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Creamy Pesto Pasta with Shrimp

Creamy Pesto Pasta with Shrimp combines butter, cream, parmesan and basil pesto to create a delightful pasta dish that’s perfect any night of the week.

Overhead view of two white bowls filled with creamy pesto pasta with shrimp, set alongside slices of baguette and bowls of parmesan cheese

Do you have those recipes that you just love, but no one in your house does? That’s pretty much the case with all shrimp recipes around here.

Eric and Elle won’t touch anything other than cocktail shrimp, but I will pretty much eat shrimp in any form. Especially when it’s served over pasta like this Creamy Pesto Pasta with Shrimp.

Ingredients for creamy pesto pasta with shrimp on a gray counter

WHAT IS CREAMY PESTO PASTA?

If you love fettuccine alfredo, you’ll love this creamy pesto pasta sauce.

That’s because this pasta is essentially fettuccine alfredo with pesto added to it! 

That’s right – I took an alfredo base and stirred in some of my Fresh Basil Pesto to brighten it up and make it pair perfectly with shrimp.

After all, seafood pairs perfectly with bright flavors. Think about how often you see fish, shrimp and other shellfish served with citrus and herbs, like in Chipotle Lime Shrimp Soft Tacos or Herbed Shrimp Orzo Salad.

Spoon stirring together the creamy alfredo base of creamy pesto pasta sauce in a saucepan

HOW TO MAKE THIS CREAMY PESTO PASTA WITH SHRIMP

Just like Goat Cheese Pasta with Chicken and Rosemary, this pasta looks fancy but actually uses just a few simple ingredients:

  • 1 pound linguine or fettuccine pasta
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
  • 1/2 cup basil pesto
  • 1 pound large shrimp, peeled and deveined
Spoon stirring creamy pesto pasta sauce with shrimp in a shallow saucepan

Here’s how this is gonna go. Melt your butter and then add the cream, salt and pepper. After that cooks together for a little while, you’ll add a whole lotta parmesan cheese.

Ya know what’s better than butter, cream and parmesan? All of those things with some basil pesto mixed in. So stir in the pesto and let your sauce thicken.

Add in the shrimp and let the sauce continue to cook until the shrimp have cooked through, another 5 minutes or so.

Toss the sauce with your cooked pasta and serve with extra parmesan or a sprinkle of fresh herbs.

Metal tongs tossing together creamy pesto pasta sauce with pasta and shrimp in a saucepan

CAN YOU REHEAT CREAMY PESTO PASTA?

If you’ve ever tried to reheat creamy pasta sauces, you might have noticed that they tend to separate and get kind of oily. 

That’s not to say that you can’t or shouldn’t reheat leftover Creamy Pesto Pasta! Just keep in mind that if you zap it in the microwave, the texture won’t be what it was when the pasta was fresh.

I’d recommend reheating the pasta in the oven. It’ll take longer, but the sauce is more likely to stay stable this way. It still won’t be as perfect as it was the day before, but it’s less likely to completely split.

Wide, shallow sauce pot filled with creamy pesto pasta with shrimp set on a gray countertop

Here’s how you do it:

  1. Preheat the oven to 375°F or so. Put the pasta in a glass oven-safe dish and add a few drops of water.
  2. Cover the dish with foil and bake for about 10 minutes. Stir the pasta, recover with the foil, and bake for another 10 minutes. 
  3. If needed, add a few more drops of water during baking to keep the pasta from drying out.

The pasta should be warmed through, but give it a stir to make sure. You can always heat it for a few more minutes, covered, if needed. 

Plated bowl of creamy pesto pasta with shrimp with another bowl and slices of baguette in the background

CAN YOU FREEZE THIS PASTA SAUCE?

If you’re concerned about having too much pasta sauce, you can try freezing some for later.

Just remember that since the sauce is cream-based, it might be trickier to reheat than something like Homemade Meat Sauce would be.

I recommend freezing JUST the sauce, before adding it to the pasta. After making the sauce, let it cool and package it in freezer-safe zip-top bags, with as much air pressed out as possible. 

Freeze the creamy pesto sauce for up to 3 months. When you’re ready to use it, let the sauce thaw in the refrigerator overnight.

To reheat the sauce, add it to a saucepan and give it a good whisk. Place the pan over low heat and let it heat slowly, whisking almost constantly to bring the sauce back together. 

