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Pesto Shrimp Pasta

This pesto shrimp pasta features succulent shrimp, salty Parmesan, and bright cherry tomatoes in a garlicky pesto sauce with plenty of tender noodles. 

Every bite offers a satisfying combination of flavors and textures. Topped with extra Parmesan and fresh basil, you’ll love the balance of richness and freshness. 

It’s an easy yet impressive meal for any occasion, from busy weeknights to casual entertaining.

Fresh pesto shrimp pasta with cherry tomatoes and shredded parmesan cheese.
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Why You’ll Love This Pesto Shrimp Pasta

Quick and Easy: Between the quick-cooking pasta and lightning-fast shrimp, you can have this on the table in under 20 minutes!

Minimal Cleanup: With just one pot for the pasta and one skillet for the shrimp and sauce, this recipe keeps the kitchen mess to a minimum.

Crowd-Pleaser: Light, bright, and wonderfully fragrant, it’s sure to be a hit with family and friends.

Vibrant pesto shrimp pasta, garnished with grated parmesan and basil.

Ingredients

  • Spaghetti (or Linguine): The perfect pasta shape to capture every bit of the luscious pesto sauce. Choose your favorite!
  • Large Shrimp: Juicy, tender shrimp are the star of this dish, so be sure to get the good stuff!
  • Garlic, Salt, Pepper, and Red Pepper Flakes: To season the shrimp and add a subtle warmth. 
  • Olive Oil and Butter: To fry the shrimp and add richness to the sauce.
  • Basil Pesto: The heart and soul of this recipe, you can use store-bought to keep it quick or make your own if you prefer. 
  • Freshly Grated Parmesan Cheese: A shower of sharp, salty Parmesan takes this pasta to the next level. Grate it fresh for maximum flavor.
  • Cherry Tomatoes: Offer juicy pops of sweetness and lovely color to contrast the green.
  • Fresh Basil Leaves: Elevate the dish with fresh flavor and visual appeal.
Savory pesto shrimp pasta with cherry tomatoes and basil in a skillet, top view

How to Make Pesto Shrimp Pasta

There’s nothing quite like a big bowl of pasta to satisfy your carb cravings. 

But when you add succulent shrimp, fresh basil pesto, and a few simple ingredients, you’ve got a meal that’s out-of-this-world delicious.

And while it looks and tastes restaurant quality, it couldn’t be easier to whip up!

1. BOIL: Cook the pasta in a pot of well-salted water until al dente. Drain, and reserve 1/2 cup of pasta water.

2. SEASON: Pat dry and season the shrimp. 

3. SAUTÉ: Cook the shrimp in the butter and oil for 1-2 minutes per side, just until it’s opaque. Remove and set aside.

4. COOK: In the same skillet, cook the tomatoes and garlic, then stir in the pesto, Parmesan, and 1/4 cup reserved pasta water. Mix well and add more water as needed.

5. TOSS: Combine the cooked pasta and shrimp in the sauce until evenly coated.

6. SERVE: Serve hot with extra Parmesan and fresh basil. Enjoy!

Homemade pasta with shrimp, tomatoes and pesto, garnished with shredded parmesan cheese and basil.

Tips For the Best Pesto Shrimp Pasta

What makes this pasta dish so special? 

It’s perfect for those busy weeknights when you want something delicious without spending hours in the kitchen. But it’s also impressive enough to serve at a dinner party.

It’s super quick to whip up. And if you read these tips first, it’ll be flawless every time.

