Pesto Shrimp Pasta

This delicious seafood pasta dish is ready in less than 15-minutes!

Tender and flavorful Gulf shrimp nestled in a bed of pesto and garlic infused pasta with red peppers and spinach!

No fancy ingredients and this makes a quick weeknight dinner when you don’t feel like cooking!

shrimp pasta with a side of pesto


This recipe was my first published recipe in the 2017 issue of “Mississippi Seafood Recipes”, by the Mississippi Department of Marine Resources.

It’s quite simple, but the secret is how you cook the shrimp!

Why you’ll love this recipe

  • Fast – this recipe takes no more than 12-15 minutes to prepare…seriously, you can’t get much faster than that
  • Flavorful – Old Bay seasoning, garlic, pesto and lemon – delicious combination!
  • Simple ingredients – nothing gourmet or fancy 

Here’s what you’ll need:

Use fresh or frozen Gulf shrimp; I recommend using big prawns for this recipe!

Labeled ingredients on counter

How to make it

Believe it or not, this recipe calls for baked shrimp!  

Baked shrimp takes 5-8 minutes and the result is a firm flavored shrimp!

Peel, devein and rinse shrimp; pat dry and lightly season with seasoning (Old Bay, Cajun or Creole spices); place in pan with melted butter, garlic and red peppers

Boil the pasta; drain

Combine pasta, shrimp/butter/pepper mixture in a large bowl; add pesto, spinach, lemon and you’re done!

Seasoned shrimp, red bell pepper, garlic and butter in pan.
Bake shrimp in a butter, garlic, red pepper mixture!

Pesto Shrimp Pasta is the perfect weeknight dinner because it’s fast and easy! Pair it with a green salad and you’ve got dinner!

Use fresh or frozen shrimp

Use fresh or frozen Gulf shrimp for this pesto pasta recipe.  You’ll want to rinse, peel and devein them first.

What kind of pasta?

Tubular pasta (rigatoni, penne or elbow) pastas hold the pesto sauce a little better, but if you’re one to shy away from a lot of sauce, by all means feel free to use a strand pasta like spaghetti, angel hair, linguine or fettuccine.

What is pesto sauce?

Pesto sauce is a combination of basil, olive oil, garlic, Parmesan and pine nuts that are pureed into a sauce.

It has an earthy, herbal flavor from the basil and a mild nutty flavor with a slight tang and saltiness from the nuts and cheese.

Serving suggestions

This easy pasta dish is excellent for all-day gatherings (where people “graze” from the buffet table) –it won’t go bad if it sits out awhile. This dish can be served hot, warm, or cold…your call!

Make it ahead

If you want to make Pesto Shrimp Pasta in advance, cook the pasta and add all the ingredients except the seafood. On the day of serving, bake the shrimp and add them to the pasta dish (you may have to heat the pasta a little.)

Storage and Reheating

Store in the fridge up to three days. To reheat, either put on the stovetop in a skillet or place in the microwave.

Shrimp on pasta with a side of pesto sauce

I call this Pesto Shrimp pasta recipe a “Monday” recipe – it’s perfect for Monday night dinner, when you’re too tired to cook! Pair this with a green salad and call it dinner!

Related recipes:

Close up of shrimp and pasta with pesto

Pesto Shrimp Pasta

Baked, seasoned Gulf shrimp nestled in savory pesto-infused pasta, accented with red bell peppers, spinach and fresh Parmesan!
5 from 4 votes
Print Rate
Course: Entree, Main Course, Side Dish
Cuisine: Louisiana, Mediterranean
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 9 minutes
Total Time: 14 minutes
Yield: 4 servings
Author: Anecia Hero

Ingredients 

  • 1 lb. pasta , strang (spaghetti) or tubular (penne); any kind
  • 1 lb. shrimp (shelled, rinsed, deveined)
  • 4 tablespoons butter , (½ a stick); unsalted
  • 2 tablespoons garlic , minced
  • ½ cup pesto sauce , jarred
  • 1 cup red bell pepper , chopped (about 1 large red bell pepper)
  • 1 tablespoon seafood seasoning Old Bay, or Cajun or Creole flavored seasoning
  • 1 cup fresh spinach leaves (optional)
  • lemon , juice for final garnish
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • shredded parmesan (optional)

Instructions 

  • Preheat oven to 325F
  • Boil water for the pasta; Cook pasta according to package
    1 lb. pasta
  • Peel, devein and rinse shrimp; place in colander
    1 lb. shrimp
  • Sprinkle dry seafood seasoning over shrimp; set aside
    1 tablespoon seafood seasoning
  • Slice red bell pepper into bite size pieces
    1 cup red bell pepper
  • Place butter, red peppers and garlic in baking dish; place in oven till butter melts
    4 tablespoons butter, 2 tablespoons garlic, 1 cup red bell pepper
  • Once the butter melts, add seasoned shrimp to mixture; combine well and bake 7 - 8 minutes, or until shrimp are bright pink
    1 lb. shrimp
  • Drain pasta and place in a large serving bowl
  • Add fresh spinach; shrimp/butter/pepper mixture and pesto to pasta; combine well
    1 cup fresh spinach leaves, ½ cup pesto sauce
  • Plate and garnish with a squeeze of lemon juice and a little Parmesan
    lemon, salt and pepper to taste, shredded parmesan

Notes

  • Use salted or unsalted butter
  • Shrimp are done when they're bright pinkish-orange; don't over bake them or they get rubbery--keep an eye on them...it should take between 6-8 minutes 
  • No red bell pepper? Substitute with a green bell pepper or drained roasted red peppers from a jar
 

Nutrition Estimate

Serving: 4cupCalories: 744kcalCarbohydrates: 93gProtein: 33gFat: 26gSaturated Fat: 10gPolyunsaturated Fat: 1gMonounsaturated Fat: 3gTrans Fat: 1gCholesterol: 175mgSodium: 948mgPotassium: 528mgFiber: 5gSugar: 6gVitamin A: 3075IUVitamin C: 51mgCalcium: 166mgIron: 3mg
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