August 10, 2011

Ramadan # 3 Spinach and Almond Pesto with Fresh Mozzarella and Garlic Shrimp

O Allah, I seek your forgiveness for every sin that leaves grief in its wake, that causes remorse, that holds back sustenance, and that prevents acceptance of [my] prayers.

I really enjoy creating pasta-based concoctions in my kitchen. I usually stick with one type of pasta in my dishes, but lately I've been mixing different flour-based or vegetable-based pastas, trying to find combinations that work and that my family will eat.  One combination that I like is an equal blend of white and whole wheat pastas because you get the heartiness of the whole wheat pasta without having the dish become too heavy and dense.

A while back, I came across a blog post on pesto. The recipe was surprisingly easy and didn't require Parmesan cheese (it's hard to find Parmesan cheese without rennet in it). I tagged this recipe under "Recipes to Try ASAP" and let it be.  A couple of weeks ago, I came back to this recipe and thought I would test it out.   I changed the recipe by using almonds instead of walnuts, mixing up the pasta and adding fresh mozzarella and shrimp.

Spinach and Almond Pesto with Fresh Mozzarella and Garlic Shrimp

2 big handfuls of fresh baby spinach, stems removed and washed and dried
1/4 cup of almonds, skin removed
4 tbsp freshly minced garlic,
10 basil leaves, washed
4 tbsp olive oil
6 small fresh mozzarella balls, drained of liquid and sliced into quarters
15-20 frozen raw peeled and deveined shrimp, thawed and washed
1.5 cups dry whole wheat rotini pasta
1.5 cups dry white rotini pasta
salt and pepper to taste

In a food process,  mix together spinach, almonds,  3 tbsp garlic, 8 basil leaves, 2 tbsp olive oil, salt and pepper until a gritty-like texture is formed.  Taste for salt and pepper.  If a stronger flavour is desired, add more spinach, basil and almonds and give the mixture a spin in the processor.

In a frying pan, add the remaining olive oil, 1 tbsp of garlic and the 2 basil leaves (torn up into small pieces).  Saute on low-medium heat for 1 minute.  Add in the shrimp and cook until the shrimp have curled in a bit and are pink all the way through.  Season with some salt and pepper before removing from heat.

Cook the dry whole wheat and white pastas (SEPARATELY) according to box instructions.  Strain the water and mix the pasta in a large bowl with the pesto. Gently mix in the mozzarella quarters and shrimp. Taste the pasta for seasoning and add salt and pepper if necessary.  Drizzle a little bit of olive oil on top.  Serve immediately or refrigerate for a later time.


  1. Hi, Hinna! You've got so much creativity and I'm admiring them all. Can you please share your creative posts at the Creative Bloggers' Party & Hop? Hope to see you there at the party :)

  2. Thanks for the invite! I linked up two recipes for people to enjoy.