Quick Meal: Pesto Spaghetti with Garlic Basil Shrimp

This one goes out to those moms and dads who find themselves making pasta four nights a week because… well, because it works… and because you don’t want to waste any more good food because shorty only wants noodles with sauce. Are ya feelin’ me?! shrimppesto2This dinner and this post were inspired by a specific request to help those parents out and by a recipe I saw that made me want to try — just one more time! — to get My Tiny Sous Chef to eat shrimp. I know she likes shrimp. And we had a short panicky period where we thought she was allergic (guess how you find that out!), and it turned out she was not, thank goodness, so it made me want her to like it so much. Because I looooooove shrimp. But if she knows it’s shrimp, she squeals with horror and disgust and won’t go anywhere near it. So we don’t have shrimp, ever. Sadface.

Well it occurred to me the other day that she probably doesn’t like shrimp because it looks like itself when you cook and eat it. I mean, that makes sense. A burger doesn’t look like a cow, so it’s easy to dissociate it. But shrimp looks like shrimp. So combined with this desire to come up with a post for “those moms and dads who find themselves making pasta four nights a week,” I came up with this one. Spoiler alert: SHE LOVES SHRIMP! I WINNNNNNN!

First, for those parents: I pass along this sage piece of wisdom that one of my dearest friend’s mothers told me…┬ásometimes you make your kids┬áhot dogs for a year because they work and they’ll be eaten. And that’s okay too. It won’t last forever. It really won’t. So, pasta away! But if you want to keep trying, my best suggestion is to try varying up little parts of it here and there (like change out the pasta for rice, add a different protein, try whole wheat pasta) or go the age-old-parenting-way and hide the veggies! But don’t feel badly. Sometimes if it works it just works, and easy wins every time. My Tiny Sous Chef LOVES broccoli. So we eat broccoli on the side at least 2-5 times a week just because I know there won’t be problems.

So this dinner weaves all of that long-windedness together into one crazy fast and delicious meal that, at least in this house, both kids and parents could enjoy together. No whining! Here you go.

shrimppesto1WHAT YOU NEED
* whole wheat spaghetti
* 1 small jar prepared pesto (or your favorite homemade recipe)
* 1T butter or olive oil
* 1lb uncooked shrimp, peeled, tails removed, deveined
* onion powder
* dried basil
* garlic powder
* dried parsley

Boil water and cook your spaghetti to al dente according to package instructions. Drain.

While that’s going, heat the butter or olive oil in large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the shrimp to the pan in a single layer and sprinkle, to taste, with onion powder, basil, garlic powder, and parsley. I did not measure these – I just added enough to ensure each shrimp got some of everything to be lightly coated. Watch your shrimp carefully. You can easily overcook them and you absolutely don’t want to. And they cook super quickly – just a few minutes. Flip them at least once to get a good crispy coating of the seasonings on both sides. When they’re no longer clear at all, they are done. Remove from heat immediately.

Add the pesto to the pasta and mix to combine, making sure the sauce gets distributed all over the noodles. Add a tiny bit of olive oil if they seem a little dry or if you need more sauce coverage. Next add the shrimp. Toss through and combine. If your kiddo needs the shrimp to not look like shrimp, just cut a few up into small chunky bits before serving. Add a sprinkle of Parmesan cheese over the top, and red pepper flakes for the grown-ups, and voila! Dinner is served!