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Gray bowl filled with linguine and shrimp tossed in arugula walnut pesto

Lemon Garlic Shrimp Pasta with Basil Arugula Pesto

  • Author: Jenny Meier | Kitchen Skip blog
  • Prep Time: 15
  • Cook Time: 10
  • Total Time: 25 minutes
  • Yield: 4 to 6 servings 1x


Lemon Garlic Shrimp Pasta with Basil Arugula Pesto sounds like a fancy dinner, but it's actually a quick and easy meal. 

If you don't have time to make homemade arugula walnut pesto, then regular store-bought basil pesto is also fantastic with this pasta. You can always add a handful or two or arugula to the store-bought pesto and blend it in a food processor to make pesto with arugula flavor. 

If you're using frozen shrimp for this recipe, remember to put the shrimp in the refrigerator the night before to defrost.

This recipe was updated 5/19/2021



Arugula Walnut Pesto

  • 1 garlic clove
  • 1/2 cup walnut halves and pieces
  • 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • 3 big handfuls arugula (3 to 5 ounces)
  • 1 cup loosely packed basil leaves
  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil, plus more as needed to thin out the pesto
  • Salt, to taste

Lemon Garlic Shrimp Pasta 

  • 3/4 pound/12 ounces linguine (or your favorite pasta)
  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1 pound raw shrimp, peeled and deveined (21-30 count), patted dry
  • Zest from 1/2 a lemon (I zest the peel off lemons using a microplane grater)



Arugula Pesto

  1. In a food processor, blend the garlic, walnuts and cheese until very finely chopped.
  2. Add the arugula and basil. Pulse the blade a few times to chop up the leaves.
  3. With the blade running, pour in the olive oil and blend until the pesto is fairly smooth. If it seems too thick, add more olive oil.
  4. Add salt to taste. 

Lemon Garlic Shrimp Pasta 

  1. Bring a pot of salted water to a boil.
  2. Add the pasta and cook according to the package instructions. Before draining the pasta, scoop out 1/2 cup of the pasta water and set it aside.  
  3. Heat the olive oil in a wide skillet over medium heat.
  4. Add the garlic and cook only about 20 seconds.
  5. Add the shrimp. Saute about 5 minutes, stirring often so garlic doesn't burn, until the shrimp are pink and plump.
  6. As the shrimp cook, add the lemon zest
  7. In a large bowl, combine the pesto and the reserved 1/2 cup of pasta water, to thin out the pesto.
  8. Add the pasta to the bowl and toss well to coat the noodles in pesto. 
  9. Add the shrimp to the bowl, making sure to scrape the skillet well so that all of the garlic and oil come with the pasta. 
  10. Serve the pasta with lemon wedges and grated parmesan cheese. 


I buy frozen shrimp - just remember to put them in the refrigerator the night before to defrost. 

The easiest way to zest a lemon is using a microplane zester like this one.  I also use this type of microplane zester to finely grate hard cheese. 

Patting shrimp dry with a paper towel before cooking the shrimp helps the shrimp saute faster and better because there isn't as much moisture in the skillet.

  • Category: pasta
  • Method: boil and saute
  • Cuisine: Italian American

Keywords: arugula pesto, walnut pesto, shrimp pasta, lemon garlic shrimp, lemon garlic prawns,