This pasta dish is easy and a family favorite! Alter with different ingredients to completely change the dish! Use walnuts instead of pine nuts, add fresh spinach rather than the arugula – you get the idea!!
- 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 large lemon, zested and juiced
- 1/4 teaspoons salt
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1 pound penne pasta
- 1/2 stick (1/4 cup) unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch pieces, at room temperature
- 4 cups baby arugula
- 1 cup cherry or grape tomatoes, halved
- 1 cup grated Parmesan
- 1/2 cup toasted pine nuts
- 2 tablespoons capers, rinsed and drained
- You can use either shrimp or chicken for your protein. If using the shrimp, purchase uncooked and add during #4 before adding the pasta. Add as much or little as you want, I usually add ½ pound. Make sure they cook completely.
- I use precooked chicken (leftovers or grilled separately) and add at the end of #4 (below).
- Begin by making the dressing in a small bowl whisking together the olive oil, lemon juice and zest, salt, and pepper until smooth. Set aside.
- Cook the pasta al dente according to the package directions. Drain and reserve 1 cup of the pasta water.
- Toast the pine nuts by arranging in a single layer on a baking sheet and bake in a preheated 350° oven for about 6 minutes. Remove from oven and cool.
- In a high-sided skillet, melt the butter completely over medium heat. Simmer until foamy; watching carefully. Continue to cook until the butter has a nutty aroma and turns a light caramel color; about 3 – 5 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat. Add the pasta, dressing, arugula, tomatoes, Parmesan, pine nuts, and capers. Toss until coated, adding the reserved pasta water, 1 tablespoon at a time to loosen the sauce, if needed. Transfer to a large bowl and serve.
Recipe Credit: This dish is a recreation from a Giada De Laurentiis original recipe.