Spicy Pesto Fettuccine with Shrimp & Cilantro

I headed to Austin late last week to spend the weekend with my family and attend my first baby shower. Friday night I shared this quick snap on Instagram of what my mom made for dinner, and I heard you guys loud and clear–you wanted the recipe! I can vouch that this simple pasta was every bit as delicious as it looks…I learned to cook from the best. My mom’s pesto featured Hatch green chiles from New Mexico, which are regional and not widely available outside the south/southwest–in fact, I snagged some at the grocery store to bring home with me. But you can replace the Hatch chiles with a mix of poblano and serrano peppers for the same flavorful, spicy effect. Cook up some fettuccine noodles, toss with the pesto, top with shrimp and fresh cilantro, and you’re all set for one deliciously easy meal.

Spicy Pesto Fettuccine with Shrimp & Cilantro

Serves 4

8 green New Mexico hatch chiles OR 4 poblano peppers plus 1-2 serrano peppers, roasted, peeled, stems and seeds removed, chopped
1/2 cup olive oil
2 cups fresh spinach
1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro, plus extra leaves for serving
2 cloves garlic
1 tablespoons fresh basil or 2 teaspoons dried
3 tablespoons pine nuts
3 tablespoons Parmesan
salt and pepper to taste

1/2 pound of fettuccine
1 pound shrimp, peeled and deveined
Olive oil
Fresh cilantro leaves

Make the pesto: Add all the ingredients to a blender and puree to a smooth sauce. Thin with water if necessary. Best if made ahead and stored in the refrigerator until ready to use.

Cook the shrimp: Toss the shrimp with a bit of olive oil, then season with salt and pepper. Grill or sauté the shrimp until just cooked.

Cook the pasta: Bring the water to a boil, then add a dash of salt and the fettucine. Cook uncovered until tender but still firm. Drain and toss with a few drops of olive oil.

Toss the pasta with 1/2 cup or so of the pesto. Top with the shrimp and extra cilantro leaves.

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