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Shrimp Pesto Pasta Recipe

  • Author: Shawn Williams
  • Prep Time: 15
  • Cook Time: 15
  • Total Time: 30 minutes
  • Yield: 2-4 1x
  • Category: Dinner
  • Cuisine: Italian


Easy pesto shrimp pasta made with fresh homemade basil pesto and shrimp sauteed in garlic and olive oil.


  • 8 ounces spaghetti or linguine
  • 1/2 pound large shrimp, peeled, deveined, and tails removed
  • ¾1 cup basil pesto
  • ½ lemon, squeezed
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 clove garlic, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 teaspoon, crushed red pepper flakes
  • Grated parmesan cheese, to taste
  • Extra olive oil (if pesto is too thick)
  • Salt and pepper, to taste

Basil pesto

  • 3 loosely packed cups of basil leaves, about 2.5 ounces
  • 3 tablespoons pine nuts
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 2/3 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • 2/3 cup olive oil
  • salt and pepper, to taste


For the pesto

  1. Combine all pesto ingredients except for the olive oil in a food processor or blender. Blend/pulse until mixed and smooth. See note below if you don’t have a food processor.
  2. With the motor running, add olive oil in a slow stream until combined. Pesto should not be too soupy or fine. Set aside. Can be made a day in advance and stored in the fridge in a tightly sealed container. Cover with plastic wrap seated directly on top of the surface to prevent browning/air exposure.

For the shrimp pasta

  1. Remove tails from the shrimp by pulling the tail off the base of the shrimp. Set aside.
  2. Bring a large pot of generously salted water to a boil. Cook spaghetti al dente, strain, and set aside.
  3. Meanwhile, heat oil over medium heat in a large pan or skillet. Add garlic, red pepper flakes, shrimp, and freshly squeezed lemon juice. Season shrimp all over with salt and pepper. Cook until shrimp is no longer translucent and fully cooked through, about 2 minutes per side.
  4. Once the shrimp are fully cooked, add the pasta to the saucepan and toss to mix in the juices. Stir in 3/4 – 1 cup of pesto until pasta is greenish and fully coated. Add more pesto as needed to cover. You may need to drizzle the pasta with extra olive oil to help spread the pesto. Serve immediately topped with freshly grated parmesan cheese if desired.


If pesto is too thick, add a ¼ cup of olive oil so it spreads more easily through the pasta.

If you don’t have a food processor, you can use a standard blender or single-serve blender instead. Just don’t blend the ingredients too aggressively or it will turn into a creamy paste. If using a single-serve blender, combine all ingredients together and pulse until smooth. Shaking the containing in between blends will help to mix the ingredients if they get “stuck.”


  • Serving Size: 1
  • Calories: 503
  • Sugar: 4.3g
  • Sodium: 545mg
  • Fat: 27.8g
  • Saturated Fat: 5.3g
  • Carbohydrates: 48g
  • Fiber: 1.3g
  • Protein: 28.9g
  • Cholesterol: 178mg

Keywords: pesto pasta, pesto shrimp pasta


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