Red and Green Pesto with Pasta and Lemon Shrimp

Red chilies and pistachios instead of pine nuts add pizazz to pesto over pasta with shrimp simmered in a wine and lemon sauce.


  • 3 red chili peppers, preferably Fresno peppers
  • 3 cloves garlic, unpeeled
  • 2 cups flat leaf parsley, chopped
  • A couple of handfuls of Parmigiano Reggiano cheese
  • 1/4 cup pistachio nuts, toasted
  • About 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil (EVOO), plus more for drizzling
  • Juice of 2 lemons
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 pound spaghetti or linguini pasta
  • 1 pound peeled and deveined shrimp
  • A splash of white wine or white vermouth
  • 2 tablespoons butter


In a small skillet, char the chilies and garlic cloves over medium-high heat for 8-10 minutes. Scrape off the charred skins and seed the chilies. Pop the garlic cloves from their skins. Using a food processor, pulse the chilies, garlic, parsley, cheese and pistachios with about 1/3 cup EVOO and half of the lemon juice; season with salt and pepper, to taste. Place in a pasta bowl.

Meanwhile, bring a large pot of water to a boil, salt it, add the pasta and cook to al dente. Add a small ladleful of the pasta cooking water to the pesto, then drain the pasta and toss with the pesto for 2 minutes to coat.

While the pasta is working, in a large nonstick skillet, heat a drizzle of EVOO over medium-high heat. Add the shrimp, season with salt and pepper and cook until almost fully pink, about 3 minutes. Add the remaining lemon juice and the wine or vermouth. Swirl in the butter to melt.

Serve the pasta in shallow bowls and top with the shrimp.

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