Parsley Pesto Pasta with Sundried Tomatoes, Mushrooms, Green Swiss Chard and Shrimp

We receive parsley somewhat frequently in our Farm Share, and I have to be honest that I haven't done much with it.  I did some recipe searching, which lead me to parsley pesto.  We had shrimp we needed to cook and the parsley pesto seemed like a good fit, so we went with it.  To use more Farm Share ingredients we also added our green Swiss chard.  I wasn't sure how the pesto and chard would work in the pasta, but it turned out really well!  I think the lemony fresh parsley flavor and ricotta added a nice balance to both the shrimp and dark leafy green.  I imagine it would work great with chicken, too.

Parsley Pesto
(recipe from Epicurious.com)

2 c. (packed) fresh Italian parsley leaves (from 2 bunches)
1/4 c. extra-virgin olive oil
2 tbs. pine nuts, toasted
2 tbs. fresh lemon juice
2 tbs. water
1 small garlic clove, peeled.

Blend all ingredients together in food processor until almost smooth.  Season with salt and pepper.  (I would like to note that I used 1 bunch of parsley and added about 1 c. ricotta.  I thought the parsley flavor was strong enough with the 1 c. parsley and ricotta, so you may want to start with 1 c. and add more if you prefer a stronger parsley flavor.  We only used about 2/3 of the total pesto volume in our pasta.)

Chard in pasta?  Not knowing how this dark leafy green would blend with the rest of the flavors, we threw it in simply to use it and it turned out better than expected!

For preparation, you can follow directions I previously posted (the Non-Recipe Recipe for Cooking Kale), or look here on Epicurious for more specific but similar directions.  We did the same thing here where we separated the leaves from the stalks, chopped up the stalks and sautéed in olive oil with onion and garlic.  Once the stalks are softened, we threw them and the onions in a pan with the chopped chard leaves and sautéed for another 3-5 minutes.

The pasta was boiled and strained with about six chopped sundried tomatoes.  Once the greens were cooked through a little bit, the pasta and sundried tomatoes were added, along with the shrimp and mushrooms.  This was cooked until the shrimp started to turn pink, then pesto was added, and then all ingredients were further cooked until the shrimp were done, about another 5 minutes.  

And the finished product!  Our shrimp were from Maine--not quite sure if that qualifies as  local--but in New England everything seems so close, we'll call them local fare.  Parsley, onion, and green Swiss chard were from our Farm Share.  Thanks for another delicious dinner (and lunch for the next day)!

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