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Shrimp pesto pasta

Shrimp Pesto Pasta

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5 from 5 reviews

  • Author: Sonja Overhiser
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 15 minutes
  • Total Time: 25 minutes
  • Yield: 4 1x


Shrimp pesto pasta is an impressively fast and easy dinner recipe! Cover the noodles in glistening green basil pesto for a meal that pleases everyone.


  • 12 ounces long pasta noodles, like spaghetti, bucatini or linguine
  • 1 pound large shrimp, deveined (tail on or off)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon each smoked paprika, garlic powder, onion powder and kosher salt
  • 1/2 to 2/3 cup basil pesto*
  • 1/2 cup pasta water, plus more as needed
  • Kosher salt


  1. If frozen, thaw the shrimp.
  2. Cook the pasta: Start a pot of well salted water to a boil. Boil the pasta until it is just al dente. Start tasting a few minutes before the package recommends: you want it to be tender but still a little firm on the inside; usually around 7 to 8 minutes. Just before draining, reserve 1 cup pasta water! Then drain the pasta.
  3. Meanwhile, cook the shrimp: Pat the shrimp dry. In a medium bowl, mix the shrimp with spices. In a large skillet, heat the olive oil on medium high heat. Cook the shrimp for 1 to 2 minutes per side until opaque and cooked through, turning them with tongs. Remove from the heat and set aside.
  4. Serve: Place the pasta in a bowl (not the pasta pot). Stir together the pasta, pesto, and 1/2 cup pasta water, tossing with tongs until the pesto is well distributed and the pasta water forms a creamy sauce. Add more pasta water if desired. Stir in 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt and taste. If the flavor doesn’t pop, add a few more pinches until it does. Top with the cooked shrimp and serve immediately. (Store any leftovers refrigerated: note that pesto can get gummy when reheated, so it’s best to eat leftovers cold or room temp.)
  • Category: Main Dish
  • Method: Stovetop
  • Cuisine: Italian inspired