Warm Pasta Salad with Shrimp

It’s August hot on this April day in central Virginia.  The less time in front of the stove the better.  This is a quick and easy meal than according to the recipe can be eaten hot or cold.  Cold would have been better, but I didn’t get it together last night so hot it was.  This is a Cooking Light recipe, but you wouldn’t know it by the taste.  This one is worth a try.  And you could vary it in a hundred different ways.

As a general rule I don’t care for pasta dishes that include beans, (or bean dishes that include pasta for that matter) but I made an exception in this case.  I followed the recipe, mostly.  I did read the comments before I started and followed the recommendations to reduce the pasta and increase the spinach.  Good call.  I used a whole clamshell container of spinach and I could have used two of them.  I used the whole can of cannellini beans instead of just one cup.  Honestly I could have left the pasta out completely.  I didn’t want to bother with peeling and deveining tonight so I used a bag of peeled, deveined frozen shrimp. Just make sure you get raw shrimp instead of cooked. The shrimp were excellent, but if you don’t like shrimp you could use chicken or tofu.

As with many dishes the key to this is the dressing.  It’s a lemon dijon vinaigrette.  The sharp citrusy flavor of the dressing is wonderful against the fresh spinach and creamy beans. The pasta is neutral enough to keep the sauce from overpowering everything else.  And the capers are a wonderful salty addition.  If you don’t have capers you can use chopped green olives just as well.  Keep this dressing in your list of sauces for leafy green salads, chicken salad, egg salad, etc.  It comes out wonderfully creamy without any mayonnaise.  Use a stick blender (or a regular blender) to combine it to make it extra creamy.

It takes less than 30 minutes to put this together and is sophisticated enough to serve for an easy weeknight catch up dinner with friends.  Enjoy!

Good? Darn good.
Easy? Yep.
Good for company? Absolutely.
Special shopping? Nope.

Warm Pasta Salad with Shrimp

Ingredients

1-1 1/2 cups uncooked farfalle (bow tie pasta)
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
1 1/2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
1 T stone ground mustard
2 cloves fresh garlic, minced
1/4 cup olive oil
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Cooking spray
12 ounces medium shrimp, peeled and deveined
3 C fresh spinach, stemmed and chopped
1 cup canned cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
1/4 cup minced red onion
2 tablespoons chopped capers

Preparation

1. Cook pasta according to package directions, omitting salt and fat; drain.
2. Combine juice, mustard, and garlic in a small bowl, stirring well with a whisk. Gradually add oil, stirring constantly with a whisk. Stir in salt and pepper.
3. Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Coat pan with cooking spray. Add shrimp to pan; cook for 2 minutes or until done. Stir in spinach, cannellini beans, red onion, and 2 tablespoons capers; toss to combine. Add the pasta and juice mixture to shrimp mixture; toss.

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