Shrimp Pesto Pasta

This one is one for the books. I don’t remember the first time my mom made shrimp pesto, but I remember being surprised by how much I loved it. I mean, I love shrimp, but this was pasta. We don’t usually eat pasta in my house. Why eat pasta when we could eat rice? For some reason, eating pasta feels heavier and more fattening than eating rice with everything does. . Anyway, I digress. My point is this shrimp pesto pasta is one of my favorite pastas–and I don’t usually eat pasta.

Shrimp Pesto Pasta // Serve With Rice

Like I said, I don’t remember when mom first made it, but it wasn’t that hard to learn. The great thing about this recipe is that it’s super easy. If you don’t love to cook, or don’t have a ton of time to cook, this recipe is for you. It’s an efficient cook’s dream! First, there’s not many components to this dish: mainly just shrimp, pesto, and pasta. I would recommend getting the jumbo shrimp since it is the main ingredient in the pasta. It would work with smaller shrimp, of course, but I just prefer it with the jumbo ones. All you do is quickly saute them with salt and pepper–that’s it! The pesto can either be store-bought for much easier cooking, or homemade. Pesto is actually really easy and quick to make. You could even make it while your pasta cooks.

Shrimp Pesto Pasta // Serve With Rice

The other reason this dish is so amazingly easy is that the prep is heavier than the cooking–and heavy is pushing it. What I really mean is that there’s more prep than there is cooking. But both the cooking and the prep are very light and easy. I always start off with cooking my pasta since it takes a little while before the water boils. I just buy mine in the store because I don’t have the tools (or patience) to try and make it myself at home. Just cook as instructed on the package. Then there’s the pesto.

Shrimp Pesto Pasta // Serve With Rice

I would say the most difficult part of this insanely easy dish is making the pesto. Again, you could just buy store-bought and save yourself the time and effort. I’ve done that before; I won’t lie. But when I’m feeling up to it I do make it myself. It takes very little time and almost no effort. Your basic pesto usually has three things: basil, garlic and pine nuts. Throw them all in your food processor and pulse it with some oil. It works best if you pour in the olive oil slowly to keep it from getting too oily and viscous. For a basic recipe, I follow this one from If you don’t like that one, there’s more out there.

Once you’re done sauteing the shrimp, mixing the pesto, and boiling the pasta all you have to do is mix it all together! Make yourself some garlic bread, pull together a plate, and pour a glass of your best white wine. Trust me. Put in a little bit of effort and you’ll get so much more reward in the end!

Do you like to make your pesto at home or do you buy it in store? 

Shrimp Pesto Pasta // Serve With Rice

Shrimp Pesto Pasta // Serve With Rice

Shrimp Pesto Pasta

Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Servings 10 servings


  • 2 lbs jumbo shrimp peeled
  • 4 garlic cloves smashed
  • 4 cups basil leaves
  • 1 cup pine nuts
  • 1 cup Parmesan cheese
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
  • salt + pepper to taste
  • 1 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 1 package spaghetti


  1. Boil a pot of water on high heat with generous amount of salt. Once boiling, add the spaghetti and cook as instructed on the package. Drain and douse in cold water to stop it from cooking it. 

  2. While your pasta is cooking, prepare your pesto. Add the garlic, basil, pine nuts and cheese to a food processor. Add half of the olive oil and pulse until fully incorporated and smooth. Season with lemon juice, salt and pepper. Add remaining olive oil and pulse until smooth. 

  3. In a frying pan, heat olive oil on medium high heat. Season the shrimp with salt and pepper. Saute the shrimp on both sides until light pink and slightly seared. 

  4. In a large pan or bowl, add the pasta and shrimp. Mix in the pesto sauce until it coats the shrimp and pasta. Serve with garlic bread! 

Recipe Notes

This recipe was reproduced and doubled from Food Network TV's website. The link is in the above post.