I have a small confession to make. I’ve been using store-bought pesto for convenience for quite some time now. I recently used fresh homemade pesto to make pesto shrimp pasta and it turned my world upside down. Yes, I’ve had fresh pesto many times before however it had been a while since I’ve used it in pasta. I know, this is absurd for someone who claims to be “obsessed with pesto.” Yes, me.
During the week I get lazy and store-bought pesto is so quick and easy. However now I’ve seen the light and may never buy pesto again….maybe. I used Scott’s homemade pesto recipe and whipped it up in a blender (I don’t have a food processor). I’m sure the food Gods are glaring down at me shaking their heads in disgust, debating to apprehend my food blogging rights—BUT in a pinch, a blender will suffice.
Now, I’m not totally knocking store-bought pesto. It will still do the trick, but if you’re having guests over or you’re really trying to strut your kitchen swagger, only use homemade pesto. It’s fresher, it has more flavor, and it’s way GREENER in color.
That aside, pesto shrimp pasta is an easy, winning meal. My only rule? Use a lot of pesto. Sauté raw or precooked shrimp in a large sauce pan with garlic and olive oil, add fully cooked pasta of your choice, and stir in 3/4 to 1 cup of fresh homemade pesto until green and fully coated. You may need to add a little extra olive oil if it’s too thick or doesn’t spread easily though.
You’re left with a delicious pesto smothered pasta dish that’s packed with flavor and seasoned shrimp. Super easy and guaranteed to not disappoint.
- 8 ounces spaghetti or linguine
- ½ pound large shrimp, peeled, deveined, and tails removed
- ¾ - 1 cup pesto sauce
- ½ lemon, squeezed
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- Grated parmesan cheese, to taste
- ¼ cup olive oil (if pesto is too thick)
- 3 cups basil leaves
- 3 tablespoons pine nuts
- 3 garlic cloves
- 1 teaspoon oregano
- ⅔ cup grated parmesan cheese
- ⅔ cup olive oil
- salt and pepper to taste
- For the Pesto: Put basil leaves, pine nuts, garlic and oregano in a food processor or blender. Pulse until mixture is incorporated, about 7 3-4 second bursts.
- With a rubber spatula, slide any pesto that has creeped up the food processor sides back towards the bottom. Add parmesan cheese and pulse again until parmesan is mixed in.
- While food processor is on, slowly pour the olive oil into pesto mixture. With a spatula, scrape pesto mix that has gone up the sides back down again, and pulse as needed to desired consistency. Pesto should not be too soupy or fine. Set aside.
- For the shrimp pasta: Remove tails from the shrimp by pulling the tail off the base of the shrimp, season with salt and pepper and set aside.
- Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add a pinch of salt and a teaspoon of olive oil and cook spaghetti al dente.
- Meanwhile, bring a large saucepan to medium-high heat. Add olive oil, minced garlic, shrimp, and fresh squeezed lemon juice. Cook until shrimp are no longer translucent and fully cooked through. 4-5 minutes per side.
- Once shrimp are fully cooked, strain off any excess juice, leaving 1-2 tablespoons behind in the pan.
- Strain spaghetti and add to the saucepan with the shrimp. Stir in ¾ - 1 cup of pesto until evenly coated. Serve immediately topped with freshly grated parmesan cheese if desired.