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Recipe: Pesto pasta shells with chorizo

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Pesto pasta shells with with chorizo!

Pesto pasta shells with with chorizo!

So I was pretty bored with pasta. In an attempt to breathe the life back into the dish, I threw in a bunch of stuff I’ve never put in pasta before. I call it: pesto pasta shells with chorizo!

Remember when I thought juggling pans while cooking pesto chicken pasta was hard? Well for this dish I found myself calling in the cavalry (AKA Jake) to check and flip my poor little neglected chorizo patties.

I found the original recipe here on Pinterest, but adjusted accordingly because I couldn’t find orecchiette pasta anywhere?! I settled for a comparable shape: shells. Shout out to my dad who suggested using chorizo instead of chicken sausage — it’s a winner.

Slice up 8 oz of chorizo into little patties.

Slice up 8 oz of chorizo into little patties.

Here’s what you’ll need (yields four servings — AKA dinner plus leftovers for two): 8 oz. chorizo, 12 oz. medium shell pasta, 1/2 lb. cut green beans, 1 cup frozen peas, 1/2 cup parmesan cheese, and 1/3 cup pesto.


  1. Prepare your pasta shells as the box instructs (Remember: add pasta after the water comes to a boil. I always forget that…)
  2. While your water is boiling, go ahead and chop up your chorizo and shape them into little patties.
  3. Add pasta to pot, then place your chorizo patties in another pan to cook. (Remember to flip them!)
  4. During the last few minutes of pasta cooking, add 1/2 lb of cut green beans and 1 cup of frozen peas — mix it together with the pasta shells.
  5. Once your pasta is finished cooking, drain the water — but keep 1 cup of the cooking water to loosen the sauce later.
  6. Add cooked chorizo, 1/2 cup parmesan cheese, 1/3 cup pesto, and 1/2 cup of cooking water to the pot (add more if needed), and mix it all together.
Mix everything together and you've got a big ol' pot of goodness.

Mix everything together and you’ve got a big ol’ pot of goodness.

And voila! You’ve got a pasta dish unlike any plain pesto sauce or meat marinara.

If you’re thinking about using a different kind of meat like chicken sausage — don’t. The chorizo gives every bite of pasta this little kick of spiciness — just the right amount to keep things interesting. I don’t even normally like green beans or peas, but I welcomed the different textures they brought to a pasta dish.

Plus — the beautiful thing about pasta shells is that they somehow envelop a pea, a green bean, or even a bit of chorizo and it’s like there’s a surprise in every bite.

I highly recommend this dish. Throw in a side of garlic bread and you’ve got a delicious Italian dinner. What are your favorite pasta dishes? Sound off in the comments!

For more easy weeknight meals, click here! Or see the finished products on my Pinterest board!


3 thoughts on “Recipe: Pesto pasta shells with chorizo

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