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.” 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.
Fresh Basil Pesto
Homemade pesto is really easy to make and is so much better than store-bought. My basil pesto consists of fresh basil, olive oil, Parmesan cheese, pine nuts, garlic, salt, and pepper. Everything is blended together in a food processor to render a smooth, yet slightly granular sauce. If you don’t have a food processor, you can use a standard blender or single-serve blender instead. Just don’t blend too aggressively or it will turn into a creamy paste.
Sometimes small grocery stores or local farmer’s markets will have fresher locally made pesto that is usually better than brand-name pesto sauce. You can tell how fresh pesto is by how green it is. Old pesto will take on a duller and deeper dark green color.
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. It stays surprisingly fresh when freezing and maintains a good bit of color. I almost always make pesto in advance.
How to Make Pesto Shrimp Pasta
The process is not that far off from making shrimp scampi. Fully cook shrimp in a large saucepan with garlic and olive oil, add 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. It’s really that simple.
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. My only rule? Use plenty of pesto.
More Pesto Recipes You’ll LovePrint
Easy pesto shrimp pasta made with fresh homemade pesto and shrimp sauteed in garlic and olive oil.
- 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
- 2 garlic cloves
- 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.
- Serving Size: 1
- Calories: 503
- Sugar: 4.3g
- Sodium: 545mg
- Fat: 27.8g
- Saturated Fat: 5.3g
- Carbohydrates: 48g
- Fiber: 1.3g
- Protein: 28.9g
- Cholesterol: 178mg
Keywords: pesto pasta, pesto shrimp pasta