Simply Healthy Family: Artichoke Pesto Pasta with Grilled Shrimp


Artichoke Pesto Pasta with Grilled Shrimp

I swore I would never ever be that parent who lives and breathes vicariously through their children's
lives. If you were to ask me I would tell you that I think I'm doing a pretty good job at fulfilling that goal. I would then go on to tell you that I actively encourage all 4 of my youngin's to aspire to what they want to be by engaging them in the things they are good at and helping them to work through those things that they aren't perfect at.  It's hard being a 4, 7, 8 and 19 year old after all.

I love baseball. I always have. The crack of the bat, the smell of the grass, the fresh air and the way the major league players look in those grey pants   the old fashioned, all American feeling of it all. I was never great at playing the sport but I sure wished upon more than one star that I would be the team hero at least once rather than 'Odd Man Out' more often than not. That's the thing about baseball. It's a team sport but when your up to bat or a pop fly is hit to your corner of the field, ALL eyes are on YOU. As a kid, one minute it feels like you're the team Super Hero and the next minute, you strike out (again) and you are shunned and ridiculed.

Being the mom of 3 boys (and 1 perfect little girl) means I can get my fill of watching and being a part of sports like my fav, baseball. My oldest son had a serious love affair with basketball and played his heart out on city leagues, clubs and in junior high where he was even team captain for 2 years, until when he got to high school and wasn't quite good enough to make the team.

It broke his heart but to my amazement he didn't sulk or even complain. Instead, my 13 year old son, went home and all on his own wrote a resume to the head coach of the High School Team listing all of the reasons why he was qualified to be a part of the team no matter what he had to do. Whether it be by being a team manager, passing out and picking up the balls, encouraging his team mates (which he did graciously and enthusiastically) and by just doing whatever was need of him, just so long as that he could be a part of the team while he practiced and practiced and practiced.

Which he did. And he got better. And they let him play. Joy.

Back to baseball and my 7 & 8 year old boys. My 8 year old could care less about sports. I'm o.k. with that. Really. I find it exhilarating that all of my children are unique and special with a set of their own  interests, skills and personalities. My 8 year old son loves art and building things, especially Lego's & Origami.

My 3rd and youngest son, age 7 was very eager to play baseball much to my excitement. He has my family's body type which I prefer to say is "Athletic" instead of "Big Boned".  He has a natural athletic ability when it comes to physic and strength and if we can just work on that coordination and speed thing I think we might have something here……..

"Not living vicariously through my children. Not living vicariously through my children."

Today was the last game of the season. When I asked him to go get ready to go to his game he pouted and sulked and then flat out protested. I said "What's wrong Nolan, I thought you liked baseball?" and do you know what my son said to me?

"My favorite part of baseball is the end. When it's over."


Maybe he'll change his mind.

Maybe not. And I'm o.k. with that. Kind of.

There is always comfort in pasta. Always. As long as it's a good quality, better yet home made pasta you can really sink your teeth into. As long as there as a fresh sauce or pesto you can twirl your noodles through life will be o.k.  Molto Bene!!

Not home made, but this pasta was fabulous. Thick and non starchy cooked to Al dente perfection with a hollow center to soak up even more of the green sauce! Swoon.

A twist on your traditional pesto, artichoke hearts make a light and lovely green pasta sauce. This unpretentious pesto would also pair well with jumbo grilled shrimp alone as an appetizer. 
A twist of lemon, a toss of freshly grated Parmigiana ~Romano and a bit of Italian parsley along with pine nuts or walnuts and you have yourself a guest worthy meal in minutes. Don't forget the wine!


1 package of pasta, cooked to package directions
5-7 artichoke hearts (found in glass jars)
1 large handful fresh Italian parsley
2 handfuls of walnuts or pine nuts (about 1 cup for those who measure)
1/2-3/4 cup freshly grated
 Parmigiana~Romano2-3 cloves fresh garlic
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/4 cup good quality extra virgin olive oil
2-3 tablespoons of water to thin pesto to desired consistency
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon cracked pepper
red chile flakes if desired

1 lb. large raw shrimp, peeled and deveined

Pre-heat grill. Spray a grill pan with oil. {You can also bake shrimp at 400F for 8-10 minutes or stir fry). Grill shrimp over medium flame until they turn dark pink, about 3 minutes per side. Don't overcook or they will become dry! Remove from heat and set aside. No need to season shrimp for this recipe.

Cook pasta according to package directions.

Combine all ingredients, artichoke hearts through cracked pepper in a food processor or blender till combined.  Toss pesto with pasta to coat. Sprinkle with chile flakes for some heat if desired. I do. ;}



  1. Looks delicious and BEAUTIFUL! Thanks for sharing Gwen

  2. sigh. you just never can predict how kids are going to feel about things, and it varies on a day-to-day basis! It's great that you don't really try to push them either way.

    Artichoke pesto!! Sounds good to me! I love new pesto variations.

  3. The pasta looks so tasty, Gwen, I love particularly the artichoke pesto.

  4. Your artichoke pesto sounds incredible! Especially paired with pasta and shrimp! I had to giggle at your son's least he kept it to himself till the end of the season ;)

  5. Pasta is my love language. I've never pesto with artichokes, but it looks fabulous!

    When my sister and I were little, my dad was our soccer coach, and we both made comments about just wanting the snacks and juice boxes at the end of the game. :)

  6. Great and delicious meal Gwen! I didn't get that perfect little girl....four boys here! :) Lots 'o sports in our house too!


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