Don't turn on that oven! Oven-free summer shrimp

This week is going to be a scorcher.  If you live in an old home like mine, that may mean bearing 90 degree days without air-conditioning, which can dampen your will to do just about everything.

I find the best way to get through such weeks is to embrace the heat.  Without guilt, you can skip the hair dryer, grab an ice cold glass of pinto grigio and soak in a cool tub before bed, and sip lemonade lazily as you read, because to move is just to create too much heat.

And, of course, don't even think of turning on the oven before meals.

But, you may ask, how will I feed my hungry kids, who demand nourishment every few hours?  On days like these, my solution is dinner salads, pastas, and cold soups.  Today, I'm going to make a yummy shrimp pasta that is approved by three generations: my kids, my husband, and my parents.  That's a successful meal in my book.

I don't have an exact recipe because, as you'll remember, I'm a lazy cook.  To haul out measuring spoons and cups and clean them after each measurement is pure torture to me, so I leave the measurements to others and tend to cook with a splash of this and a dash of that.  It is all very romantic but, I admit, can lead to both amazing feats and disasters.  One never knows what the end product will be, which is all part of the fun.

So I've done my best to give you the most important directions and ingredients.  Take the raw ideas here and add your own creative flare.  Become inspired and enjoy making a dish uniquely yours.

Summer shrimp and tomato pasta (serves 4 adults and 2 children):


  1. Pasta 
  2. Approximately 1.5 lbs of grape tomatoes
  3. Fresh spinach
  4. 1 medium onion
  5. Several cloves of fresh garlic
  6. Pesto sauce,  (I buy mine at Costco)
  7. Pine nuts
  8. Finely grated pecorino romano
  9. Olive oil
  10. Salt and pepper
  1. Cook pasta according to package directions.  You can use any pasta, but I like to use Rotini for this one.
  2. Meanwhile, dice a medium onion and several garlic cloves
  3. In a large sauce pan, pour in olive oil.  Add a dash of salt and pepper
  4. When oil is hot, add the onion and garlic and cook until soft
  5. Cut approximately 1.5 lbs of grape or cherry tomatoes in half.  (I buy the 2 lb packages of grape tomatoes from Costco).
  6. Add tomatoes to the sauce pan and cover.  Heat should be medium-high
  7. When tomatoes have softened, add shrimp.  I usually count about 6 shrimp per adult and 3 for each child.  Shrimp will take about 4 minutes to cook. 
  8. Add several handfuls of fresh spinach.  I usually put as much as I can fit in the sauce pan.  Cover the pan and allow spinach to soften
  9. Meanwhile, over medium-high heat, toast pine nuts in a small pan.  When brown, remove from heat
  10. Toss pasta with pesto sauce
  11. Spoon pasta into bowls and top with shrimp and tomato sauce.  Sprinkle with finely grated Pecorino Romano cheese.

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