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Shrimp Pesto Pasta Recipe

Recipes.net Team has made editorial contributions to this recipe.

This shrimp pesto pasta recipe is the perfect blend of fresh flavors and hearty comfort. A delicious mix of succulent shrimp, fragrant basil pesto, tangy cherry tomatoes, and creamy parmesan cheese, all tossed together with spaghetti. It's an easy, quick, and incredibly satisfying meal that's guaranteed to impress.

Shrimp Pesto Pasta Recipe
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Photos of Shrimp Pesto Pasta Recipe

All the ingredients for this recipe are commonly found in most supermarkets. However, if you can't find basil pesto, it can be easily made at home with fresh basil leaves, pine nuts, garlic, parmesan cheese, and olive oil. Additionally, the recipe calls for Italian seasoning which is a blend of commonly used herbs such as oregano, basil, thyme, and marjoram. If it's not available, you can substitute it with a blend of these herbs.

Ingredients for Shrimp Pesto Pasta

Spaghetti: The base of this dish, it absorbs the flavors of the pesto and complements the shrimp.

Basil pesto: Adds a rich, aromatic flavor to the pasta. Made from fresh basil, garlic, pine nuts, and parmesan cheese.

Shrimp: Brings a succulent, seafood flavor that pairs well with pesto.

Olive oil: Used for cooking the shrimp, it adds a subtle, fruity flavor.

Italian seasoning: Enhances the overall taste of the dish with its blend of herbs.

Salt and Pepper: Basic seasonings to enhance the flavors.

Parmesan cheese: Adds a creamy and salty taste.

Cherry tomatoes: Adds a sweet and tangy flavor and a pop of color.

Parsley: Used as a garnish, it adds a fresh, slightly peppery flavor.

One reader, Denis Suarez says:

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This shrimp pesto pasta recipe is a game-changer! The flavors are incredible, and it's so easy to make. The combination of succulent shrimp, fragrant basil pesto, and al dente pasta is simply divine. It's now a family favorite in our household. Highly recommend trying it out!

Denis Suarez

Essential Techniques for Shrimp Pesto Pasta Recipe

Cooking the pasta: Boil a large pot of salted water and cook the pasta according to the package directions.

Cooking the shrimp: Heat olive oil in a large pan over high heat. Add the shrimp and sprinkle with Italian seasoning, salt, and pepper. Cook for 2 to 4 minutes or until the shrimp is just pink and opaque.

Assembling the dish: Drain the pasta and add it to the pan with the shrimp. Stir in the pesto, then add the cherry tomatoes and parmesan cheese to the pan.

Garnishing: Sprinkle the dish with chopped parsley before serving.

Fettuccine pasta tossed in basil pesto sauce, then topped with shrimp and tomatoes. This easy-to-make shrimp pesto pasta recipe uses some cupboard-staple ingredients for a simple and surprisingly delicious dinner. Of all the ways to prepare and eat shrimp, this should be one of your new favorites. Best of all, everything’s ready in as fast as 20 minutes.

Looking for more easy pesto pasta recipes? Try this Trenette al Pesto Pasta inspired from Disney Pixar’s Luca, that’s also loaded with potatoes and green beans.

What’s in This Shrimp Pesto Pasta

This pesto shrimp pasta recipe is easily adjustable to fit your preferences. Below are the ingredients you will need to get started:

