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Spring Onion-Chive Pesto Pasta with Shrimp
Prep Time
10 mins
Cook Time
20 mins
Total Time
30 mins

A vibrant spring onion and chive pesto pasta tossed with sautéed shrimp that's perfect for dinner parties or a quick weeknight meal. Blanched onions and chives make for a mild, creamy pesto that's perfect for tossing with pasta, or just slathering on toast. This recipe makes extra pesto – it will keep well covered in the fridge for 3 days. 

Recipe Type: Dinner
Makes: 4 servings
Author: Elizabeth Stark
  • 2 bunches spring onions with greens (6 - 8 small)
  • 1 bunch chives (3/4-ounce)
  • 1 lemon
  • 2 cups parsley leaves
  • 1/2 cup raw, hulled pepitas
  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
Shrimp Pasta
  • 12 ounces linguine or other ribbon pasta
  • 2 pounds raw, deveined shrimp (peeled or unpeeled, see note*), thawed

  • 4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • sea salt
  • fresh ground pepper
  1. Cut green and light green onion stalks from the white or purple bulb. Mince 2 bulbs; reserve remaining bulbs for another use. Zest the lemon, then cut into wedges and reserve.
  2. Bring a large pot of generously salted water to a boil. While water boils, prepare a large bowl with cold water and ice.
  3. Use tongs to plunge onion stalks into boiling water, just until wilted, 30 - 60 seconds, then plunge into ice water. Repeat process with the chives. Set pot and water aside – you'll want to use the same pot to cook pasta.
  4. Squeeze ice water from onions and chives and set in the bowl of a food processor. Add parsley, pepitas, olive oil, zest of the lemon, and 1 teaspoon sea salt. Pulse until combined, then process just until smooth. Add sea salt to taste. Set aside.

Shrimp Pasta
  1. Bring water used to blanche onions back up to a boil and cook pasta to al dente. Reserve 1 cup pasta water for plating pasta.
  2. Meanwhile, heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a large, deep-sided skillet over medium-high heat. Add reserved minced onions and sauté shrimp, working in batches so as not to crowd it. Sprinkle each batch with sea salt and pepper. Cook 1 - 2 minutes per side, until shrimp pinks up and is slightly firm to the touch. As you cook, add additional 2 tablespoons olive oil as needed. Remove cooked onions and shrimp to a platter or large bowl. Toss shrimp and onions with a squeeze of lemon juice.
  3. Remove skillet from heat. Toss to combine sautéed onions and shrimp, pasta, and 1/2 cup pesto. Add additional pesto to taste and several splashes pasta water as needed to thin mixture. Add sea salt and pepper to taste.

  4. Serve immediately with a lemon wedge on the side.
Recipe Notes

*To thaw frozen shrimp, set in a bowl of water under a trickle of cold running water for several minutes. Toss shrimp periodically. Shrimp should thaw in about 20 minutes. 

**Though peeled shrimp are easiest to work with, unpeeled shrimp have superior flavor. Go with whatever makes sense for you. When buying shrimp, I look for shrimp from the USA since imported shrimp can be caught up in exploitative labor practices.