Cilantro. You either hate or love it. In our house, we love it! We use cilantro to top every dish, we basically can’t live without it. So, if you’re a cilantro fan, this pasta recipe is just what you need in your life.
Of course, we can’t just put cilantro all over our pasta and call it day, so shrimp (and bacon!) was just what this recipe needed to be absolutely perfect! The pasta is lightly coated in cilantro pesto and has a kick of garlic flavour with a bit of spice along with a smokey and salty flavour from the bacon. All combined and garnished with cilantro and parmesan. It’s not too complicated to make but it still feels pretty darn fancy.
So, break out the white wine, it’s pasta night!
Here’s how it make it:
For the Cilantro Pesto
Yields: 1 cup
- 1 cup chopped cilantro
- 2 cloves garlic
- 1/2 cup almonds
- 1/4 olive oil
- 1 serrano or jalapeno pepper
- 1/2 tsp. salt
- To blanch the almonds and remove the skin, first bring a small pot to a boil. Add the almonds and let them boil for just 1 minute. No need to leave them in there any longer than that or else they will start to soften.
- Drain the almonds and rinse with cold water to cool them down. Place almonds in a food processor with the cilantro, garlic cloves, pepper and salt.
- Process and slowly stream olive oil through the spout until the pesto is completely smooth. Taste and adjust seasoning if necessary.
For the Pesto Pasta with Shrimp and Bacon
- 1 pound of shrimp, cooked or uncooked
- 4-6 strips bacon
- 1/2 pound spaghetti (225 g)
- 4-6 cloves garlic
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 2 tbsp. butter
- 1/2 cup cilantro pesto
- 1/4 tsp. salt
- 1/2 tsp. black pepper
- 1/2 tsp. crushed chilli flakes
- 1/4 tsp. paprika
- Toppings (optional): parmesan, cilantro, lemon, crush chilli flakes, drizzle of olive oil
- If your shrimp already cooked, you can skip this step, but if your shrimp are uncooked, toss them into a pot of boiling water and simmer for around 2 minutes or until the inside is white and the shrimp turn pink.
- Toss into a bowl and rinse with cool water. At this point you can peel the shrimp and remove the tails and set aside.
- Once you’ve cooked your shrimp you can place your spaghetti in a large pot with boiling water and cook for around 8 minutes or until al dente.
- As your pasta is boiling, add your 4-6 strips of bacon into a large skillet and cook until almost completely crispy, you will want them a little less crispy as you will be tossing them in with the shrimp later on, where they will crisp up.*
- Once the bacon is cooked, transfer to a paper-towel lined plate and let cool. Once cooled, roughly chop your bacon into small pieces.
- At this point, check that your pasta is cooked, drain and return to the pot with 1/2 cup cilantro pesto. If you like your pasta with tons of cilantro flavour, feel free to add more of the cilantro pesto you made earlier.
- Now, dice your garlic cloves and toss the garlic into a large pan with the olive oil. Cook until softened, ensuring not to burn the garlic.
- Add butter to the pan and toss in your cooked shrimp along with the salt, black pepper, crushed chilli flakes and paprika. Cook for 1 minute before adding the bacon. Toss the shrimp and bacon mixture and cook for 2-3 minutes until ingredients are blended together and are heated thoroughly.
- Once your shrimp and bacon mixture is cooked, add the cilantro pesto coated spaghetti into the pan and toss all of the ingredients together.
- Serve and garnish with chopped cilantro, parmesan and a bit of chilli flakes or a drizzle of olive oil or little squeeze of lemon. Serve with some crusty bread so you can clean your plate of some of that buttery, garlicky, cilantro…y oil at the end. Sooo delicious! Enjoy!
*Note: You can also bake your bacon at 350 degrees F for around 15-20 minutes, flipping halfway through, if you prefer.