  • Fettuccine – You can use any type of pasta, long or short. Spaghetti, linguine, penne, bowtie, or rigatoni are great alternatives as well
  • Basil pesto – Homemade is preferred. But you can also use store-bought pesto, which can be equally delicious and aromatic.
  • Shrimp – This shrimp with pesto pasta calls for raw, fresh shrimp. Get the freshest ones you can find. They should be slightly transparent and smell like the ocean. Smaller-sized shrimps work best for this pesto pasta recipe so you get more shrimp pieces throughout the dish.
  • Olive oil – Olive oil is traditionally used for pesto sauce. But you can swap it for neutral oils like avocado, canola, or grapeseed.
  • Italian seasoning – This is a blend of herbs like basil, oregano, rosemary, thyme, and marjoram. It gives the dish an earthy flavor.
  • Parmesan cheese – Finely grated parmesan cheese gives the pesto sauce its distinct salty, nutty bite. It also serves as a thickener.
  • Cherry tomatoes – Shrimp and pesto go as well together as with other ingredients like tomatoes. Fresh, juicy, and ripe tomatoes add a sweet, tart, and tangy flavor to the dish.

Tips for Making Shrimp Pesto Pasta

This shrimp pesto pasta is easy to make, even when you make homemade pesto sauce yourself. Here are a few tips to help elevate your shrimp and pesto pasta!

  • Use salt water when boiling the pasta. This adds to the overall taste of the pasta recipe. Bring a pot of salted water to a boil and cook the pasta according to package directions or until al dente.
  • Do not rinse the pasta after boiling. A common mistake when preparing pasta is rinsing it to reduce the stickiness. Spray the pasta with a little olive oil instead to reduce stickiness.
  • Use pasta water to help the sauce stick to the pasta. Don’t drain all of the pasta water. Save some to help the oils from the pesto sauce stick to the pasta better. You can also use it to thin out the sauce. When heating the sauce and pasta, add the pasta water, little by little, and toss vigorously.
  • Do not cook the pesto sauce. All the charm of pesto is in its fresh and raw flavor. Cooking the pesto sauce will change the makeup of the fresh basil, causing it to turn darker in color. So when serving shrimp pesto pasta, use the sauce at room temperature instead. Simply toss in the pasta and shrimp before serving.
  • Customize your dish. Shrimp pesto pasta is already scrumptious on its own. Make it healthier by adding vegetables and fruits like zucchini and avocado. Or make it even more filling by also throwing in some hearty mushrooms.

Frequently Asked Questions

What goes well with pesto pasta?

Shrimp pesto pasta is a tasty dish that is delicious on its own. But you can elevate your pasta experience with garlic bread, antipasto salad, or roasted bell peppers served on the side. It also pairs well with smoky sides like grilled corn on the cob or grilled sea salted asparagus.

Is pesto sauce healthy?

Besides adding fresh, garlicky flavor to your dish, pesto sauce contains vitamins, minerals, and monounsaturated fats. It is part of the heart-healthy Mediterranean diet and helps reduce the risks of heart disease, diabetes, and cancer.

How To Make Shrimp Pesto Pasta

This recipe for shrimp pesto pasta is made with fettuccine tossed in basil pesto sauce. Topped with shrimp and cherry tomatoes for a filling meal! It’s a fresh, easy-to-make, flavorful meal perfect for dinner with the family.

Preparation: 10 minutes
Cooking: 10 minutes
Total: 20 minutes

Serves:

Ingredients

  • 10 oz fettuccine, or your preferred pasta
  • 1 lb shrimp, small to medium, peeled, deveined
  • ¾ cup basil pesto
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1 tsp Italian seasoning
  • ¼ cup parmesan cheese
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
  • parsley, chopped, optional garnish

Instructions

  1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and cook the pasta according to package directions.
  2. Heat the olive oil in a large pan over high heat. Add the shrimp and sprinkle with Italian seasoning, salt, and pepper.
  3. Cook for 2 to 4 minutes or until the shrimp is just pink and opaque. Turn off the heat.
  4. Drain the pasta and add it to the pan with the shrimp. Stir in the pesto.
  5. Add the cherry tomatoes and parmesan cheese to the pan. Toss to combine.
  6. Garnish with chopped parsley, serve, and enjoy!

