Creamy Tomato Pesto Shrimp Pasta is a delightfully easy and flavourful shrimp pasta recipe to make for the perfect weeknight dinner or for any occasion. The ingredients are simple; seasoned shrimp, basil pesto, cherry tomatoes, garlic, and fresh linguine pasta tossed in a delicious homemade cream sauce!
If you love this recipe, you’ll really enjoy this easy Creamy Sun Dried Tomato and Spinach Seafood Pasta, this Creamy Garlic Parmesan Shrimp (Low Carb/Keto Friendly) or this One Pot Creamy Cajun Shrimp Pasta with Sausage!
Creamy Tomato Pesto Shrimp Pasta
Seafood pasta recipes are one of my favourite kinds of meals to prep. They’re usually so flavourful, easy to make and ready in a short amount of time. This recipe is no different, it combines basil pesto, fresh tomatoes and cream to make the most delicious sauce tossed with shrimp and linguine – so much yum!
Here are some other reasons why I love this Creamy Tomato Pesto Shrimp Pasta dish:
- Family friendly recipe, with flavours the entire family will enjoy
- Seafood + pasta, just makes the most sense
- Ready from start to finish in under 30 minutes making it ideal for busy weeknights
Check Out These Other Pasta Recipes
- Creamy Sun Dried Tomato & Spinach Seafood Pasta
- Bruschetta Pasta with Balsamic Drizzle
- One Pot Creamy Cajun Shrimp Pasta with Sausage
- Italian Sausage Skillet Lasagna, pictured below
- Slow Cooked Beef Ragu with Pappardelle pictured below
Ingredients to Make Creamy Tomato Pesto Shrimp Pasta
- Basil Pesto
- Heavy Cream
- Parmesan Cheese
- Cherry Tomatoes
- Salt & Pepper
- Fresh Parsley
What Kind of Pasta to Use for Creamy Tomato Pesto Shrimp Pasta
For the recipe you can essentially use any variety of pasta. However, I find opting for linguine or fettuccine yields a desirable results as the sauce can easily adhere to the broad noodles. Note, linguine is lighter and thinner than fettuccine.
Do I Have to Use Linguini Pasta?
No, feel free to opt for whatever variety of pasta you most prefer. Fettuccine, spaghetti, or even angel hair pasta can also work with this recipe.
What Type of Shrimp to Buy
When purchasing shrimp, look for raw, deveined, wild caught frozen shrimp. Here’s why:
- Wild Caught Shrimp – look for medium or large wild caught shrimp as opposed to farm-raised for the best flavor and texture.
- Raw Deveined Shrimp – opt for raw (not precooked), peeled and deveined shrimp. This will save you loads of time, as the only prep you need is to defrost and season the shrimp.
- Frozen Shrimp – frozen shrimp is frozen shortly after it’s caught which means it’s frozen at peak freshness! It’s often more economical and quite easy to find. Also, shrimp behind the counter is typically frozen and thawed in most cases.
Do I Have to Use Shrimp?
No you do not, although this is a shrimp pasta recipe. If wanting to stay with seafood you can use scallops or chunks of lobster and crab. Alternatively, you can use chicken if you want to skip on the seafood.
How to Make Creamy Tomato Pesto Shrimp Pasta
1. Cook Pasta – cook linguine pasta according to package instructions. Once al dente, drain and set aside.
2. Season Shrimp – in a bowl, add shrimp and season with salt and pepper to taste, minced garlic and one tablespoon of basil pesto; mix until well coated and set aside.
3. Cook Shrimp – in a large skillet, melt butter and sauté shrimp until cooked, about 2 to 3 minutes depending on size. Remove from heat, transfer to a plate and set aside.
4. Make Creamy Tomato Pesto Sauce – add remaining (one tablespoon) of basil pesto to the skillet. Then, add cooking cream, cherry tomatoes, parmesan cheese and juice from half a lemon. Allow sauce to simmer and thicken. Then use the back of a wooden spoon to crush the tomatoes into the sauce. Taste test the sauce, and adjust as needed. Add pasta and shrimp to the skillet and toss with tongs to coat.
5. Garnish and Serve – garnish with fresh chopped parsley, freshly grated Parmesan cheese and a lemon wedge as desired. Serve warm and enjoy.
See My Story Below for Step-by-Step Instructions!
Shrimp Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
How Do I Defrost Shrimp?
Here are two options for how you can defrost shrimp:
- Refrigerate Overnight Method (Easy): one of the simplest ways to defrost shrimp is in your refrigerator overnight. Simply remove the desired amount of frozen shrimp, place in a covered bowl and let them defrost in the refrigerator overnight.
- Cold Water Method (Quick): the quickest way to defrost shrimp is to add the desired amount of shrimp to a large enough bowl, then fill the bowl with cold tap water and let it sit for 10 minutes. After 10 minutes, replace the water with new cold tap water and allow the shrimp to sit once again – repeat after 10 minutes if needed until fully thawed.
How Long Does Defrosted Shrimp Last in the Refrigerator?
After you have defrosted your shrimp, store them in the fridge for 1 to 2 days.
Should You Devein Shrimp?
Deveining shrimp is when you remove the dark line you see on the backs of shrimp which is their digestive tract. Removing it is a matter of personal preference and choice as it is not harmful to ingest. However, it can have an unappealing look and taste (adds a gritty/sandy texture).
What’s the Easiest Way to Peel and Devein Shrimp?
It is highly recommended that you purchase shrimp that is already peeled and deveined. However, in the event that you purchase shrimp that is not, follow these simple steps to get the job done:
- Pull Off Head and Legs – if applicable, pull off the head and the legs.
- Remove Shell – . remove, starting on the head end, the outer shell leaving the tail attached if desired.
