This Pesto Shrimp Linguine recipe is perfect for a weeknight meal when you really need to get dinner on the table without hassle and in under 30 minutes. This is also one of my favorite recipes to make for a more formal dinner party when I am busy preparing more than one dish for the evening.
If you enjoy going to restaurants for good seafood, you are going to love this shrimp recipe. Pesto Shrimp Linguine is a delicious meal that is prepared at home for a lot less than what you might pay just for one shrimp entree in a restaurant. You would also be happy to know that over the years I have served this dish to hard-to-please adults as well as very picky children with much success.
I usually make this delicious seafood pasta with frozen large 26/30 count raw shrimp (this means, 26 to 30 of these shrimps weigh a pound). The larger count on the package will mean smaller shrimp size. The shrimp should be thawed in the refrigerator. For a quick thaw, the sealed bag may be placed in a bowl of cold water for 3-4 hours on top of the counter. The “Easy Peel” raw shrimp is the best choice because it has already been deveined, but the shell and tail is still on and you will need to remove them before washing. I normally prepare the shrimp a day in advance to save some time on the day of the party or an anticipated busy weeknight. I taught my daughter how to remove the shells and any remnant vein when she was old enough to handle a knife safely, and she was my official shrimp sheller and deveiner until she left for college!
If the shrimp is not deveined you will have to do this by making a shallow cut with the tip of a sharp paring knife on the backside of the shrimp (Not the belly where the legs are). Then you peel the entire shell including the shell on the tail section. You will see a thin black or brown-colored intestine (also called vein) that runs along the entire back all the way down to the tail end. Use the tip of the knife to lift and pull out the vein.
Wash the shrimps by placing them in a bowl of cold water. Agitate the shrimp with your fingertips a few times, then drain in a colander and rinse under cold water. Drain completely and shake the colander to get rid of any excess water. Set aside.
The raw shrimp is grayish pink in color and will turn bright pink on the outside and white inside as soon as it is cooked. If you do decide to clean the shrimp a day in advance, place the cleaned and washed shrimp in a plastic bag, seal the bag and place it in a bowl. Top the bag with ice cubes and place the bowl in the refrigerator for up to 24 hours.
Cook the linguine pasta in salted water until al dente, drain and keep warm. Heat one teablespoon olive oil in a large nonstick skillet. Add the pesto sauce (homemade or store bought) and stir until smooth. Add the shrimp and saute until it is all pink on the outside and white inside. Do not overcook, this will take only about 3-4 minutes. Overcooked shrimp tends to get rubbery and lose its tender texture. Next, add the heavy cream to the skillet.
Cook a little bit more until the sauce thickens, then add the cooked pasta and toss to coat. Cook for another couple of minutes while stirring until the pasta is heated through.
- 1 pound raw 26/30 shrimp, remove the shells and any remnant vein (may clean the shrimp up to 24 hours in advance, please see the notes)
- 5 ounces pesto sauce, homemade or store bought
- 1 TBSP extra virgin olive oil
- 8 ounces dry linguine pasta
- 1 cup heavy cream
- ⅛ -1/4 tsp kosher salt (I use ⅛ tsp but you may adjust it to your taste)
- ⅛ tsp freshly cracked black pepper
- Optional Garnish:
- 1 TBSP shredded fresh basil leaves
- Freshly grated Parmesan cheese
- Place the cleaned shrimp in a bowl of cold water and agitate with your fingertips a few times.
- Rinse the cleaned shrimp in a colander under cold water. Drain well and set aside.
- Cook the linguine in a 10” pot of boiling salted water until al dente (tender but firm). Drain and set aside. Keep warm.
- Heat 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil in a 12-inch nonstick skillet over medium heat for 30 seconds. Add the pesto sauce and stir for about 1 minute until smooth and well combined with the olive oil.
- Add the shrimp and stir to coat with the pesto sauce over medium heat. Stir frequently and sauté until the shrimp is pink on the outside and white inside. This will take 3-4 minutes, do not overcook.
- Add 1 cup heavy cream, kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper to the shrimp and pesto mixture and bring it to a low boil over medium heat. Adjust salt to your taste. Cook one more minute, or until the sauce thickens a little. Add the cooked linguine and toss until all of the linguine is coated with the creamy pesto sauce. Cook for 2 more minutes while stirring until the pasta is heated through. This dish should be served immediately.
- Sprinkle the shredded fresh basil leaves on top. Grate some fresh Parmesan cheese if you desire. Enjoy the Pesto Shrimp Linguine with a side of salad.
The cleaned shrimp should be used the same day or placed in a plastic bag and covered with ice cubes for up to 24 hours.