You've found one of the tastiest, easiest and healthiest pasta dishes around in this quick easy shrimp primavera pasta recipe. Primavera is the Italian word for spring, and this simple weeknight dish is loaded with fresh spring vegetables, sweet shrimp, and enough pasta to make it a satisfying meal.
The recipe here is pretty much the classic version but there is no limit to the variations you can make by using different vegetables, a new pasta shape, or a unique fresh herb.
- 14 ounces penne pasta
- 10 ounces broccoli florets
- 6 ounces haricots verts (trimmed)
- 1 cup small peas (frozen)
- 2 ounces butter (unsalted)
- 1 garlic clove (crushed)
- 6 ounces large shrimp (peeled and deveined)
- 2 cups cherry tomatoes (halved)
- 3/4 cup Parmesan (finely grated)
- 1/2 cup fresh basil leaves
- Red pepper flakes and lemon zest (for serving)
Cook the pasta in a large pot of boiling salted water according to package instructions. For the final 5 minutes of cooking, place a steamer over the boiling water and gently steam the broccoli, haricot verts, and peas until they are bright green and just-tender about 4 minutes. (If you do not have a steamer, bring a large saucepan of water to a boil. Add the broccoli, beans and peas and cook for 4 minutes.) Drain and set aside in the pan covered with a kitchen towel.
Heat the butter in a large frying pan, add the garlic and gently fry for one minute taking care not to burn. Add the shrimp and cook for 4 minutes turning frequently. Once pink and cooked through, spoon the shrimp into a bowl to reserve and cover with a kitchen towel.
Once cooked, drain the pasta, reserving ¼ cup of the pasta water and set aside. Transfer the pasta to the frying pan, add the broccoi, haricot verts, peas, and reserved pasta water. Return the pan to medium heat and gently stir to reheat the pasta and vegetables. Add the cherry tomatoes, shrimp and parmesan and stir through the pasta. Finally, tear the basil into small pieces and stir through.
Serve the pasta immediately in four warmed pasta bowls and sprinkle with the lemon zest and red pepper flakes. Serve at once.
Make This Pasta Dish Your Own
The variations on this dish are limited only by your imagination. Peas, beans, and broccoli are used here but you substitute or add to them with other spring favorites like asparagus, fresh broad beans, soybeans, chard, or baby spinach. Use this recipe as a blueprint and improvise with the fresh vegetables you have on hand.
Love or hate basil, why not try parsley, thyme, dill, or baby arugula leaves. Penne is substantial shape, but tagliatelle and spaghetti would work nicely as would brown rice or quinoa versions of these pasta shapes.
Vegetarians and Vegan
Want a vegetarian version? Simply remove the shrimp and add extra vegetables. Are you vegan? Goodbye shrimp and parmesan use a pasta made without egg. The flavor of the Parmesan makes this dish special, so replace it with an equally sharp and flavorful vegan cheese.