Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Linguine with Shrimp and Cilantro-Lime Pesto

If you follow my blog somewhat regularly, you will know I’m not a fan of cilantro.  So you might be shocked to discover I made a CILANTRO PESTO.  I can’t say why exactly my tastes changed, but it appears they have.  Now this doesn’t mean I’m going to start throwing it in everything, but I have found I can more than tolerate it.  I still find it can be overpowering in some recipes, but surprisingly, it wasn’t in this.  If someone like me, who has a history of cilantro-opposition liked this dish, then imagine what the average taster would think!  This was a rich and flavorful dish.  I was drawn to this recipe because I had a whole bunch of cilantro leftover, and I had most of the remaining ingredients on hand.  Oh, and there’s tequila in it.  WIN.

For the record, The Boy preferred it with parmesan cheese as opposed to feta, and he added in red pepper flakes, at my suggestion.  I thought the feta tasted great in this.  Next time I have a surplus of cilantro, I think I’ll be making this again!


Linguine with Shrimp and Cilantro-Lime Pesto

from Bon Appétit, July 2010


1 1/4 cups packed fresh cilantro leaves, plus 1/4 chopped
1/4 cut (scant) chopped green onions
3 Tablespoons fresh lime juice
2 garlic cloves, pressed
1 Tablespoon chopped seeded jalapeno chile
1/2 cup plus 1 Tablespoon olive oil
1 pound linguine
1 pound uncooked medium shrimp, peeled and deveined
3 Tablespoons tequila
1/4 cup crumbled Cotija or feta cheese
red pepper flakes (optional)


Blend 1 1/4 cups cilantro leaves and next 4 ingredients in processor until coarse puree forms. With machine running, gradually add 1/2 cup oil. Season generously with salt. (Pesto can be made 1 day ahead. Cover and chill.)

Cook linguine in large pot of boiling salted water until tender, but firm to bite, stirring occasionally. Drain.

Meanwhile, heat remaining 1 tablespoon oil in heavy large skillet over medium-high heat. Add shrimp and cook until almost opaque in center, about 3 minutes. Remove skillet from heat; add tequila. Return skillet to heat and stir until sauce is syrupy, about 30 seconds. Add pesto; stir to coat. Remove from heat.

Add pasta to sauce in skillet; toss to coat. Season with salt and pepper. Divide pasta and shrimp among 4 plates. Sprinkle dish with Cotija or feta cheese, chopped cilantro, and red pepper flakes (if you choose) and serve. Adapted from Tejas Texas Grill & Saloon.

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19 Responses to “Linguine with Shrimp and Cilantro-Lime Pesto”

  1. 1
    Lindsay — June 22, 2010 @ 7:12 am

    Did you read the article on the NYT awhile back about why some people don’t like cilantro? Seems like if you accustom your tastebuds to it gradually, you can force yourself to like it. An acquired taste, I guess? I LOVE it… my sister doesn’t. I’ll be working on her slowly. 🙂

    Two recipes you might want to try:

    • Erin replied: — June 22nd, 2010 @ 8:20 am

      I think I did read that article… Back when I was a “hater”. Thanks for the recipes!

  2. 2
    JulieD — June 22, 2010 @ 9:27 am

    This looks like an amazing dish…I can’t get my husband to try pesto but maybe this… 🙂

  3. 3
    Liesl — June 22, 2010 @ 9:40 am

    I LOVE CILANTRO! This dish looks fantastic! I think I would like the feta better too!

  4. 4
    inrgid — June 22, 2010 @ 9:42 am

    First chance I get I’m going to give this a go. I really like cilantro and have it growing in my daughter’s garden. What can I sub the tequila with? I don’t have any and would prefer not to buy a bottle for 3TB. Perhaps I can bum some from a neighbor.

    • Erin replied: — June 22nd, 2010 @ 10:29 am

      I think you could sub beer, more lime juice, or water for the tequila. Let me know the results if you try it!

  5. 5
    Kira — June 22, 2010 @ 10:27 am

    Yes! Come to the dark side! I’m glad that cilantro is growing on you. I think it’s a great flavor and can really add a lot to meals, but you don’t have to overdo it, you know? Yum!

  6. 6
    Natalie (The Sweets Life) — June 22, 2010 @ 11:52 am

    what a great recipe, especially since I’m a cilantro lover! Bookmarking this!

  7. 7
    Kelly — June 22, 2010 @ 1:34 pm

    Ooh I gotta try this out for my Boy. He loves shrimp and spicy stuff. I’m a little on the fence on some cilantro things, so I’d love to try this. Plus I’m a HUGE pesto fan!

  8. 8
    Courtney — June 22, 2010 @ 2:42 pm

    ERIN! What a great recipe! Picky Pants LOVES shrimp, pasta and pesto. I’m sure he will love it! I agree with you and The Boy about feta. I believe it is under-used in many dishes and can totally be substituted for parm any day. Thanks for the recipe!!!

  9. 9
    themilkmanswife — June 22, 2010 @ 4:07 pm

    Hmmm. I’m also not a cilantro fan, but this recipe intrigues me. The other flavors sound very complimentary…this may just reform another hater. I may have to try this! Thanks for sharing. 🙂

  10. 10
    Jacklyn — June 23, 2010 @ 7:08 am

    I’m not a big fan of cilantro either but this looks absolutely delicious!

  11. 11
    Jen — June 23, 2010 @ 12:56 pm

    I saw this in Bon Appetite, but my issue is not the cilantro–it’s the shrimp! My husband won’t eat shrimp with tails and won’t touch shrimp to prep it, and it grosses me out to no end to peel and devain shrimp. Perhaps if I try it with chicken it will do the trick!

  12. 12
    Lesley — June 23, 2010 @ 2:10 pm

    I love cilantro so much that I’m not sure I could bear to pestoize it. I eat it straight. 🙂

  13. 13
    mara z — June 23, 2010 @ 5:53 pm

    i can’t wait to try this! i love cilantro and use it all the time, but the bunch always seems to go bad before i can use it all up. this will be the perfect way to not waste it!

  14. 14
    Jessica — June 23, 2010 @ 9:31 pm

    This looks beautiful Erin! Great color, and the shrimp look perfect!

  15. 15
    Mary — June 24, 2010 @ 12:02 am

    Well that is one beautiful looking pasta! I’m not a fan of cilantro bbuuuttt I could just sub basil 🙂

    Delightful Bitefuls

  16. 16
    Michael Beyer — August 5, 2010 @ 9:49 am

    Beautiful picture you took of the dish! I tried out that recipe too and thought it was very good, but it’s a bit of a stretch that they called the sauce a pesto:


    If I may suggest a recipe that I really enjoy with cilantro, it is a tomatillo salsa (salsa verde) from Food and Wine Magazine:


  17. Pingback: Cilantro Lime Shrimp | Never Enough Thyme — Never Enough Thyme - Recipes with a slight southern accent.

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