Nov 24, 2010

Shrimp, Spinach and Fusilli Pasta

Shrimp, spinach and fusilli pasta dish.

It’s the evening before Thanksgiving and you have a day ahead of you that is sure to be filled with LOTS of delicious food! Tomorrow tables will be filled with turkey, potatoes, casseroles, bread, vegetables, stuffing, and of course pies and cakes! This is no average meal and let’s be honest, you don’t want a super heavy meal the night before to compete with your hunger for the fantastic meal to follow tomorrow! It may seem silly, but I really thought about what to make for dinner Thanksgiving Eve. I didn’t want chicken because it’s too close too turkey, no sausage because that’ll be in the stuffing tomorrow, and no red meat because that makes me feel stuffed for days. My final decision was shrimp and pasta! The shrimp is super light but still tasty, the pasta is hardy and then with added spinach leaves I’ve got the boost of nutrients any meal needs! I guess if you wanted to be super light you could eliminate the pasta, add more veggies and spinach leaves and you’ve got yourself a salad!

Here’s what you’ll need to put this dish together:


(Serves 2 with leftovers for lunch.)

  • 1/2 shrimp, deveined and cleaned
  • 2 1/2 cups dried fusilli pasta (more if you’re really hungry!)
  • handful of cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1/2-3/4 cup spinach leaves, uncooked
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup low sodium chicken broth
  • 1 tablespoon minced shallot
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and add the pasta. The rest of the meal is so quick to put together, that the time it takes for the water to boil and the pasta to cook is the time you will need to put the rest of the meal together. You can let the pasta cook away and not worry about it until it’s done!

While the pasta cooks, start the shrimp. I find it the most convenient to buy the shrimp cleaned and deviened, as it makes the time it takes to cook dinner cut in half and it’s not so messy! Add a little bit of olive oil in a large saute pan and let it heat up for just a minute. Add your garlic and shallots to the pan and let them cook for about 2 minutes. The shrimp can then be added to the same pan with a little bit of salt and pepper. Your shrimp will be done in a matter of minutes! They should go from grey/opaque to a white/pink.

Cooked shrimp.

Once your shrimp are cooked all the way, transfer them (along with the garlic and shallots) to a bowl on the side. Cover the bowl with tinfoil to keep things warm. To the same pan that you cooked the garlic, shallots and shrimp, pour in the lemon juice and chicken broth. This allows you a way to scrape up the browned bits on the pan. Let the liquid reduce by about half and then add the shrimp, garlic and shallots to the pan along with your halved cherry tomatoes.

That was a lot of transferring I know, BUT you’re almost done. The pasta should be about done at this point and everything should be ready to mix together. Drain the pasta and pour the shrimp mixture into the larger pot with the pasta (liquid included). I’m not a fan of cooked spinach so I wait till this point to add in the spinach leaves.

Pasta, shrimp and spinach combined.

Toast some good bakery bread and you’re ready for dinner! This meal is light, fresh and pretty tasty if I do say so! The added bonus is that you’re not stuck in the kitchen all evening putting together a delicious dish. Tomorrow I’ll be in the kitchen with my mom putting together an amazing Thanksgiving spread and tonight I want to save my energy and time for the big cooking endeavor to come! Even if it’s not Thanksgiving Eve, this is an excellent dish to keep on the list for meals to make after a long day or long week! I wish everyone a wonderful Thanksgiving tomorrow and lots of luck in the kitchen! For now, that’s shrimp, spinach and fusilli pasta…in the shell of a nut!

Dinner is served!

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