Shrimp Pesto Pasta on your table in 20 minutes!
Shrimp Pesto Shrimp Pasta loaded with juicy shrimp and bathed in a sun-dried tomato pesto that is OUT OF THIS WORLD! This quick an easy dinner boasts more flavor than a 5 star restaurant at a fraction of the cost! It is guaranteed to become a new favorite that is easy enough for everyday but gourmet enough for special occasions and company.
Shrimp Pesto Pasta
You guys know I love pasta from Creamy Sun-Dried Tomato Pasta, Shrimp Fettuccine, Spaghetti and Meatballs, Weeknight Spaghetti Bolognese, Million Dollar Mac and Cheese and Chicken Parmesan with spaghetti, but I am not exaggerating when I say this Shrimp Pesto Pasta is one of my favorite pastas of ALL time. I kid not. Not when it comes to Sun-Dried Tomato Shrimp Pesto Pasta!
This shrimp pasta is quick and easy – 20 minutes or less – but the flavors are out of this world thanks to the sun-dried tomato basil pesto. This pesto deserves its very own recipe. It’s tangy, garlicky, herby, salty and packs a flavorful punch – you will want to use it on everything!
The shrimp gets cooked in the pesto so it soaks up all the magnificent flavor then bathes the succulent shrimp and the pasta. It’s intoxicating. And did I say only 20 minutes already?
Do I have to use shrimp?
If you don’t have shrimp on hand or you want to make this Shrimp Pesto Pasta more economical, you can easily replace the shrimp with chicken for an equally delicious dish! Simply chop the chicken into bite size pieces and cook them just like you would the shrimp.
Can I use other noodles?
Shrimp Pesto Pasta is delicious with any type of pasta! I prefer linguine, but you can use spaghetti, angel hair pasta, rigatoni, penne or fettuccine. Really any pasta will work, just make sure it is cooked al dente!
This Shrimp Pesto Pasta could also be turned into a rice dish by stirring into rice or even over spaghetti squash or zoodles for a low carb alternative.
WHAT SHRIMP is best for this Shrimp Pesto Pasta?
For this Shrimp Pesto Pasta recipe, you are going to want to use shrimp that is:
- 31/35 count/pound
- Defrosted (if it’s been frozen)
You can purchase shrimp that is larger or smaller. If it’s smaller, you want to sauté your pesto for a minute before adding the shrimp to give the aromatics more time tot cook.
HOW DO I DEFROST SHRIMP?
I usually purchase frozen shrimp so can keep it stocked at all times to make easy recipes like this Shrimp Pesto Pasta. I purchase shrimp that is shelled and deveined so all that’s left to do is defrost.
To defrost shrimp:
- Quick Defrost: Place the frozen shrimp in a colander then place the colander in a large bowl. Fill the bowl with cold tap water and let it sit for 10 minutes. After 10 minutes, replace the water with new cold tap water and submerge the shrimp again. Let shrimp sit an additional 10- 20 minutes. If the shrimp isn’t completely defrosted, then repeat.
- Easy Defrost: The easiest way to defrost your shrimp in the refrigerator overnight.
How do you clean shrimp before cooking?
If you can’t get your hands on peeled and deveined shrimp, it is easy to do, just will take your Shrimp Pesto Past from 20 minutes to 35 minutes 🙂
- First, locate the vein in the shrimp running along its back.
- Make a shallow cut with and use the tip of the knife to lift it out.
- The veins and shells can then be thrown away.
- Rinse the shrimp and lay on a paper towel to dry.
What is in pesto?
Shrimp Pesto Pasta is only as good as the pesto, so I created a jaw-dropping delicious Sun-Dried Tomato Pesto. It combines:
- sun-dried tomatoes
- fresh basil
- balsamic vinegar
- tomato paste
- red pepper flakes
I use almonds in my pesto because I love a good almond pesto and I always have them on hand but you are welcome to substitute them with pine nuts if you prefer.
The pesto is further enhanced by tomato paste and balsamic vinegar for a sweet and tangy earthy flavor that is crazy delicious.
How do I make Pesto?
