes. Tear up that fresh basil, and take in that delicious aroma from the roasted garlic. Lady Summer is still hanging around for a while, and she loves when you get a little foolhardy with her fresh ingredients … she told me so.
- 1 pint cherry tomatoes, sliced in half
- 1/4 cup plus 1 tsp olive oil, divided
- 1/2 pound spaghetti (or 2 oz per person)
- 1/4 cup panko bread crumbs
- 1 small garlic clove, minced
- A small pinch of Herbs de Provence (or dried oregano)
- A small pinch of red pepper flakes
- 1 head roasted garlic, squeezed from skins, and mashed with a fork
- 1/2 cup pesto, homemade or store bought
- 3 zucchini, spiraled (use a vegetable spiral slicer or a julienne peeler)
- 1 lb large (16-20 count) shrimp, shelled and deveined (Ask your butcher for them this way. If you have to devein your own shrimp, follow these steps.)
- The zest from 1/2 of a lemon (approximately 1/2 tbsp)
- 1/4 cup fresh basil
- 1/4 cup freshly shaved Parmesan cheese
- Salt and freshly cracked pepper, to taste
- Reminder: If you haven’t already done so, roast your garlic now. This takes about 35 minutes!
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Line a sheet pan with parchment paper.
- Add the tomatoes to the sheet pan, drizzle with 1 tbsp olive oil, and sprinkle with salt. Toss to coat, then spread out into a single even layer. Roast for 20-25 minutes.
- Cook the spaghetti according to package instructions until al dente. You want the pasta to be tender but slightly firm to the bite. Drain, reserving 1/4 cup of starchy pasta water. Reserve pasta.
- Meanwhile, add 1 teaspoon olive oil, panko bread crumbs, minced garlic, Herbs de Provence, red pepper flakes, and a pinch of salt to a small skillet. Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until the breadcrumbs are toasted and fragrant. Remove from heat and reserve.
- Combine roasted garlic, pesto, and a few tablespoons of the reserved cooking water in a small boil. Stir to combine and reserve.
- Add 2 tbsp of olive oil to a large skillet over medium high heat. Add spiraled zucchini, salt, and freshly cracked black pepper. Cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally until zucchini is cooked through. (Note: Watch your spiraled zucchini carefully. You do not want it to overcook and become mushy. The goal is for it to retain a nice crunch.)
- Meanwhile, add 1 tbsp of olive oil to another large skillet over medium high heat. Season shrimp with salt and freshly cracked black pepper, and cook for 5 minutes until cooked through. Cover to keep warm and reserve.
- Once spiraled zucchini is cooked through, add the cooked spaghetti and pesto mixture to the pan. Toss to coat and cook for 3 minutes. Add more pesto or pasta water if necessary. You want the spaghetti and zucchini to be coated with a nice layer of pesto.
- Add the roasted tomatoes to the pan. Toss to combine and cook one additional minute. Sprinkle with half of the toasted bread crumbs, lemon zest, fresh basil, and reserved shrimp.
- Transfer to a serving platter, or serve right out of the skillet. Serve with remaining bread crumbs and fresh parmesan cheese on the side.