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Lorena's Asparagus-Spinach Pesto Pasta with Blackened Shrimp


1lb. Asparagus spears
3 handfuls baby spinach leaves
1/2C. Soy Parmesan cheese, plus more for topping
1C. Pine nuts (did not use)
1/4C. Olive oil, plus 1T. for cooking the shrimp
Juice of 1/2 Lemon
1lb. Pasta
1lb. Raw shrimp, deveined and peeled
1t. Garlic powder
Kosher salt
Black pepper
2-3T. Blackening spice


Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Cut the rough ends off of the asparagus spears and then cut the remaining spear into 3 pieces. Place on a baking sheet and drizzle with olive oil then sprinkle with kosher salt, garlic powder and pepper. Toss to coat and bake 10-12 minutes. When cooked, set aside the pretty asparagus tips and keep warm. The bottoms will be pureed for the pesto. Meanwhile, bring a pot of water to a boil and cook pasta according to package directions. If using, put the pine nuts in a single layer in a large skillet. Heat on medium heat, stirring occasionally, until fragrant and lightly browned. Remove and set aside. Add the asparagus, spinach, garlic, Parmesan, and 3/4 cup of the pine nuts to a food processor. Purée and, with the motor running, drizzle in the 1/4 cup of olive oil until a paste forms. If too thick, thin it with a bit of the pasta water. Add the lemon juice, salt, and black pepper and continue pureeing until mixed. Set aside. In a medium-sized skillet, heat 1T. olive oil over medium-high heat. Add in the shrimp, and immediately sprinkle with blackening powder. Stir until it is mixed in, and then continue stirring occasionally until the shrimp are pink and just cooked. Remove to a small bowl and set aside. After draining the cooked pasta, toss immediately with the asparagus pesto. Add in the shrimp and asparagus tips, and stir briefly until well mixed. Serve sprinkled with the remaining pine nuts (if using) and some extra Parmesan.

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