Nutrition

  • Calories: 591.15kcal
  • Fat: 24.19g
  • Saturated Fat: 4.67g
  • Trans Fat: 0.02g
  • Monounsaturated Fat: 3.52g
  • Polyunsaturated Fat: 1.19g
  • Carbohydrates: 60.87g
  • Fiber: 4.06g
  • Sugar: 3.15g
  • Protein: 31.13g
  • Cholesterol: 153.21mg
  • Sodium: 1288.18mg
  • Calcium: 288.30mg
  • Potassium: 428.31mg
  • Iron: 3.24mg
  • Vitamin A: 111.85µg
  • Vitamin C: 10.00mg

Crucial Technique Tip for Shrimp Pesto Pasta Recipe

To ensure your shrimp is cooked perfectly, avoid overcooking as it can make the shrimp tough and chewy. The shrimp is done as soon as it turns pink and opaque. Also, adding the pesto to the pasta while it's still hot allows it to absorb the flavors more effectively. For an extra burst of freshness, consider adding a squeeze of lemon juice over the finished dish.

Time-Saving Tips for Shrimp Pesto Pasta Recipe

Prep ahead: Chop vegetables, measure ingredients, and prepare the pesto in advance to streamline the cooking process.

Use pre-cooked shrimp: Save time by using pre-cooked shrimp, which reduces the cooking time and simplifies the recipe.

Multitask: While the pasta is cooking, prepare the shrimp and pesto to make the most of your time in the kitchen.

One-pot option: Consider using a single pot for both cooking the pasta and preparing the shrimp and pesto to minimize cleanup time.

Quick-cooking pasta: Opt for quick-cooking pasta varieties to reduce the overall cooking time for the dish.

Efficient organization: Arrange all the ingredients and utensils in an organized manner before starting to cook for a smoother and quicker cooking process.

Substitute Ingredients For Shrimp Pesto Pasta Recipe

  • dry spaghetti - Substitute with linguine: Linguine is a suitable substitute for spaghetti in this recipe, as it has a similar texture and shape, allowing it to hold the pesto and shrimp well.

  • basil pesto - Substitute with sun-dried tomato pesto: Sun-dried tomato pesto can be used as a flavorful alternative to basil pesto, adding a unique and rich taste to the dish.

  • shrimp - Substitute with chicken breast: Chicken breast can be used as a substitute for shrimp, providing a different protein option while still pairing well with the pesto and pasta.

  • olive oil - Substitute with avocado oil: Avocado oil can be used as a substitute for olive oil, offering a mild flavor and high smoke point, ideal for sautéing the shrimp and enhancing the overall taste of the dish.

  • Italian seasoning - Substitute with fresh chopped oregano and thyme: Fresh chopped oregano and thyme can be used to replace Italian seasoning, providing a similar herbaceous flavor to the dish.

  • parmesan cheese - Substitute with pecorino Romano: Pecorino Romano can be used as a substitute for parmesan cheese, offering a slightly sharper and saltier flavor to complement the pesto and shrimp.

  • cherry tomatoes - Substitute with sundried tomatoes: Sun-dried tomatoes can be used as a substitute for cherry tomatoes, adding a concentrated sweetness and tanginess to the dish.

  • parsley - Substitute with fresh basil: Fresh basil can be used as a substitute for parsley, providing a similar herbaceous and aromatic element to the dish.

Presenting Your Shrimp Pesto Pasta Dish

  1. Elevate the plating: When presenting the dish, focus on creating a visually stunning plate. Use negative space to allow the colors and textures of the dish to shine through. Arrange the pasta and shrimp in an artful manner, and pay attention to the placement of the cherry tomatoes and parsley for a balanced and elegant presentation.

  2. Incorporate garnishes: Utilize fresh parsley as a vibrant and aromatic garnish to add a pop of color and freshness to the dish. Sprinkle a touch of freshly grated parmesan cheese over the top for a luxurious finish that will appeal to the discerning palates of Michelin-starred professionals.

