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Creamy Tomato Pesto Shrimp Pasta

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Creamy Tomato Pesto Shrimp Pasta


What is Creamy Tomato Pesto Shrimp Pasta?

Creamy Tomato Pesto Shrimp Pasta is a delightful dish that combines succulent shrimp with a rich, creamy tomato sauce infused with the aromatic flavors of pesto. This dish brings together the best of Italian cuisine in a single, comforting meal that’s perfect for any occasion.

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The Appeal of Shrimp Pasta Dishes

Shrimp pasta dishes are beloved for their quick cooking time, delicious flavor, and versatility. Shrimp adds a delicate sweetness and firm texture that pairs beautifully with a variety of sauces and seasonings.

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Why Tomato and Pesto Make a Perfect Pair

The combination of tomato and pesto creates a sauce that’s both rich and refreshing. The acidity of the tomatoes balances the creamy texture, while the pesto adds a burst of basil and garlic flavor, making each bite a harmonious blend of tastes.

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Preparing for the Recipe

Selecting Quality Shrimp

Choose fresh, high-quality shrimp for the best flavor and texture. If fresh shrimp is not available, high-quality frozen shrimp can be used as a substitute. Thaw thoroughly before cooking.

Prepping Ingredients for the Sauce

Finely chop the onion and mince the garlic. Halve the cherry tomatoes. Having all ingredients prepped and ready makes the cooking process smooth and efficient.

Choosing the Right Pasta

Select a pasta shape that will hold the creamy sauce well. Fettuccine, linguine, or penne are great choices for this dish.

Step-by-Step Creamy Tomato Pesto Shrimp Pasta Recipe

Step 1: Cooking the Pasta

  1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.
  2. Add the pasta and cook according to package instructions until al dente.
  3. Drain the pasta, reserving a cup of pasta water, and set aside.

Step 2: Sautéing the Shrimp

  1. In a large skillet, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat.
  2. Add the shrimp, season with salt and pepper, and cook until pink and opaque, about 2-3 minutes per side.
  3. Remove the shrimp from the skillet and set aside.

Step 3: Preparing the Tomato Pesto Sauce

  1. In the same skillet, add the chopped onion and cook until soft and translucent.
  2. Add the minced garlic and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute.
  3. Stir in the halved cherry tomatoes and cook until they begin to soften and release their juices.
  4. Pour in the tomato sauce and heavy cream, stirring to combine.
  5. Add the pesto and mix well, allowing the sauce to simmer and thicken slightly.
  6. Season with salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes (if using).
  7. Return the cooked shrimp to the skillet, tossing to coat in the sauce.

Step 4: Combining and Serving

  1. Add the cooked pasta to the skillet, tossing to combine with the sauce. If the sauce is too thick, add some reserved pasta water until the desired consistency is achieved.
  2. Serve immediately, garnished with fresh basil, grated Parmesan cheese, and a wedge of lemon.

Cooking Tips for Perfect Creamy Tomato Pesto Shrimp Pasta

Ensuring the Right Sauce Consistency

The sauce should be creamy and coat the pasta well. Use the reserved pasta water to adjust the thickness as needed.

Balancing Flavors

Taste the sauce as you cook and adjust the seasoning. The pesto should add a vibrant flavor without overpowering the tomatoes and cream.

Perfectly Cooking the Shrimp

Avoid overcooking the shrimp. They should be pink and opaque but still tender and juicy.

Serving Suggestions

Best Side Dishes

Pair this pasta with:

  • Garlic bread or focaccia
  • A simple green salad with a light vinaigrette
  • Steamed or roasted vegetables

Ideal Wine Pairings

A crisp white wine such as Sauvignon Blanc or Pinot Grigio complements the flavors of this dish beautifully.

Presentation Tips

Serve the pasta in shallow bowls to showcase the shrimp and vibrant sauce. Garnish with fresh basil and a sprinkle of Parmesan for an elegant touch.

Variations of Shrimp Pasta

Classic Shrimp Alfredo

For a different take, try a creamy Alfredo sauce with Parmesan and garlic.

Spicy Shrimp Arrabbiata

Add a kick with a spicy Arrabbiata sauce made with tomatoes, garlic, and chili flakes.

Modern Twists on Traditional Recipes

Experiment with different herbs, cheeses, or even adding vegetables like spinach or zucchini for extra texture and flavor.

Health Benefits of Shrimp Pasta

Nutritional Profile

This dish is high in protein from the shrimp and provides essential vitamins and minerals from the tomatoes and pesto.

Seafood Benefits

Shrimp is a low-calorie source of protein and rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which are beneficial for heart health.

Incorporating into a Balanced Diet

Enjoy this pasta as part of a balanced diet by pairing it with a variety of vegetables and choosing whole grain pasta options if desired.

Storing and Reheating Creamy Tomato Pesto Shrimp Pasta

Proper Storage Techniques

Store leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 2 days.

Reheating Tips

Reheat gently on the stovetop over low heat, adding a splash of cream or pasta water if the sauce has thickened too much.

Freezing for Later

Freeze the sauce separately from the pasta for the best texture. Thaw in the refrigerator overnight before reheating.

Common Mistakes to Avoid

Overcooking Shrimp

Shrimp cooks quickly, so keep an eye on them to prevent overcooking, which can make them tough.

Incorrect Sauce Consistency

Ensure the sauce is creamy and smooth. If it’s too thick, thin it with pasta water or broth.

Not Tasting as You Cook

Tasting the sauce as you cook allows you to adjust seasoning and balance flavors effectively.

Frequently Asked Questions About Creamy Tomato Pesto Shrimp Pasta

Can I Use Frozen Shrimp?

Yes, but ensure they are fully thawed and drained before using to avoid excess moisture in the sauce.

How Do I Make the Dish Less Rich?

Reduce the amount of cream and pesto, or use a lighter cream alternative.

Can I Substitute Other Seafood?

Absolutely. Scallops, mussels, or even chunks of white fish can be used as substitutes or in addition to shrimp.

Is This Dish Gluten-Free?

The sauce itself is gluten-free, but you’ll need to use gluten-free pasta to make the entire dish gluten-free.

How Do I Store Leftovers?

Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 2 days. Reheat gently on the stovetop.


Creamy Tomato Pesto Shrimp Pasta is a delicious and easy-to-make dish that’s perfect for any occasion. With its rich, flavorful sauce and tender shrimp, it’s sure to become a favorite in your household. Whether you’re preparing it for a special dinner or a weeknight meal, this recipe brings the best of Italian cuisine to your table.

Yield: 4

Creamy Tomato Pesto Shrimp Pasta

Creamy Tomato Pesto Shrimp Pasta

Creamy Tomato Pesto Shrimp Pasta is a delightful dish that combines succulent shrimp with a rich, creamy tomato sauce infused with the aromatic flavors of pesto. This dish brings together the best of Italian cuisine in a single, comforting meal that’s perfect for any occasion.

Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes


  • 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.


How to Know When Shrimp is Cooked – 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.

Nutrition Information:

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 846
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