Pesto Spaghetti with Shrimp

The season of Lent is in full swing which means for observers, no meat on Fridays. To some, Lenten Fridays can pose somewhat of a challenge. However, abstaining from meat doesn’t have to mean boring or bland. This is the time of the year to get a little creative with everything else in the kitchen from vegetarian to seafood recipes. Wherever your imagination takes you, you can find scrumptious salads like a kale and farro Salad, garlic  noodles with heirloom tomatoes, pan seared white fish and more. In fact, just take a look at this year’s Lent menu for plenty of tasty ideas!

When we’re looking for a quick dinner, pasta usually does the trick. Today’s recipe for pesto spaghetti can be prepared in the kitchen and served on the table in less than half an hour–perfect for feeding a family when you’re on a time crunch. Making your own basil pesto at home is simple and can add incredible flavor to a variety of dishes. We love mixing ours into spaghetti and adding seafood such as sautéed shrimp with lemon, salt and pepper to make it worthy of every Lenten Friday and perhaps during the rest of the year.

Fresh pesto with basil

With its rich and robust flavor, pesto is one of those staples that will forever find a place in the pantry. It’s one of the easiest sauces to put together and can go well beyond simply pasta dishes. Pesto can be combined with just about anything from meat dishes to appetizers to dips and even dressings. It’s also an important ingredient in many Italian, French, Southeast Asian and Greek dishes. To prepare from scratch, the essentials lie in fresh basil, good quality olive oil, parmesan cheese, garlic and and pine nuts, all of which contribute to a fine homemade pesto. Once finished, However, if you’re looking for something a little more convenient, Melissa’s also offers their own Basil Pesto, made from the finest ingredients and ready to use.

Pesto Spaghetti with Shrimp

Yields: 4 servings


For the pesto:

  • 3 cups of fresh basil 
  • 2/3 cup of grated parmesan cheese
  • 2/3 cup of olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons of pine nuts
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1 teaspoon of oregano
  • Pinch of salt and pepper


1 jar of Melissa’s Basil Pesto 

For the pasta:

  • 8 oz of spaghetti
  • 1/2 lb of shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • Juice from 1/2 a lemon
  • 1 tablespoon of olive oil
  • 1 clove of garlic, minced
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • Fresh basil leaves, for garnish

1. Begin by making the pesto. In a blender or food processor, combine all the ingredients for the pesto but reserve the olive oil. While the motor is running, slowly add in the olive oil. Blend until smooth and set aside.

2. In a large pot, bring some water to boil and add some salt. Cook the spaghetti according to the package instructions.

3. While the spaghetti is cooking, heat up some olive oil in a large pan. Add the shrimp and minced garlic. Add the lemon juice and a pinch of salt and pepper. Cook until the shrimp are turn pink and are no longer translucent, around 4 minutes on each side.

4. Remove the shrimp from the heat. Once the spaghetti has finished cooking, drain out the water. Add the spaghetti to the pan with the shrimp and stir in the pesto. Toss with the pesto until evenly coated.

5. When ready to serve, distribute the pasta to your desired serving dish. Garnish with fresh basil leaves and enjoy!

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