This recipe for Pesto Pasta with Shrimp and Tomatoes is comfort food at its finest, and best of all; you can have it on the table in less than 20 minutes. It’s the pasta dinner of your dreams!
A lifesaver on busy nights, this flavorful pesto pasta with shrimp is excellent for a quick weeknight meal or lunch, and, did I mention your family will love it?
Why you will love this recipe:
- It’s versatile. Don’t have shrimp; leave it out or substitute chicken. No cherry tomatoes; leave them out and add asparagus, mushrooms, broccoli, or another vegetable. Or, keep things simple and just combine the pasta with pesto for pesto pasta!
- Leftovers are even better the next day.
- This recipe is so easy it almost prepares itself—a perfectly simple, carby dish guaranteed to make any day better.
What you will need:
You only need a handful of ingredients, which include shrimp, pesto, pasta, lemon, parmesan cheese, cherry tomatoes, butter, white wine, garlic, kosher salt, ground black pepper, and fresh parsley.
What kind of pasta?
I like torcetti or fettuccine but, you can use pretty much any type of pasta you want, including penne and ziti. I probably would avoid angel hair because I don’t think it’s sturdy enough to hold up.
What is pesto?
Pesto is an amazing and versatile condiment made with fresh basil, garlic, parmesan cheese, olive oil, and toasted pinenuts. Homemade is best, and I hope you will try my homemade Southern Basil Pesto, which is made with pecans instead of pinenuts.
However, in the winter, when fresh basil isn’t plentiful, refrigerated basil works just fine, and you can also find it in shelf-stable jars.
In addition to this dish, you might also like to check out these recipes, which feature pesto on my blog: Pesto Pizza, Shrimp Burgers with Basil Pesto Aioli, Caprese Skewers with Basil Pesto Dressing, and Basil Pesto Chicken.
How to make this recipe:
First, prepare the pasta according to the directions on the package for al dente. Reserve ¼ cup pasta water and drain.
While the pasta is cooking, melt the butter in a large sauté pan over medium heat.
Pat the shrimp dry and season both sides with salt and pepper. When the butter has melted, add the shrimp and cook for one minute. Flip the shrimp over and add the wine and garlic.
Cook just until the shrimp are opaque and have formed a C-shape, which should take about two minutes. Do not overcook the shrimp.
Remove the shrimp with a spatula and add the cherry tomatoes to the pan. Cook for two to three minutes or until the skin on the tomatoes starts to blister.
Add the shrimp back to the pan and then stir in the pasta.
Add the pesto, one-fourth cup of the reserved pasta water and the lemon juice. Stir to combine. Leave the pan on the heat just until everything is heated through and remove from the heat.
Top with grated parmesan cheese, lemon zest, and chopped parsley and serve immediately.
Leftovers if you have them, can be stored covered in the refrigerator for up to four days. However, if you use homemade pesto, there is a chance the basil might darken. I do not recommend freezing this pasta dish.
Feel free to customize this recipe and use ingredients you have on hand.
The wine adds a nice flavor, but if you prefer not to use it or don’t have any, you can substitute chicken stock or even water in a pinch.
If you want to kick things up a notch, try my homemade Southern Basil Pesto in this recipe. If not, refrigerated prepared pesto is the next best thing, and jarred pesto works too.
The cooking times in this recipe are based on extra-large, which means 21-25 shrimp per pound. If your shrimp are larger or smaller, they will require a few more seconds or less time to cook.
If you like this dish, you might also like these recipes: Grilled Spicy Coconut Shrimp, Shrimp Burgers with Basil Pesto Aioli, Brown Sugar Glazed Bacon Wrapped Shrimp, and Ten Minute Roasted Shrimp.
If you like comfort food, you might want to also check out this delicious pasta recipe: Easy Mediterranean Fettuccine.
★ If you make this recipe, please consider rating it and leaving a comment. I’d love to know how you liked it!
Thank you so much for visiting Grits and Pinecones. I hope you’ll come back soon!
Pesto Pasta with Shrimp and Tomatoes Recipe
- 12 ounces pasta You can use any pasta you like, *be sure to reserve ¼ cup of the pasta water
- 1 lb extra-large shrimp 21-25 count per pound, peeled and deveined, with the tails removed
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
- 2 cloves garlic finely minced
- ¼ cup dry white wine
- 1 pint cherry or grape tomatoes halved
- 1 cup pesto
- ¼ cup reserved pasta water
- juice and zest of one lemon
- ½ cup grated Parmesan cheese
- 1 tablespoon fresh parsley chopped
- Prepare the pasta according to the directions on the package for al dente. Reserve ¼ cup pasta water and drain.
- While the pasta is cooking, melt the butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Pat the shrimp dry and season both sides with salt and pepper. When the butter has melted, add the shrimp and cook for one minute. Flip the shrimp over and add the wine and garlic. Cook just until the shrimp are opaque and have formed a C-shape, which should take about two minutes. Do not overcook the shrimp.
- Remove the shrimp with a spatula and add the cherry tomatoes to the pan. Cook for two to three minutes or until the skin on the tomatoes starts to blister.
- Add the shrimp back to the skillet and then add the pasta and reserved pasta water. Mix well and add the pesto and lemon juice. Stir to combine. Leave the pan on the heat just until everything is heated through and then remove it.
- Top with grated parmesan cheese, lemon zest, and chopped parsley. Serve immediately.
**This post was originally published on May 18, 2017. It is being republished on July 25, 2020, with new photos, expanded directions, and the addition of tips and faqs.
My husband and I just love this recipe. I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve made it. I pretty much follow the recipe tho I’ve used a veggie pasta at times and probably use more tomatoes than the recipe calls for. We haven’t made it for company as it’s embarrassing how much of it we eat! We can’t help it. I do enthusiastically share the recipe!
Hi Judy, I’m so glad you like this recipe. It’s one of our favorites too! Thanks so much for taking the time to let me know.
All the best,
It’s a keeper! Mostly made as directed I didn’t have an open bottle of wine so that was omitted. We decided we would add pine nuts next time. Very good!!
Yummy, yummy, yummy, This dish was amazing. I made homemade pesto several months ago which I used a little over 1/2 cup in this recipe. I also used linguine instead of spaghetti. Everything else as called for. I cannot wait for leftovers tomorrow. LOL. I am planning on posting this to my neighborhood community website. It is a wonderful meal. Perfect for company, party of four. Thank you Sharon!!