I have a small confession to make. I’ve been using store-bought pesto for convenience for quite some time…until now. I recently made fresh homemade basil pesto to make shrimp pesto pasta and it turned my world upside down.
Yes, I’ve had fresh pesto many, many times before however it had been a while since I had used it in pasta. I know, this is absurd for someone who claims to be “obsessed with pesto.”
How to Make Homemade Pesto
I understand, during the week it’s EASY to get lazy and store-bought pesto is so quick and convenient. However, trust me when I say the difference in outcome is massive. I use Scott’s homemade pesto recipe and whip it up in a blender or food processor. A food processor is best, but a blender will suffice and the result is still far better than buying pesto.
Pesto sauce consists of mostly basil and olive oil, Parmesan cheese, pine nuts, garlic, oregano, salt and pepper. You essentially lightly blend everything together until a smooth, yet slightly granular sauce is formed.
How long can I store fresh pesto? Good question. Pesto freezes well. You can make a larger batch and freeze in small Ziploc baggies for up to 6 months or store in the fridge for about a week.
Now, I’m not totally knocking store-bought pesto. It will still do the trick, but if you’re trying to impress your guests or you’re really trying to strut your Kitchen Swagger on date night, only use fresh homemade basil pesto. It’s fresher, it has more flavor, and it’s way GREENER in color.
That aside, shrimp pesto pasta is an easy, winning meal. My only rule? Use plenty of pesto. Sauté shrimp in a large saucepan 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 shrimp pasta recipe smothered in pesto and packed with tremendous fresh flavor. Super simple, very Italian, and guaranteed to not disappoint anyone. PS. If you’re looking for a chicken and mozzarella variation, check this out. Better yet, with gnocchi.Print
- 8 ounces spaghetti or linguine
- 1/2 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
- 1/4 cup olive oil (if pesto is too thick)
- 3 cups basil leaves
- 3 tablespoons pine nuts
- 3 garlic cloves
- 1 teaspoon oregano
- 2/3 cup grated parmesan cheese
- 2/3 cup olive oil
- salt and pepper to taste
For the pesto
- Combine all pesto ingredients except for the olive oil in a food processor or blender. Blend until mixed and smooth. With the motor running, add olive oil in a slow stream until combined. 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 3/4 – 1 cup of pesto until evenly coated. Serve immediately topped with freshly grated parmesan cheese if desired.
If pesto is too thick, add a ¼ cup of olive oil so it spreads easily through the pasta.