I know you might be tempted to purchase pesto to make Shrimp Pesto Pasta, and that is totally fine – it will just be a different recipe. For this Shrimp Pesto Pasta recipe, you want THIS sun-dried tomato pesto – AND it is super easy to make!
To make pesto, add all of the pesto ingredients to a food processor and process until finely chopped.
What should my pesto consistency be like?
You want your pesto to be thick, creamy and smooth.
What if my pesto is too thick?
Add olive oil one tablespoon at a time to loosen the pesto. You can also thin it with reserved pasta water once its added to the pasta.
How to Make Shrimp Pesto Pasta
Once you process your pesto (in literally, just a couple minutes) comes the best part – add it to your skillet along with your shrimp and saute your shrimp in the sun-dried pesto glory…
Add some Parmesan along with your linguine and some reserved pasta water…
HOW DO I KNOW WHEN MY SHRIMP IS DONE COOKING?
Color: Raw shrimp starts off translucent gray and turns pink and opaque when it is cooked. Your shrimp is done as soon as it is fully opaque without any gray left. The best place to check your shrimp for doneness is the crevice in the back of the shrimp where the vein was removed. When the base of this crevice becomes opaque, the shrimp is done.
SHRIMP TAILS ON OR OFF?
I recommend cooking your shrimp with the tails on because the tail shells contain flavor that seeps out and we get more robust shrimp flavor. Once your shrimp is cooked and resting you can remove the tails if you desire.
Can I add Vegetables to Shrimp Pesto Pasta?
Absolutely! Any of the following veggies would taste fantastic with your Shrimp Pesto Pasta:
- green beans
- red bell peppers
What can I use as a garnish?
Shrimp Pesto Pasta is fabulous all on its own but is made even more delicious with the addition of:
- Parmesan cheese
- Fresh tomatoes
- Fresh herbs (parsley or basil)
- Pine nuts
What can I serve with my pasta and shrimp?
Shrimp Pesto Pasta is delicious with roasted vegetables, a big salad and bread. Some of my favorite pairings include:
- Garlic Butter Breadsticks
- Cheesy Pull Apart Pesto Bread
- Soft and Fluffy Dinner Rolls
- Roasted Green Beans
- Roasted Asparagus with Balsamic Brown Butter
- Parmesan Roasted Broccoli
- Lemon Butter Brussels Sprouts
- Outback Copycat Wedge Salad with Blue Cheese Ranch
- Perfect Fruit Salad with Honey Citrus Dressing
- Cucumber Tomato Avocado Salad wit Italian Dressing
- Strawberry Salad with Strawberry Balsamic Vinaigrette
- Berry Fruit Salad in Honey Mascarpone
How do I reheat Shrimp Pesto Pasta?
- Microwave: Add a splash of chicken broth or water to your individual serving of Shrimp Pesto Pasta. You don’t need to stir it in yet. Microwave for one minute, stir, then continue to heat at 30 second intervals until warmed through.
- Stove: For larger portions, reheat Shrimp Pesto Pasta on the stove. You will need to add a splash of chicken broth or water to loosen the pesto.
HOW LONG IS SHRIMP PESTO PASTA GOOD FOR?
Shrimp Pesto Pasta should be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator. When properly stored, shrimp pasta is good for three days.
CAN I PREPARE SHRIMP PESTO PASTA AHEAD OF TIME?
To make your Shrimp Pesto pasta come together even more quickly, you can make your pesto up to 5 days in advance and store it an airtight container in the refrigerator. The pesto will solidify a little in the refrigerator but will loosen once you heat it the skillet.
Looking for more Shrimp Recipes?
- Cilantro Lime Shrimp Tacos with Mango Salsa
- Sweet Chili Shrimp
- Roasted Shrimp and Broccoli Fettuccine Alfredo (Lightened Up!)
- Chipotle Lime Shrimp Burrito Bowls
- Kung Pao Shrimp
- Sheet Pan Lemon Garlic Butter Shrimp and Asparagus
- Sheet Pan Shrimp Scampi
- Sheet Pan Shrimp Fajitas with Pineapple
- Old Bay Shrimp with Homemade Cocktail Sauce
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