Pasta Salad with Shrimp, Goat Feta, and Basil

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Pasta Salad with Shrimp, Goat Feta, and Basil at The Hungry Mouse

We’ve been pining for summer weather here in Boston. It’s been cold, dreary, and drizzly for days. This pasta salad is like a little dose of summer—it’s cool, creamy, and an absolutely fabulous thing to bring to a picnic or barbecue. Assuming, that is, that the sun ever comes out.

Pasta Salad with Shrimp, Goat Feta, and Basil at The Hungry Mouse

Here’s how to put this pasta salad together—as well as a step-by-step guide for how to clean and de-vein fresh shrimp. My recipe calls for about a pound of fresh shrimp, but scale the amount up or down to fit your budget and what looks good at the fish market.

Pasta Salad with Shrimp, Goat Feta, and Basil at The Hungry Mouse

I like to make it with fresh fettuccine, but use any kind of pasta you like.

Pasta Salad with Shrimp, Goat Feta, and Basil at The Hungry Mouse

For the fresh goat feta, I used cheese that I picked up on a recent adventure to Sweet Pea Farm in Connecticut. (More on that to come soon.)

Pasta Salad with Shrimp, Goat Feta, and Basil at The Hungry Mouse

If you can’t find goat feta, swap in any fresh goat cheese you can find—you may just need to add less of it, depending on how salty the cheese you choose is. (Fresh goat feta is very mild.)

Pasta Salad with Shrimp, Goat Feta, and Basil at The Hungry Mouse

On to the recipe!

Pasta Salad with Shrimp, Goat Feta, and Basil at The Hungry Mouse

Pasta Salad with Shrimp, Goat Feta, and Basil

1 lb fresh fettuccine (or other pasta you like)
3/4 – 1 lb. large fresh shrimp
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 tsp. fresh rosemary, minced
1 clove garlic, mashed
1 cup fresh goat cheese feta
1 cup basil, loosely packed
freshly cracked black pepper
1 Tbls. chives, minced
kosher salt

Serves 4-6

Cook and drain the pasta

Bring a large pot of water to boil on the stove. Add your pasta.

Pasta Salad with Shrimp, Goat Feta, and Basil at The Hungry Mouse

Toss in a little salt.

Pasta Salad with Shrimp, Goat Feta, and Basil at The Hungry Mouse

Cook until it’s done to your liking. (I shoot for a little on the al dente side.)

Pasta Salad with Shrimp, Goat Feta, and Basil at The Hungry Mouse

When your pasta is cooked, drain it. Then rinse it well with cold water until it’s cold to the touch. (That’s important, and will help keep your pasta from getting gummy and clumping together.)

Pasta Salad with Shrimp, Goat Feta, and Basil at The Hungry Mouse

Transfer the pasta to a large mixing bowl when it’s drained.

Pasta Salad with Shrimp, Goat Feta, and Basil at The Hungry Mouse

Set it aside while you deal with the shrimp.

How to clean and de-vein fresh shrimp

Now, technically, you can eat the whole shrimp—shell and vein and feet and all. (We just saw Duff Goldman from Charm City Cakes raving about fried shrimp heads on TV, in fact.) Most folks however, like to remove the vein for aesthetic reasons.

So! Grab your shrimp. Keep them cold while you clean them by setting them in a bowl of ice. (To make this operation even easier, shell and de-vein your shrimp in the sink, under cold running water.)

Pasta Salad with Shrimp, Goat Feta, and Basil at The Hungry Mouse

Pull the shell away from the body of the shrimp, including all the little feet, if they’re still attached. Pull the tail off gently, so you don’t rip off much of the meat.

Pasta Salad with Shrimp, Goat Feta, and Basil at The Hungry Mouse

Your shrimp should look about like this:

Pasta Salad with Shrimp, Goat Feta, and Basil at The Hungry Mouse

Flip him around and take a look at his back. You should see a black line running down the center. This may be fat or thin (so thin that it’s barely visible), depending on the shrimp.

Pasta Salad with Shrimp, Goat Feta, and Basil at The Hungry Mouse

Make a shallow slice along the black line with a small, sharp knife.

Pasta Salad with Shrimp, Goat Feta, and Basil at The Hungry Mouse

Your shrimp should look about like this:

Pasta Salad with Shrimp, Goat Feta, and Basil at The Hungry Mouse

Spread the shrimp apart. You should see that icky, black line.

Pasta Salad with Shrimp, Goat Feta, and Basil at The Hungry Mouse

Scrape or pull it out with your knife, so it’s totally gone, like this:

Pasta Salad with Shrimp, Goat Feta, and Basil at The Hungry Mouse

Repeat with your other shrimp. Keep them on ice as you finish them to ensure they stay cold.

Pasta Salad with Shrimp, Goat Feta, and Basil at The Hungry Mouse

Pasta Salad with Shrimp, Goat Feta, and Basil at The Hungry Mouse

How to cook the shrimp

Shrimp are easy to overcook. But they don’t have to be. For this dish, I use gentle heat and don’t walk away from the stove while they’re in the pan.

