Shrimp & Golden Zucchini Pesto

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I have been meaning to blog more this week- but our recent move to the new pad and work business has kept me from my keyboard and dot com.  This morning I was web-surfing slash seeking inspiration on what to blog about, and perusing through the usual prospects.. hitting up some of my favorite blogs, foodie websites, and nutrition specialties.  Among them, I came to one of my favorites-  I love this site simply because all the nutrition advice you could possibly need is found in one place.. all written and approved by Registered Dietitians.  Once a month HC chooses a ‘Food of the Month’, and the month of September happens to be shrimp! Perfect segway into my latest, most tasty recipe.  Although I do know a lot about food and the nutrition it provides I learned this morning that shrimp happens to be the second-most popular seafood choice after canned tuna. Really?  I LOVE shrimp..and while I do like canned tuna- the Fireman wont touch it with a ten foot pole.  True story.. When we were dating I made some tuna salad for lunch and was set on making him try it.  He had mentioned before that he really would eat most anything but tuna from a can and pea salad. We shall see about that.  After I whipped up some tuna salad for myself I saved a small bite on a cracker, walked up behind him sitting on the couch and simply said ‘Try this.‘ while stuffing it in his mouth.  My parents coffee table was soon decorated with tuna salad and cracker.  He wasn’t kidding, I guess. Back to shrimp.. Health Castle goes on to educate that shrimp is an excellent source of lean protein.  I have often had the question about cholesterol levels and shrimp. While shrimp does in fact contain cholesterol, as most all animal proteins do, this is not necessarily the number you should focus on when determining if a food will be beneficial or harmful to your blood cholesterol.  Ultimately, the level of saturated fats and trans fats (the ‘bad’ fats) in the foods you eat have a greater effect on your blood cholesterol profile than the actual cholesterol levels.  Not only is shrimp low in saturated fat, it is high in omega-3 fatty acids, which have been shown to benefit both your brain and your heart- promoting an increase in the ‘good cholesterol’ (HDL).  Other benefits of this little crustacean?  How about an excellent source of selenium,Vitamin B12, iron, phosphorus, niacin, zinc, copper and magnesium, and surprisingly vitamin D.. Whew.  Who knew?  SO -feed a crowd and get your fill of a multitude of vitamins and minerals with the addition of shrimp in this satisfying summer pasta dish.  

Shrimp & Golden Zucchini Pesto
with Whole Wheat Bowtie Pasta

1 lb medium sized shrimp, deveined, tails removed

4 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
3 1/2 cups (1/4-inch-thick) slices small zucchini (about 1 pound)
1 cup packed basil leaves
1/2 cup (2 ounces) shaved Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, divided
3 tablespoons pine nuts, toasted
4 garlic cloves, chopped
2 cups chopped sweet onion (about 1 large)
6 quarts water
1 3/4 teaspoons kosher salt, divided
8 ounces uncooked whole grain farfalle (bowtie) pasta
1/2 cup reduced fat (2%) evaporated milk
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon grated lemon rind
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice

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Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add zucchini to pan; sauté 5 minutes or until tender and golden. Remove from pan; cool.

Place 2/3 cup cooked zucchini, basil, 1/4 cup cheese, pine nuts, and garlic in a food processor; process until finely chopped. (Keep mixture in processor.)

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Heat remaining 1 tablespoon of oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion and shrimp to pan; sauté 10 minutes or until onion is golden brown and shrimp is pink. Return remaining cooked zucchini to pan. Remove from heat.

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Combine 6 quarts water and 1 teaspoon kosher salt in a large Dutch oven, and bring to a boil. Cook pasta in boiling water according to package directions. Drain in a sieve over a bowl, reserving 1/3 cup cooking liquid. Add pasta to vegetables. With processor on, add reserved liquid to basil mixture; process until smooth. Add basil mixture to pasta. Add milk, lemon rind and juice, remaining salt, and pepper; stir. Top with remaining cheese.

Nutrition Information:
Serves 4 (about 1 1/2 cups pasta and 1 tablespoon cheese)
Calories: 398
Fat: 11.2 g
Carbohydrate: 54.2 g
Fiber: 8.4 g
Protein: 24.9 g



  1. says:

    This pasta dish looks de-licious and healthy too. Love that!

  2. pressurized says:

    looks so yummy .. i love pasta

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