MFM – Arugula Pesto with Shrimp

At some point over the past few years, in a bout of solidarity with my then vegetarian sister, Patrick and I took part in the Meat Free Monday campaign.

Although this had more to do with a concern for the livestock population than any health benefits, the concept just sorta stuck.

(It doesn’t hurt that the seafood/meat free meals tend to be a bit easier to put together, making them the perfect Monday meal – when my culinary motivation is at an all-time low.)

This most complex tool this recipe requires is a food processor. (Ours is tiny so I had to make the sauce in two batches.)

INGREDIENTS this recipe serves 2 with no leftovers (’cause re-heated shrimp are gross.)

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  • 1 cup uncooked mini farfalle (or pasta of your choice)
  • 1.5 cups arugula
  • 1/4 cup basil leaves (freshness matters here so don’t use dried spices)
  • 3 tablespoons of parmigiana cheese (you don’t have to be that precise when it comes to sprinkled cheese.)
  • 4 garlic cloves (The Cooking Light original recipe called for 1, but we love garlic!)
  • 2 Tbsp of Pine Nuts (I had no idea how expensive these were, I’m sure they could be omitted if you don’t feel like spending $16 on a 4 oz bag!)
  • olive oil
  • 1/4 cup white whine (we pretty much always have a double bottle of Pinot Grigio in the fridge, that’s what I’ll use for cooking.)
  • 1.5 pounds of medium shrimp (we buy the 2lb bag of frozen raw shrimp from Costco – already peeled and deveined. Just make sure to defrost about half the bag that morning.)


  1. Cook the pasta first according to package directions. When draining, do so over a container to reserve about 1/2 cup of starchy water.  (Boiling water pictured at right, in case if it’s your first time in a kitchen on planet earth.)

IMG_10352. Throw the arugula, basil, cheese, pine nuts, garlic and 2 tbsp of olive oil into a food processor. Process until smooth.

3. Heat a large skillet with 1 tbsp of olive oil, swirl to coat. Add shrimp and cook for about 5 minutes until pink on both sides.



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4. Remove shrimp from pan with a slotted spoon and set aside.

5. Add wine to pan, cook until mostly evaporated (seems pretty pointless but I’m assuming it adds to the flavor.)

6. Add basil mixture (which BTW is pretty thick so make sure you use a spatula to get all that goodness out of your measuring cup) and add the reserved starchy water. Bring to a simmer (that’s teeny bubbles, not a ‘rolling boil’)

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7. Plate your pasta, add shrimp, and cover with sauce. Boom, #NailedIt.

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