Put the olive oil, garlic, and rosemary in a large non-stick pan. Give it a stir. Set it on the stove over medium heat for a minute or two to help release the flavors into the oil.

Pasta Salad with Shrimp, Goat Feta, and Basil at The Hungry Mouse

Add the shrimp.

Pasta Salad with Shrimp, Goat Feta, and Basil at The Hungry Mouse

Cook them for maybe 2 minutes on this side.

Pasta Salad with Shrimp, Goat Feta, and Basil at The Hungry Mouse

After a minute or two, your shrimp should be a rosy pink underneath. They should also be opaque on that side. When you see that, flip ’em over.

Pasta Salad with Shrimp, Goat Feta, and Basil at The Hungry Mouse

Cook them on this side for another one or two minutes.

Pasta Salad with Shrimp, Goat Feta, and Basil at The Hungry Mouse

They should be slightly curled at this point—but not tightly curled.

Pasta Salad with Shrimp, Goat Feta, and Basil at The Hungry Mouse

Pasta Salad with Shrimp, Goat Feta, and Basil at The Hungry Mouse

When a shrimp is cooked, it’s opaque. (See on this one, the top half of the shrimp is opaque, but the bottom is still kind of translucent because it’s not done yet.)

Pasta Salad with Shrimp, Goat Feta, and Basil at The Hungry Mouse

When the shrimp are pink and opaque on the bottom, take the pan off the heat.

Pasta Salad with Shrimp, Goat Feta, and Basil at The Hungry Mouse

Let them sit in the pan, off the heat, for another minute to finish cooking through to the center.

Pasta Salad with Shrimp, Goat Feta, and Basil at The Hungry Mouse

Transfer them to a dish or plate and set them aside. Reserve the oil from the pan. That’s going into the pasta salad.

Pasta Salad with Shrimp, Goat Feta, and Basil at The Hungry Mouse

(Mmmmm, shrimp. Better give one a nibble, just to…you know…be totally sure they’re done.)

Pasta Salad with Shrimp, Goat Feta, and Basil at The Hungry Mouse

Assemble the pasta salad

Fluff up your pasta a little to be sure it’s not at all stuck together. (If it is, rinse it again in cold water, then drain it well.)

Pasta Salad with Shrimp, Goat Feta, and Basil at The Hungry Mouse

Pour the oil and juices from the pan into the bowl with the pasta.

Pasta Salad with Shrimp, Goat Feta, and Basil at The Hungry Mouse

(Mmmmm, garlic.)

Pasta Salad with Shrimp, Goat Feta, and Basil at The Hungry Mouse

Toss in the basil. Then add the goat feta.

Pasta Salad with Shrimp, Goat Feta, and Basil at The Hungry Mouse

Chop the shrimp up.

Pasta Salad with Shrimp, Goat Feta, and Basil at The Hungry Mouse

I like medium-sized pieces, like this:

Pasta Salad with Shrimp, Goat Feta, and Basil at The Hungry Mouse

Toss the chopped shrimp into the bowl.

Pasta Salad with Shrimp, Goat Feta, and Basil at The Hungry Mouse

Toss in the chives. Grind on some black pepper. Squeeze on the lemon (pick out any seeds).

Pasta Salad with Shrimp, Goat Feta, and Basil at The Hungry Mouse

Pasta Salad with Shrimp, Goat Feta, and Basil at The Hungry Mouse

Now, you can mix this up with tongs or a few wooden spoons. I tend to use my hands, especially with a long noodle like fettuccine. It’s gentler on the pasta.

Pasta Salad with Shrimp, Goat Feta, and Basil at The Hungry Mouse

You want the ingredients to be evenly distributed. Give it a taste, and toss in a little salt if you think it needs it (and depending on the type of cheese you used).

Pasta Salad with Shrimp, Goat Feta, and Basil at The Hungry Mouse

I don’t like to keep cooked seafood for more than one day, so I usually make this no earlier than the night before I want to serve it.

Pasta Salad with Shrimp, Goat Feta, and Basil at The Hungry Mouse

If it needs it when it comes out of the fridge, you can toss in a little extra olive oil to loosen it up.

Pasta Salad with Shrimp, Goat Feta, and Basil at The Hungry Mouse

 

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Jessie Cross is a cookbook author and creator of The Hungry Mouse, a monster online food blog w/500+ recipes. When she's not shopping for cheese or baking pies, Jessie serves as an Associate Creative Director at PARTNERS+simons, a boutique ad agency in Boston. She lives in Salem, Massachusetts with her husband and two small, fluffy wolves.

5 COMMENTS

  1. The kitchen and I are not friends, but this dish worked out as my first successful anything that I’ve cooked.

    I love all the pictures and the step by step. We both loved the end result!

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