  3. Focus on precision: Pay attention to the placement of each element on the plate. Ensure that the shrimp are perfectly cooked and arranged with care, and that the pasta is neatly twirled to create an appealing visual effect. Precision in plating demonstrates a high level of skill and attention to detail.

  4. Emphasize balance and harmony: Create a harmonious balance of flavors, colors, and textures on the plate. The vibrant green of the basil pesto, the bright red of the cherry tomatoes, and the succulent shrimp should come together in a visually appealing and appetizing manner.

  5. Consider the plate shape and color: Choose a plate that complements the colors of the dish and allows the elements to stand out. A white or neutral-colored plate can provide an elegant backdrop for the vibrant hues of the pasta, pesto, and shrimp, allowing the dish to take center stage.

  6. Use high-quality tableware: Select elegant and refined tableware to showcase the dish. The use of high-quality plates and utensils can elevate the dining experience and convey a sense of sophistication and attention to detail.

  7. Highlight the pesto: Use a small spoon to carefully drizzle a touch of extra virgin olive oil around the edge of the plate, framing the dish and adding a luxurious sheen. This extra touch will enhance the visual appeal and elevate the overall presentation.

  8. Create a focal point: Arrange the shrimp in a visually striking manner to create a focal point on the plate. Consider layering the shrimp on top of the pasta or arranging them in a circular pattern to draw the eye and create an engaging visual composition.

Essential Tools for Making Shrimp Pesto Pasta

  • Large pot: Used for boiling pasta or other ingredients.
  • Pan: Used for cooking the shrimp and mixing the pasta with other ingredients.
  • Colander: Used for draining the cooked pasta.
  • Spatula: Used for stirring and flipping the shrimp while cooking.
  • Knife: Used for chopping parsley and slicing cherry tomatoes.
  • Cutting board: Used as a surface for chopping and slicing ingredients.
  • Grater: Used for grating parmesan cheese.
  • Measuring cup: Used for measuring the amount of pesto and parmesan cheese.
  • Tongs: Used for handling and serving the shrimp and pasta.
  • Pot: Used for making the pesto sauce or boiling the pasta.

Storing and Freezing Shrimp Pesto Pasta

  • Allow the shrimp pesto pasta to cool completely before storing it in an airtight container in the refrigerator. It will keep fresh for up to 3-4 days.
  • If you want to freeze the pasta, it's best to freeze the pesto and shrimp separately from the cooked pasta. This will help maintain the texture of the pasta when reheating.
  • To freeze the pesto and shrimp, place them in a freezer-safe container or resealable bag. Remove as much air as possible to prevent freezer burn. Label the container with the date and contents. They will keep in the freezer for up to 2-3 months.
  • When you're ready to enjoy the frozen shrimp pesto pasta, thaw the pesto and shrimp in the refrigerator overnight. Cook the pasta according to the package instructions, then toss it with the thawed pesto and shrimp. Reheat gently in a pan over low heat until warmed through.
  • If you have leftover pasta that you want to freeze, toss it with a bit of olive oil to prevent it from sticking together. Place the pasta in a freezer-safe container or resealable bag, remove excess air, and label it with the date. Frozen pasta will keep for up to 2 months.
  • To reheat frozen pasta, place it in a colander and run it under hot water until it's thawed and heated through. You can then toss it with the thawed pesto and shrimp.

How To Reheat Leftover Shrimp Pesto Pasta

  • Stovetop method: Heat a large skillet over medium heat and add a splash of olive oil or a knob of butter. Add the leftover shrimp pesto pasta to the skillet and toss gently until heated through, about 3-5 minutes. Be careful not to overcook the shrimp, as they can become tough and rubbery. If the pasta seems dry, add a splash of chicken broth or pasta water to help loosen the sauce.