Overhead view of a fork set in a bowl of creamy pesto pasta with shrimp, garnished with fresh basil

WAYS TO CHANGE UP THIS RECIPE

I really love pairing this pesto pasta sauce with shrimp. But if you don’t like or can’t eat shrimp, you can still enjoy this sauce! 

To adapt this recipe, just leave out the shrimp and try serving the pasta with some of these additions instead:

  • Roasted chicken
  • Broccoli or asparagus
  • Sun dried tomatoes or cherry tomatoes
  • Seared scallops
  • Crab or lobster

Served up alongside a loaf of crusty bread and some Extra Virgin Olive Oil Herb Dip, this Creamy Pesto Pasta is sure to become one of your favorite recipes!

Close up of a bite of creamy pesto pasta wrapped around a fork with a shrimp, with a bowl of pasta in the background
Overhead view of a fork set in a bowl of creamy pesto pasta with shrimp, garnished with fresh basil

Creamy Pesto Pasta with Shrimp

Yield: 6 servings
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes

Creamy Pesto Pasta with Shrimp combines butter, cream, parmesan and basil pesto to create a delightful pasta dish that’s perfect any night of the week.

Ingredients

  • 1 pound linguine or fettuccine pasta
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
  • 1/2 cup basil pesto
  • 1 pound large shrimp, peeled and deveined

Instructions

  1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add pasta, and cook according to package directions (about 10-12 minutes), or until al dente; drain.
  2. While the pasta is boiling, melt butter in a deep sauté pan over medium heat. Add in garlic and sauté the garlic for one minute. You do not want the garlic to brown, so definitely keep your eye on the pan.
  3. Stir in cream, and pepper. Cook 6 to 8 minutes, stirring constantly.
  4. Slowly stir in the Parmigiano-Reggiano into the cream sauce, stirring until thoroughly incorporated. Stir in the pesto, and cook for 3 to 5 minutes, until thickened.
  5. Stir in the shrimp, and cook until fully pink, about 5 minutes. Serve over the hot linguine.
Nutrition Information
Yield 6
Amount Per Serving Calories 863Total Fat 62gSaturated Fat 33gTrans Fat 1gUnsaturated Fat 24gCholesterol 309mgSodium 1148mgCarbohydrates 45gFiber 2gSugar 3gProtein 34g

Did you make this recipe?

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Natalie Caesar

Saturday 5th of September 2020

I came for the pesto with pasta with stump that instead I will make with chicken- I saw that you said people were mean to you- that’s just not cool! Your recipes look great and I hope that you have an awesome day!

Jamie

Sunday 13th of September 2020

Thanks so much for stopping by, Natalie! I appreciate you taking the time to comment. Happy Baking! -Jamie

Mindy

Monday 15th of October 2018

Hello! I'm usually not a commenter, but I will be today. I have always enjoyed your blog posts and respect anyone who works so hard at something so creative  and beautiful.  I'm so sorry that nasty behavior from some is even an issue. 

I hope you have a great day and get nothing but positive remarks from here  on out!

Jamie

Monday 15th of October 2018

Thanks so much for your kind words, Mindy. I appreciate you taking the time to comment. Happy Baking! -Jamie

Healthy Kitchen 101

Wednesday 3rd of October 2018

I totally understand your points! I never want to be rude or crumpy with other people (at least I try to be calm in some unpleasant situations). Because I don't want to get annoyed or being irritated by others, it might destroy the moment or the day. Sometimes, I don't understand why some people just swear and be crumpy even with little things. I pity them. Anyways, your food is amazing and I always find ways to enjoy them xo Have a great week!! - Natalie

Jamie

Sunday 4th of November 2018

Thanks so much for stopping by, Natalie! I appreciate you taking the time to comment. Happy Baking! -Jamie

Roxanne

Wednesday 3rd of October 2018

Love this post, and the recipe sounds incredible as well :) I stumbled upon your website tonight for the first time. I've read three recipes and I can't wait to cook them! Everyone needs more kindness. You've got a great style. Looking forward to following your future posts and catching up on some old ones!

Jamie

Sunday 4th of November 2018

Thanks so much for stopping by, Roxanne! I appreciate you taking the time to comment. Happy Baking! -Jamie

Monica

Saturday 29th of September 2018

Wow, some people clearly have issues :-( I think your creations are wonderful ... so as your personality and your blog and I’m glad I started to read it a long time ago! :-)

Jamie

Wednesday 3rd of October 2018

Thanks so much for stopping by, Monica, and for your kind words! I appreciate you taking the time to comment. Happy Baking! -Jamie

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