  • Homemade pesto. For the best flavor, make the pesto from scratch. That way, you can taste and adjust as you like. Here’s my favorite pesto recipe
  • Shrimp size. Use large or jumbo shrimp for the best flavor and texture. Smaller shrimps are so easy to overcook and don’t have the same meaty texture. If you use frozen shrimp, be sure to thaw them first.
  • Pasta options. Spaghetti and linguine work well, but any long pasta shape like fettuccine or bucatini would be great, too.
  • Reserve the pasta water. The starchy pasta water is the secret to achieving a smooth, glossy pesto sauce that clings to the noodles. Add it gradually until the desired consistency is reached.
  • Avoid overcooking. Cook the shrimp just until pink and opaque, about 2 minutes per side, to prevent them from becoming tough and rubbery.
  • Spice it up. Add extra crushed red pepper flakes or throw in some sliced chilies with the tomatoes for a kick of heat.
  • Tasty add-ins. For extra flavor and nutrition, throw in some garlic butter mushrooms, baby spinach, or sun-dried tomatoes. You could even swap out the shrimp for chicken or salmon if you prefer.
  • Perfect pairings. Serve with a side salad and crusty bread to round out the meal. A crisp white wine also pairs nicely.
Spaghetti pasta with pesto, tomatoes and basil in a bowl.

How to Store

Got leftovers? Be careful – it’s so easy to overcook shrimp!

To Store: Refrigerate leftovers in an airtight container for up to 4 days. The pesto may darken slightly but will still be safe to eat.

To Reheat: For best results, reheat pesto shrimp pasta gently on the stovetop over medium-low heat, stirring frequently. Add a splash of water, if needed, to loosen the sauce. 

Note: This dish won’t freeze well. The pasta will turn to mush and the shrimp are likely to become tough after thawing and recooking.

More Hearty Pasta Dinners You’ll Love

Lemon Ricotta Pasta
Garlic Parmesan Chicken Pasta
Sun-Dried Tomato Chicken Pasta
Cherry Tomato and Basil Pasta

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Pesto Shrimp Pasta

Course: Main CourseCuisine: American, Italian
Servings

4

servings
Prep time

10

minutes
Cooking time

10

minutes
Calories

702

kcal

This pesto shrimp pasta features succulent shrimp, salty Parmesan, and bright cherry tomatoes in a garlicky pesto sauce with plenty of tender noodles.

Ingredients

  • 12 ounces dry spaghetti or linguine

  • 1 pound large shrimp, peeled and deveined

  • 1 teaspoon salt

  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper

  • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes

  • 2 tablespoon butter

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil

  • 1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved

  • 2-3 cloves garlic, minced

  • 3/4-1 cup basil pesto

  • 1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese, plus more for garnish

  • fresh basil leaves, for garnish

Instructions

  • Bring a large pot of well-salted water to a boil. Cook the pasta until al dente per the package directions. Drain the pasta but reserve about 1/2 cup of the starchy pasta water.
  • While the pasta cooks, pat the shrimp dry and season on both sides with salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes.
  • Melt the butter with the olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the shrimp and cook undisturbed for 1-2 minutes per side. Remove the shrimp from the skillet and set aside.
  • In the same skillet, add the tomatoes and garlic and cook for 1-2 minutes until slightly softened. Then, add 3/4 cup pesto, Parmesan cheese, and 1/4 cup of the reserved pasta water and mix well. If needed, add more pesto or pasta water to adjust the consistency.
  • Toss the cooked pasta and shrimp in the sauce until evenly coated.
  • Serve hot with extra Parmesan cheese and fresh basil. Enjoy!

Notes

  • For the best flavor, make the pesto from scratch. Here’s my go-to pesto recipe
  • Cook the shrimp until it’s just opaque the get it out of the pan asap. This will keep it from turning tough and rubbery.
  • The starchy pasta water is the secret to achieving a smooth, glossy pesto sauce that clings to the noodles. Add it gradually until the desired consistency is reached.

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author avatar
Kim - InsanelyGood
Hey there! I'm Kim. I love running, cooking, and curling up with a good book! I share recipes for people who LOVE good food, but want to keep things simple :)

2 thoughts on “Pesto Shrimp Pasta”

  1. The Pesto Shrimp Pasta recipe was out of this world good. Our family was literally squealing with joy it was so yummy.

    I made the pesto from scratch this time but it’s so nice to know that can grab a jar of premade pesto to make a very quick and delicious meal!

    I never comment on recipes but I’ve replaced your website-recipes with other sources before I found you! Keep em coming and thank you!

    Reply

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