  • Microwave method: Place the leftover shrimp pesto pasta in a microwave-safe dish and cover with a damp paper towel. Microwave on high for 1-2 minutes, stirring halfway through, until heated through. Be sure to check the temperature of the shrimp to ensure they are heated through but not overcooked. If the pasta seems dry, add a splash of water or olive oil before microwaving.

  • Oven method: Preheat the oven to 350°F (175°C). Transfer the leftover shrimp pesto pasta to an oven-safe dish and cover with foil. Bake for 10-15 minutes, or until heated through. Remove the foil for the last 2-3 minutes of baking to allow any excess moisture to evaporate and the top to crisp up slightly. This method works well if you have a large amount of leftover pasta and want to reheat it all at once.

  • Cold pasta salad: If you prefer a cold dish, consider transforming your leftover shrimp pesto pasta into a refreshing pasta salad. Toss the cold pasta with some additional pesto, diced cucumber, halved cherry tomatoes, and a squeeze of lemon juice. This method works best if the pasta was stored separately from the shrimp and sauce.

Interesting Fact About Shrimp Pesto Pasta

Pesto is a versatile sauce that can be used in various dishes, such as sandwiches, salads, and even as a marinade for meats.

Is Making Shrimp Pesto Pasta at Home Cost-Effective?

This shrimp pesto pasta recipe is quite cost-effective for a household. Shrimp is a relatively affordable protein, and the other ingredients are commonly found in most kitchens. The dish offers a delightful combination of flavors and textures, making it a satisfying meal for the whole family. On a scale of 1-10, I would rate this recipe an 8 for its balance of cost and taste. The approximate cost for a household of 4 people would be around $20, making it a budget-friendly option for a delicious and fulfilling meal.

Is Shrimp Pesto Pasta Healthy or Unhealthy?

This shrimp pesto pasta recipe has both healthy and unhealthy aspects. On the positive side, shrimp is a lean protein source rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which are beneficial for heart health. Cherry tomatoes provide vitamins and antioxidants, while parsley adds a fresh, nutrient-dense touch. However, the recipe also includes some less healthy components. Pesto, although delicious, is often high in calories and fat due to its olive oil and cheese content. The parmesan cheese contributes additional saturated fat and sodium. Lastly, the recipe lacks a significant source of fiber, as refined pasta is used.

To make this dish healthier, consider the following modifications:

  • Swap regular pasta for whole wheat or legume-based pasta to increase fiber content
  • Reduce the amount of pesto used, or opt for a lighter, homemade version with less oil and cheese
  • Include more vegetables, such as spinach, zucchini, or bell peppers, to boost nutrient density and fiber
  • Use a smaller amount of parmesan cheese, or replace it with a sprinkle of nutritional yeast for a lower-fat, vegan alternative
  • Prepare the shrimp using a healthier cooking method, such as grilling or baking, instead of sautéing in oil

Editor's Opinion on This Shrimp Pesto Pasta Recipe

This shrimp pesto pasta recipe is a delightful combination of flavors and textures. The succulent shrimp pairs beautifully with the aromatic basil pesto, while the burst of sweetness from the cherry tomatoes adds a refreshing touch. The dish is well-balanced and visually appealing, making it a perfect choice for a quick and satisfying meal. The use of parmesan cheese enhances the richness of the dish, and the addition of Italian seasoning elevates the overall flavor profile. This recipe is a winner for both weeknight dinners and special occasions.

Enhance Your Shrimp Pesto Pasta Recipe with These Unique Side Dishes:

Garlic Bread: Create a mouthwatering garlic bread with a blend of roasted garlic, butter, and herbs, perfectly toasted to golden perfection.
Caesar Salad: Craft a classic Caesar salad with crisp romaine lettuce, homemade croutons, tangy Caesar dressing, and a generous sprinkle of parmesan cheese.
Bruschetta: Prepare a delightful bruschetta with juicy tomatoes, fresh basil, garlic, and balsamic glaze on a toasted baguette, bursting with Italian flavors.
Fruit Salad: Whip up a refreshing fruit salad featuring a medley of seasonal fruits, such as strawberries, blueberries, kiwi, and mango, tossed in a zesty citrus dressing.
Tiramisu: Indulge in a decadent tiramisu layered with espresso-soaked ladyfingers, creamy mascarpone cheese, and a dusting of cocoa powder for a rich and satisfying dessert.

