Shrimp Pasta Salad

The heat has finally arrived in Northern California, and with it, the need for some cooling pasta salads. Here’s a simple and easy shrimp pasta salad made with those little pink shrimp that you can find in the freezer section of almost any grocery store. While our gulf shrimp fisheries are suffering at the moment, these little shrimp come from sustainable fisheries in the cold, sub-Arctic oceans, either Atlantic or Pacific. They’re called boreal shrimp, Maine shrimp, or just “pink shrimp” because they’re pink even when they’re raw. But you won’t buy them raw. Pink shrimp come already cleaned, processed, and cooked, ready to eat. We’ve made this salad a couple of times already, most recently for a potluck where it was a big hit. Fresh basil, red bell peppers, red onions, and a lemon and olive oil dressing with just a sprinkle of red chili pepper flakes dance well with the shrimp and pasta. We think you’ll like it.

Defrost frozen shrimp by placing them in a bowl of cold water. Keep chilled until used. You can easily double the pasta amount if you want to stretch the salad further. The salad is best the same day it is made, otherwise the basil is a bit wilt-y, and the pasta a bit sticky.

Ingredients

  • 1/2 pound bow-tie (farfalle) or orecchiette pasta, or other short pasta
  • Kosher salt
  • 2 pounds small pink shrimp (also called Maine shrimp or boreal shrimp, comes already cooked)
  • 1 diced red bell pepper
  • 1 diced red onion
  • 1 minced garlic clove
  • 1 cup chopped basil leaves (loosely packed)
  • 1/3 cup high-quality olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon of lemon zest
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon red chile flakes
  • Black pepper to taste

Method

1 Cook the pasta in well salted water (like sea water) until al dente, a bit firmer than you would normally eat. (The pasta will absorb some of the salad dressing and soften further after cooking.) Rinse the pasta in cold water to stop the cooking. Drain well and put into a large bowl.

2 Rinse the shrimp and drain well. Add them to the bowl and mix. Add the remaining ingredients and gently mix until well combined.

Serve chilled.

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