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Creamy Pesto Rice with Spinach, Goat Cheese and Shrimp

We had some fun pool days this summer, and would typically roll in around five. Since naps are over I’d lost my dinner-making-window and I’d come home starving to a similarly hungry husband. One night I quickly pressure cooked some white rice (cooks in three minutes!), cooked down some sad looking baby spinach, adding frozen (quick thawed) cooked shrimp and goat cheese at the end. From start to finish this took 15 minutes. When Rich leaned over my shoulder as I was finishing it up, I said to him “tell me I’m a kitchen magician”. This sounds cocky but honestly, this dinner was absolutely delicious and I couldn’t carry on normal conversation while eating it, I just kept making yum noises. Tastes a lot like risotto with about a quarter of the work. Hate goat cheese? Try it with 4 oz. cream cheese instead.

The first time I made it the amounts were small (I think not all of the kids were home). This time I made enough to serve a family of five. Well, my family of five (kids ages 4, 7, 10). I used a nice big nonstick skillet. You can get “cooked rice” however you like, whether pressure cooking or microwaving a bag. The pesto was a surprise add when I remade it for this site. The end result of batch number two was missing something – that hard to explain balance. The pesto adds a little bit of natural sweetness and finished it off perfectly. I make pesto every September and freeze it in an ice cube tray. Those little cubes make my life happy all year through.

Creamy Pesto Rice with Spinach, Goat Cheese and Shrimp

Serves 4-5

2 tbsp. olive oil

16 oz. fresh baby spinach

2-4 cloves garlic, minced or pressed through garlic press

5 c. cooked white or brown rice

1 c. crumbled goat cheese

2 tbsp. prepared pesto

1 lb. frozen tail-on large or extra large shrimp, thawed, tail removed

1/4-1/2 tsp. kosher salt (could depend on if rice is salted)

1/4 tsp. black pepper

  1. Heat olive oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium high heat. Add spinach. Cook until wilted, liquid is released, and liquid is mostly evaporated.
  2. Add garlic and cook, stirring, about a minute.
  3. Add rice, cheese, pesto, shrimp, salt and pepper. Stir to combine and let heat through thoroughly, about 5 minutes. Taste for seasoning. Serve.