- Remove and Discard Vein – locate the vein in the shrimp running along its back (also underneath – however this is optional) and make a shallow cut about 1/4 inch deep and use the tip of the knife to lift it out and discard.
- Rinse & Rest – rinse the shrimp and lay on a paper towel to dry until ready to use.
TSS Good to Know – larger shrimp often have grittier veins, which can have an unappealing texture and look.
Should I Cook Shrimp with Tail On or Off?
You can cook shrimp with the tail on or off, depending on your personal preference. However, much like meat bones, the shell and tail of the shrimp contain much flavour which adds to the overall taste of the dish.
How to Know When Shrimp is Done Cooking?
Shrimp like most seafood cook fairly fast around 2-3 minutes per side, as opposed to other kinds of protein. There are two visual cues you can use to ensure you don’t overcook your shrimp – colour and shape.
Colour – when done, shrimp turn pink and opaque in colour with some pink and bright red accents as opposed to their translucent gray raw state. Remove the shrimp from the heat source once it is fully opaque without any gray left.
Shape – as shrimp cook, their muscle contract which cause them to curl this is the second indicator of doneness. Often it is said that perfectly cooked shrimp have “C” shape while over cooked shrimp have an “O” shape. However, most shrimp unless using jumbo shrimp can be perfectly cooked with a “C” shrimp as well. Once your shrimp begin to curl, they are usually done cooking.
Recipe Tips for Making Creamy Tomato Pesto Shrimp Pasta
- Make sure you use a skillet or pan large enough to fit all your ingredients.
- You can use shrimp with tails on or off, as well as sub for your preferred type of seafood for example, scallops.
- Taste test your sauce, and adjust accordingly – adding more salt or pepper, parmesan cheese, lemon juice as desired.
- Gradually transfer the cooked al dente pasta to the skillet and toss, rather than adding all at once.
Recipe Variations to Try
Make it Vegetarian – although the shrimp add another layer of flavour, you can omit and add veggies such as mushrooms, asparagus, and zucchini. Any vegetable that is more firm, allowing it to hold up to the sauce will work – broccoli, carrots, green beans, and peas etc.
Add More Protein – sub or add your preferred type of seafood for example, scallops, crab, lobster, or mussels. Alternatively, chicken will work great with the recipe as well.
Make it Spicy – turn the heat up a notch by adding red chili pepper flakes.
Can I Add Vegetables to Creamy Tomato Pesto Shrimp Pasta
Absolutely, anywhere we can add vegetables we should! This recipe will work well with any vegetable that is more firm, allowing it to hold up to the sauce such as mushrooms, asparagus, and zucchini. Broccoli, carrots, green beans, and peas are also great options!
How to Garnish Creamy Tomato Pesto Shrimp Pasta
Here are some of my favourite garnishes for this seafood pasta recipe:
- Lemon wedge
- Red Chili Pepper Flakes
- Fresh Chopped Herbs such as parsley or basil
- Parmesan Cheese
- Chili Oil
How to Store Creamy Tomato Pesto Shrimp Pasta
Allow the pasta to cool completely before storing. When cooled, transfer to an airtight container and store in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
How to Reheat Creamy Tomato Pesto Shrimp Pasta
In a wide enough skillet or saucepan, reheat leftover pasta over low to medium heat until completely warmed through (around 6-8 minutes). You can add about 1-2 tbsp of chicken stock or water to loosen up the sauce if too thick while reheating.
If you opt to reheat in a microwave, do so by transferring pasta to a microwave safe container then covering and heating in 30-second intervals, tossing in-between until heated through.
Can I Prepare Creamy Tomato Pesto Shrimp Pasta Ahead of Time?
It is best to prepare this recipe on the day you plan to serve it, however you can prep the shrimp and allow it to marinate refrigerated ahead of time.
What to Serve with Creamy Tomato Pesto Shrimp Pasta
Try serving this dish with these side options to make it even more filling:
- Warm Crusty Bread
- Garlic Bread
- Garden Salad
- Steamed Veggies
Looking for More Seafood Pasta Recipes?
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Creamy Tomato Pesto Shrimp Pasta
- 1 Large Skillet
- 1 Wooden Spoon
- 1 Tongs
- 454 grams Linguine Pasta
- 2 tbsp Butter
- 1 lb Shrimp raw, peeled and deveined
- 3 cloves Garlic minced
- 2 tbsp Basil Pesto divided
- 1 cup Heavy Cream or cooking/whipping cream
- 1/3 cup Parmesan Cheese shredded, plus more for serving
- 1/2 cup Cherry Tomatoes halved
- 1/2 Lemon freshly squeezed
- Salt & Pepper to taste
- 1 tbsp Fresh Parsley chopped, for garnish
- Cook linguine pasta according to package instructions. Once al dente, drain and set aside. In a bowl, add shrimp and season with salt and pepper to taste, minced garlic and one tablespoon of basil pesto; mix until well coated and set aside.
- In a large skillet, melt butter and sauté shrimp until cooked, about 2 to 3 minutes depending on size. Remove from heat, transfer to a plate and set aside.
- Add remaining (one tablespoon) of basil pesto to the skillet. Then, add heavy/cooking cream, cherry tomatoes, parmesan cheese and juice from half a lemon. Allow sauce to simmer and thicken. Then use the back of a wooden spoon to crush the tomatoes into the sauce. Taste test the sauce, and adjust as needed. Add pasta and shrimp to the skillet and toss with tongs to coat.
- Garnish with fresh chopped parsley or herb of choice, freshly grated Parmesan cheese and a lemon wedge as desired. Serve warm and enjoy.
Note, the nutritional information is calculated using a nutrition facts calculator. It is a rough estimate and can vary based on products used.