Similar Recipes to Shrimp Pesto Pasta

Grilled Vegetable Skewers: Marinate the vegetables in a mixture of olive oil, balsamic vinegar, and herbs before grilling for a delicious and healthy side dish.
Beef Stir Fry: Slice beef thinly and stir fry with colorful bell peppers, onions, and a savory sauce for a quick and flavorful meal.
Mango Sorbet: Blend ripe mangoes with a little bit of sugar and lemon juice, then freeze for a refreshing and fruity dessert.
Chicken Noodle Soup: Simmer chicken, carrots, celery, and noodles in a flavorful broth for a comforting and classic soup option.
Berry Parfait: Layer Greek yogurt with fresh berries and granola for a light and satisfying dessert or breakfast option.

Appetizer and Dessert Pairings for Shrimp Pesto Pasta

Appetizers:
Stuffed Mushrooms: Delight your guests with these savory stuffed mushrooms, filled with a flavorful mixture of cream cheese, garlic, and herbs. The perfect bite-sized appetizer to kick off any meal.
Bruschetta: Satisfy your guests' taste buds with this classic bruschetta, featuring toasted baguette slices topped with a zesty mixture of tomatoes, basil, and balsamic glaze. A refreshing and vibrant starter for any gathering.
Desserts:
Chocolate Mousse: Indulge in a rich and creamy chocolate mousse, topped with a dollop of whipped cream and a sprinkle of cocoa powder. The smooth texture and decadent flavor will satisfy any sweet tooth.
Berry Parfait: Layer fresh berries with creamy yogurt and crunchy granola for a refreshing and light dessert. The combination of sweet and tart flavors, along with the different textures, creates a delightful treat for any occasion.

Why trust this Shrimp Pesto Pasta Recipe:

This recipe is a trusted favorite among home cooks and food enthusiasts. The combination of succulent shrimp and fragrant basil pesto creates a harmonious blend of flavors. The use of high-quality parmesan cheese and fresh cherry tomatoes further elevates the dish. The cooking method ensures that the shrimp is perfectly cooked, resulting in a delightful texture. With the addition of Italian seasoning and a touch of olive oil, this recipe promises a delightful dining experience. Trust in the simplicity and deliciousness of this shrimp pesto pasta recipe for a memorable meal.

Want to share your experience making this Shrimp Pesto Pasta or have any tips to enhance the flavors? Join the discussion in the Recipe Sharing forum and let's talk about this delicious dish!
FAQ:
What type of shrimp should I use for this recipe?
You can use any type of shrimp for this recipe, but I recommend using large or jumbo shrimp for a more substantial and satisfying dish.
Can I use a different type of pasta?
Absolutely! While the recipe calls for spaghetti, feel free to use any type of pasta you prefer, such as fettuccine, penne, or linguine.
How can I make the dish less spicy?
If you prefer a milder flavor, you can reduce or omit the Italian seasoning and adjust the amount of black pepper to your taste.
Can I make the pesto from scratch?
Yes, you can definitely make your own basil pesto from scratch if you have the time and ingredients. It will add a fresh and vibrant flavor to the dish.
What can I serve as a side dish with this shrimp pesto pasta?
A simple side salad with a light vinaigrette or some garlic bread would complement the shrimp pesto pasta beautifully.

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Conclusion

Shrimp pesto pasta can be quite intimidating if you have never cooked it before. But this recipe proves otherwise. It’s super easy to make, yet it is so filling and delicious. It cooks up so fast that you will have a hassle-free, flavorful dinner in just 20 minutes!
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