Shrimp Pesto Pasta combines tender shrimp with a delicious pesto sauce, pasta noodles, and sautéed tomatoes. Not only is this a quick and easy weeknight dinner, it’s an impressive dish for entertaining too.
On certain occasions, I start dreaming of the garden I’m going to start. You know, one that is organized in rows by vegetable with wire racks around the tomato plants and little boards down the middle of the garden so you can stay off the dirt. I’ve even thought about raised gardens with the fences to keep out the critters.
But then I get real because TIME. Gardening is something my parents did VERY well, and thoroughly enjoyed. It was their hobby and they spent hours outside tending to their beautiful vegetable and flower gardens. I was lucky to enjoy the fruits of their work, and I think I’ll limit my gardening to (my current) pots of herbs.
Speaking of which, the basil for this pesto came from MY VERY OWN BASIL PLANT. I’m sorta proud in a plant mom kind of way. 😀
Ingredients needed for Shrimp Pesto Pasta:
- Shrimp – I used one pound of extra large shrimp, or about 20 shrimp (5 per serving). You could also buy a different size of shrimp or even make more.
- Pesto Sauce – I love my homemade pesto – a simple combination of fresh basil leaves, garlic, pine nuts, parmesan cheese, olive oil, and salt and pepper. Since I’m growing basil in some pots outdoors this summer, we’re eating ALL the pesto!
- Pasta – I used regular spaghetti noodles for this recipe, but any type of pasta is fine.
- Tomatoes – The tomatoes are SO good this time of year, so I sautéed some cherry tomatoes.
- Extras – To serve, add some fresh basil leaves and extra fresh parmesan. Some fresh rosemary focaccia would also be delicious!
How to make Shrimp Pesto Pasta:
- Make pesto sauce. In a food processor, combine the pesto sauce ingredients – the fresh basil, garlic, toasted pine nuts, freshly grated parmesan cheese, salt, and pepper. Pulse until well combined. Then start food processor and drizzle in the olive oil until it’s nice and creamy.
- Marinate shrimp. Pour about half of the pesto sauce over the shrimp and let marinate for about 30 minutes or so. Set the remaining half aside.
- Sauté tomatoes. When ready to cook, sauté the cherry tomatoes in a cast iron skillet, with a drizzle of olive oil. Add some salt and pepper, and cook for just a few minutes, or until slightly softened.
- Cook pasta. In a medium stock pot, cook the pasta according to package directions. Always salt your water when cooking pasta. When cooked to al dente, remove and strain pasta, reserving a bit for later.
- Grill shrimp. Meanwhile, grill shrimp in a hot cast iron skillet, with a touch of olive oil. You’ll need to do this in two batches. The shrimp will cook up quickly, about 2 minutes per side. You’ll know the shrimp is done when the shrimp goes from gray to pink.
- Combine. Place the cooked pasta, grilled shrimp, and sautéed tomatoes back in the stock pot. Pour the reserved pesto sauce (and a little bit of reserved pasta water) over the noodles and stir to combine.
- Serve. Serve by dividing the pasta between four bowls. Top with some fresh basil and freshly grated parmesan cheese.
Shrimp Pesto Pasta
- 1 pound jumbo shrimp – peeled, deveined, tails removed
- 2 cups fresh basil
- 1 clove garlic
- 1/4 cup pine nuts – toasted
- 1/2 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
- 1/2 cup olive oil – or more
- kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper – to taste
- 8 oz. spaghetti noodles – or more
- fresh basil and extra parm cheese – to serve
- MAKE PESTO SAUCE. In a food processor, combine the fresh basil, garlic, toasted pine nuts, freshly grated pine nuts, and salt and pepper. Pulse for about 15 seconds. Then drizzle in olive oil until creamy. Set aside.
- Pour half of the pesto sauce (about 1/3 cup) over the shrimp and combine well.
- Sauté the cherry tomatoes in a bit of olive oil, until softened. Remove to a plate.
- Cook pasta according to package directions, or until al dente. Strain and reserve a bit of pasta water.
- While pasta is cooking, grill shrimp on stove top, until done. This will only take a few minutes per side.
- Place pasta back in stock pot, along with the shrimp and tomatoes. Add the remaining pesto sauce, a drizzle of reserved pasta water, and toss.
- Serve with some extra parmesan cheese and fresh basil.
- Tomatoes are always best kept on the counter at room temperature.
- Fresh basil will turn black if stored in the refrigerator. It’s best to store it like cut flowers, with stems in a jar of water. Place a plastic bag over the jar to create a sort of greenhouse.