You will instantly fall in love with this Pesto Shrimp Scampi recipe complete with pasta. A perfect light but delicious meal that everyone in the family will enjoy. Serve with your favorite steamed vegetables or a nice large salad for a complete meal.
Pesto Shrimp Scampi Pasta
Shrimp is a common protein in my menu. I love the fresh light option and how adaptable shrimp is in many flavor profiles. Being low in fat but high in protein makes it a guilt-free option as well. If you are like me and love adding shrimp to your menu, then this show-stopper recipe will become a new favorite.
I love that this recipe is one I can whip up in under 30-minutes. That means it works for those days when I don’t have a lot of time but still want to serve up a healthy and homemade meal for dinner.
What are the best shrimp to use in scampi?
For this recipe, any small shrimp will work well. I prefer using small shrimp in this recipe so each bite of pasta can have a bite-sized piece of shrimp without having to use the fork or knife to cut it in half.
When picking shrimp at the seafood counter, ask if they will devein and peel them for you. This will save you a lot of time when you are preparing the meal.
If you opt for frozen shrimp, look on the packaging for ones that are already cleaned for you. That way all you have to do is rinse them well and toss into your sauce.
Should I use a jar of ready-made pesto?
If you don’t have fresh basil available or already have a favorite pesto sauce you can buy, don’t hesitate to use a jar of sauce instead of making from scratch. Just because I prefer this homemade sauce doesn’t mean it is the only option for the recipe.
If using a jar of sauce for the pesto shrimp, you will simply skip step 2 in the recipe listed below.
What is the best pasta for shrimp scampi?
For this recipe, I chose to serve with a nice thick linguine. I prefer a hearty pasta to go along with the light shrimp. If you have a preference for spaghetti, angel hair, or even a smaller pasta like rigatoni, feel free to use that instead. The type of pasta doesn’t matter as much as the sauce and the shrimp for this recipe.
Tip: Try using a fresh pasta instead of a dried box of pasta for this recipe for even more authentic flavor and better texture.
How to Make Pesto Shrimp Scampi With Pasta
The entire recipe is in the printable recipe card further below. But first, I want to share some tips with you.
Pesto Shrimp Scampi Ingredients
This is what I used in my scampi, along with any substitutions you can use.
- Pesto – I used basil leaves, garlic, pinenuts, olive oil, and parmesan cheese. You can use jarred pesto to save time.
- Shrimp – Use small shrimp so it’s easier to eat.
- Lemon – Fresh lemon tastes best, but you can also use bottled lemon juice
- Parsley – If you use dried parsley, use a tad bit more to get the same amount of flavor
- Linguini – Angel hair pasta or fettucini will work just as well.
Shrimp Scampi Cooking Tips
Begin by preparing your pasta according to package directions. Cook until just al dente, drain and set aside.
Next, you will begin making your pasta sauce. If using a purchased sauce, skip this step.
You will combine your garlic, basil, pine nuts, and parmesan cheese in a blender or food processor and pulse until combined. Then, you will begin slowly drizzling the olive oil into the mixture continuing to puree until it is fully combined. I add a bit of salt and pepper at this point, but you can wait to season the sauce after it has been combined with your pasta and shrimp.
Set your sauce aside and focus on the shrimp. You will cook this in a bit of olive oil in a hot skillet. Once the shrimp begin turning pink, you will add in the broth and lemon juice as well as the parsley. Stir this until the shrimp are coated, and remove from heat.
The last step is to toss your pasta with the pesto sauce and then pour in the shrimp and sauce to combine before serving.
I like to top this with a bit of ground black pepper and a sprinkle of fresh parsley or extra parmesan cheese.
More Shrimp Recipes
If shrimp is on your menu this week, check out this great list of delicious ways you can serve shrimp to your family. It’s the perfect protein for a fast and healthy weeknight meal.
- Shrimp and Vegetable Skillet
- Creamy Cajun Shrimp Pasta
- Southwest Shrimp Pasta
- Creamy Shrimp Penne Pasta with Red Pepper Sauce
- Garlic Parmesan Shrimp Spaghetti
- Chili Lime Shrimp Taco
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Pesto Shrimp Scampi
- 1 1/2 cup basil leaves
- 4 cloves garlic chopped
- 1/3 cup pinenuts
- 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
- 1/2 cup + 1 Tbsp olive oil
- Pinch of red pepper flakes
- 1 lb raw shrimp peeled and deveined 1/2 cup chicken broth
- Juice of 1 lemon
- 2 tsp chopped parsley
- 1 package linguine
- Salt and pepper
- Make linguine according to the instructions on the package. When cooked, drain and add back to the pot, cover and set aside.
- In a food processor, combine basil, garlic, pinenuts, and parmesan cheese. Puree until combined. As the food processor continues to run, slowly drizzle in 1/2 cup olive oil. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
- In a medium skillet over medium heat, warm 1 Tbsp olive oil. Add shrimp with a pinch of red pepper flakes. Cook until golden.
- Add broth and lemon juice. Simmer for a couple of minutes until the shrimp is cooked through. Remove from heat and stir in parsley. Keep warm over low heat.
- Stir in pesto into the pasta and toss to coat. Add in shrimp and toss everything together. Serve immediately.
- Try using a fresh pasta instead of a dried box of pasta for this recipe for even more authentic flavor and better texture.
- In a pinch you can use jarred pesto.
- Using small shrimp means you'll get nice bite sized shrimp without a lot of cutting!
- I like to top this with a bit of ground black pepper and a sprinkle of fresh parsley or extra parmesan cheese.
- Use enough cold, fresh water that once the pasta begins to cook and expand, there will still be plenty of room for the noodles to move freely.
- As soon as you drop your pasta in the water, stir it. This prevents the pasta from sticking together, or to the bottom or sides of the pot. Stir occasionally during the cooking process.
- Drain your pasta enough to remove most of the water, but don’t let drained pasta sit and “dry off”. As it cools, the starches will firm up and the pasta will stick together.