I have some leftover mascarpone from yesterday’s Tomato and Watermelon Salad and started exploring other things I could do with it. I came across this dish from The Kitchn and am inspired. It’s almost too simple, but then it doesn’t have to be hard to be delicious!
Mascarpone is soft and creamy, much like Ricotta, but smoother and creamier. It starts from fresh cream instead of milk, then it’s acidified with tartaric acid, and the whey is strained off leaving this oh, so creamy goodness behind. It’s starring role in delicious tiramisu typecasts it a bit, but it has a lot of uses in sauces and other desserts calling for heavy cream, sour cream or cream cheese. This is definitely an ingredient I’ll use in small portions because of it high saturated fat content. Adding a lean protein like chicken or shrimp produces a more balanced main dish.
I made the following changes to the original recipe: 1) used angel hair whole grain pasta instead of enriched flour pasta (because that’s what I had on hand!), 2) used regular lemons as I didn’t have Meyer lemons, 3) reduced the amount of mascarpone to 2 ounces which made it a little less creamy, (but that’s less fat and it still tastes fabulous!), 4) added lemon grilled shrimp for more protein/flavor and 5) switched to pine nuts since I had some toasted in my freezer. OK, that’s a whole new recipe, but that’s the fun of creating in the kitchen. I think you’ll love this version.!
- Angel Hair Pasta with Lemon Grilled Shrimp, Spinach and Pinenuts
- 1/2 pound large shrimp, shelled and deveined
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 lemon, zested and juiced (about 3 Tbsp juice)
- 1 Tbsp butter, melted
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/4 tsp fresh ground black pepper
- 1/4 cup mascarpone cheese
- 1/4 cup fat free half and half
- 1/4 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
- 1/2 pound whole grain angel hair pasta, cooked according to package directions, reserving 1/4 cup pasta water
- 5 cups (loosely packed) fresh baby spinach, washed and dried
- 1/4 cup shaved Parmesan cheese
- 1/4 cup toasted pinenuts
- Prepare the grill. Rinse shrimp; pat dry with paper towels. Place shrimp in a small bowl; add garlic, lemon zest, lemon juice, butter, salt and pepper. Toss to combine. Cover and let sit for 30 minutes.
- Thread shrimp onto 2 8-inch skewers, leaving a 1/4-inch space between shrimp. Place skewers on the prepared grill and cook for 6-8 minutes or until shrimp are opaque, turning once halfway through grilling.
- Combine the mascarpone, half and half and nutmeg in a bowl. Whisk to combine.
- Place pasta in large pot and set over low heat. Stir in the mascarpone sauce. Add the spinach and toss so that the spinach begins to wilt. Add 2 Tbsp pasta water (more if necessary) to keep the sauce fluid but not too watery. Continue to cook and toss until the spinach is cooked. Season with salt and pepper as needed.
- Top with the pinenuts, Parmesan cheese and grilled shrimp. Serve immediately.