Shrimp Pesto Pasta
Shrimp Pesto Pasta with basil pesto and broccoli makes one easy weeknight meal. It’s ready in under 30-minutes!
Why I Love This Recipe
Easy dinner meals are a favorite around here, everything from Ground Turkey Stroganoff to Shrimp Pasta Primavera are simple recipes that make dinner a breeze, including this pasta with shrimp and pesto.
- Delicious Flavor – This shrimp pesto pasta packs in the flavor with juicy shrimp, zesty lemon, nutty Parmesan cheese, and refreshing basil pesto. For the best flavor, use homemade basil pesto or refrigerated pesto from the store.
- Easy and Quick to Make – You’ll have dinner in under 30 minutes! That makes this dish perfect for busy weeknights and elegant enough to serve as a romantic dinner for two.
- Extremely Customizable – This pasta dish is balanced with delicious flavors, but you can adjust the ingredients as you like. Try substituting the broccoli for other vegetables, making it creamy similar to shrimp corn pasta, or adding or subbing for another protein. The options are limitless!
Ingredients and Substitutions
This simple shrimp pasta recipe uses a handful of common ingredients for a complete and delicious dish.
- Butter: Using butter to cook the shrimp adds flavor, but you could substitute it for oil if preferred.
- Shrimp: For the most effortless cooking, pick peeled and deveined shrimp. Large shrimp will give you the best ratio of shrimp to pasta, but any size will do.
- Pasta: Use linguine, spaghetti, or fettuccine noodles. You’ll want to reserve at least ½ a cup of pasta water to create the sauce.
- Broccoli: Cut the broccoli into bite-sized florets to distribute evenly throughout the pasta. Fresh is best but frozen would also work. You may need to adjust the cooking time if using frozen.
- Basil pesto: Make your pesto from scratch or use store bought.
- Red chili flakes: Adjust the amount to your liking.
- Lemon: We’ll use the zest and juice to add a fresh burst of flavor to compliment the shrimp and pesto.
- Parmesan cheese: Freshly grated parmesan cheese is best and will blend seemingly into your sauce.
See recipe card for quantities.
How to Make This Recipe
Step 1: Cook the pasta and broccoli – cook linguine in salted water according to package directions. In the last 2-3 minutes of cooking, add broccoli and cook until tender. Reserve about 1/2 cup pasta water and drain the rest.
Step 2: Cook the shrimp – while the pasta is cooking, heat butter in a large skillet. Season the shrimp thoroughly with salt and pepper. When the butter is melted add shrimp to the pan and cook 2-3 minutes per side or until cooked through. Remove from heat and set aside.
Step 3: Add pesto and lemon – to the linguine, add pesto, some of the reserved pasta water, and chili flakes. Stir in lemon zest, lemon juice, and parmesan cheese. Taste for salt. The pasta should be saucy and nicely coated with the pesto sauce. At this point, you can stir in more of the reserved pasta water and even a little more of the pesto, if desired.
Step 4: Stir in cooked shrimp – lastly, stir in the cooked shrimp with all the pan juices and gently toss to combine. Serve with more parmesan cheese.
Do you Heat Pesto Before Adding it to Pasta?
No. The heat from the pasta will be enough to warm up the pesto and release the aroma of the basil. You can add pesto straight from the fridge or at room temperature.
With my key tips and customization suggestions, you can create delicious and nutritious shrimp pasta with pesto.
- Reserve pasta water. Adding the starchy pasta water will give you a beautifully silky sauce and help the sauce adhere to the pasta.
- Sauté the shrimp separately. To prevent overcooking the shrimp, sauté separately from the broccoli and pasta and add to the pasta at the end.
- Add garlic. Add garlic to the pan when sautéing the shrimp to add more depth to the dish.
- Make it creamy. Add some heavy cream or half-and-half to the pesto sauce to make the dish creamier. You can also add more flavor with garlic cream sauce or lemon garlic cream sauce.
- Serve with extra Parmesan. For added cheesiness, sprinkle some grated Parmesan cheese over the top of the pasta before serving.
- Top with pine nuts. Toast some pine nuts in a dry pan until golden brown and sprinkle them over the top of the pasta before serving for added crunch and nuttiness.
While this basil pesto shrimp pasta is best served fresh, if you have leftovers, you can transfer it to an airtight container and place it in the refrigerator for up to 3-4 days.
Reheat on the stovetop with a splash of water or cream to loosen the sauce. You want to ensure it’s heated through but avoid overcooking the pasta or shrimp, as it will alter the texture. It is not recommended to freeze the leftovers as the pasta may become mushy and lose its texture.
Yes, you can use frozen shrimp; just make sure to thaw them before cooking and pat them dry to remove any excess moisture.
Sure! This seafood pesto pasta recipe would also be great using scallops, clams, or mussels. You could substitute the seafood for chicken or make it vegetarian by using extra veggies such as mushrooms or peppers.
Yes, you can make the pasta and sauce ahead of time and store them separately in the refrigerator. When ready to serve, simply reheat and toss the sauce with the cooked pasta and shrimp.
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Shrimp pesto pasta with basil pesto and broccoli makes one easy weeknight meal. It’s ready in under 30-minutes!
- 8 oz. linguine (or spaghetti, fettuccine)
- 3 cups fresh broccoli florets
- 2 Tbsp. butter
- 1 lb. large shrimp, peeled and deveined
- 1/2 cup fresh basil pesto, homemade or store-bought
- 1/4 tsp. red chili flakes
- 1 tsp. lemon zest, from about 1 lemon
- 1 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
- 3 Tbsp. grated Parmesan cheese, plus extra for serving
- Cook linguine in salted water according to package directions. In the last 2-3 minutes of cooking, add broccoli, and cook until tender. Reserve about 1/2 cup pasta water and drain the rest. Keep linguine and broccoli in the pot off the heat.
- While linguine is cooking, pat dry the shrimp with a few sheets of paper towels to remove excess moisture. Season with salt and pepper. Melt butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add shrimp and cook 2-3 minutes on each side or until cooked through. Set aside.
- To the linguine, add pesto, some of the reserved water, and chili flakes. Stir gently until the pasta is well coated with the pesto sauce. Stir in lemon zest, lemon juice, and parmesan cheese. Taste for salt. Add in more reserved water if desired.
- Stir in cooked shrimp with the pan juices. Serve topped with additional parmesan cheese.
- Pesto: Pesto is the star of this recipe and I recommend using good quality pesto. If using store-bought pesto, make sure it’s the refrigerated kind as it will be better tasting than the one you find in the condiments and sauces section.
- Can I make this with frozen broccoli? Yes, you can. Substitute with equal parts of frozen broccoli. Add frozen broccoli to the linguine in the last 2-3 minutes of cooking.
- Leftovers: Leftovers can be refrigerated in a closed container for up to 3 days.
- Serving Size:
- Calories: 547
- Sugar: 3.2 g
- Sodium: 494.4 mg
- Fat: 23.5 g
- Carbohydrates: 48.9 g
- Protein: 35.6 g
- Cholesterol: 200.4 mg
Keywords: easy shrimp pasta, pesto pasta, summer