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Quick and Easy Garlic Prawn Pesto Pasta

Prawn pesto pasta with fresh basil pesto & linguine is the perfect quick & easy midweek pasta meal but it still feels special and indulgent.

This dish takes less than 30 minutes to cook and prepare and that includes making homemade pesto, if you use store-bought pesto, it’s less than 15 minutes!

Prawn pesto pasta with basil pesto, jumbo shrimp and linguine being picked up with a fork.

Basil Pesto and Prawn Linguine

Like most homes, pasta does a lot of heavy lifting in our kitchen when it comes to rustling up a quick dinner.

One of my favourite ways of “blinging” up a quick pasta dinner is to break out some prawns from the freezer.

They work in so many ways, I have recipes as diverse as prawn and pea pasta, a spicy prawn and chorizo pasta, chilli prawn linguine and a super dramatic and delicious prawn, fennel and squid ink pasta.

My latest offering is an equally delicious garlicky prawn pesto pasta made with a classic basil pesto.

It is wonderfully easy to make and will go from your fridge/freezer to your table in under 30 minutes. That includes making your own pesto from scratch.

If you are buying pesto you are looking at dinner on the table in around 15 minutes!

Close-up prawn pesto linguine with fresh basil chiffonade.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I use store-bought pesto?

Yes, of course. Homemade pesto is glorious, but let’s face it there is nothing like the convenience of a store-bought sauce.

Do whatever you need, I’m not here to judge anyone!

Can I use different types of pesto?

Yes, this works particularly well with pea pesto, walnut pesto and it is surprisingly good with pesto alla trapanese.

What sort of pasta should I use?

As you can see from the pictures I have used linguine in this recipe, but any “open” pasta would work well in this recipe. Everything from pappardelle to orecchiette would work well.

I’d avoid closed pasta shapes like conchiglie and penne because we use large prawns and there is not enough sauce to get into all of those gaps.

What size prawns should I use?

I use size 20-25 head-off shell-off prawns, the number is a measure of how many prawns you get per pound.

Can I make this in advance?

I would say no for this recipe, reheating pesto and prawns is always a bit dodgy as far as I am concerned.

The prawns tend to overcook and the pesto definitely loses its vibrant flaovur if it is reheated.

Prawn pesto pasta with linguine and fresh basil.

Serving Suggestions

Bowls of pasta as far as I am concerned are beautifully simple and need very little “on the side”.

This simple garlic pesto pasta recipe is no different, it gets a wee chiffonade of fresh basil, maybe a drizzle of olive oil and some bread.

I’m perfectly happy with some focaccia or a slice of ciabatta.

My wife on the other hand always longs for garlic bread or cheesy garlic bread.

It is pictured here with garlic bread… make of that what you will 😉

Overhead prawn pesto linguine with linguine and fresh basil.

Equipment Used

I only name-check brands of equipment if I think that they make a material difference to a recipe. But if you have any questions feel free to ask them in the comments section below the recipe.

  • Stovetop.
  • 20cm or 8″ saucepan.
  • 30cm or 12″ frying pan.
  • Colander.
  • Sieve if you need to defrost the prawns in a hurry.
  • Chopping board.
  • Kitchen knife.
  • Weighing scales and or measuring cups and spoons.

If you are making homemade basil pesto you also need:

  • Mini blender and or mortar and pestle.
  • Grater.
  • Small frying pan, although you could use the large frying pan mentioned above.
Garlic prawn pasta with basil pesto and linguine.
Yield: 2 Servings

Quick and Easy Garlic Prawn Pesto Pasta Recipe

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 25 minutes

The quick and easy garlic prawn pesto pasta is a gloriously quick and easy meal that will go from your fridge to your table in 25 minutes... and that includes making fresh pesto!


  • 250g (9oz) Raw Prepared Prawns or Shrimp
  • 3 Garlic Cloves
  • 2 Tbsp Olive Oil
  • 50ml (3 Tbsp + 1 Tsp) White Wine
  • 125g (½ Cup) Pesto Pasta
  • 175g (6oz) Dried Pasta, I use Linguine
  • Salt for Boiling Pasta, I use 1½ teaspoons in a 20cm or 8" saucepan

Ingredients for Homemade Basil Pesto:

  • 20g (2 Tbsp) Pine Nuts
  • 25g (¾-1 Cup) Basil Leaves
  • 15g (3 Tbsp) Parmesan Cheese
  • 2 Cloves Garlic
  • 50ml (3 Tbsp + 1 Tsp) Olive Oil


  1. If your prawns are frozen place them in a sieve and run them under cold water for 4-5 minutes to defrost them, then dry them thoroughly.
  2. Peel the garlic cloves and dice them as finely as you can.
  3. Heat a 20cm or 8" saucepan over a high heat and cook the pasta until al dente.
  4. Heat a 30cm or 12" frying over a medium high heat and when it is hot add the olive oil.
  5. Throw in the garlic then cook for 30-60 seconds.
  6. Add the anchovies and prawns and cook for two minutes.
  7. Pour in the white wine and cook for a further two minutes.
  8. Drain the pasta, reserving around 75ml (⅓ Cup) of the cooking liquid and add the pasta to the prawn pan with the pesto.
  9. Toss everything together adding as much liquid as required to form a nice coating on the pasta.
  10. Serve with shredded fresh basil.

Instructions for homemade Basil Pesto:

  1. Toast the pine nuts in small a dry frying pan.
  2. Transfer to a mini blender or pestle and mortar, add the remaining ingredients and blitz until an appropriate texture is achieved.
  3. I like to transfer my pesto to a pestle and mortar and pound it for a minute or two to get the oils from the basil and pine nuts flowing. This is optional!

Nutrition Information:



Serving Size:


Amount Per Serving: Calories: 763Total Fat: 57gSaturated Fat: 10gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 43gCholesterol: 177mgSodium: 1118mgCarbohydrates: 34gFiber: 5gSugar: 1gProtein: 29g

Calorific details are provided by a third-party application and are to be used as indicative figures only.

Did you make this recipe?

If you made this recipe, I'd love to see what you did and what I can do better, share a picture with me on Instagram and tag me @krumplibrian and tell me how it went!


Monday 8th of April 2024

Good recipe.

Brian Jones

Sunday 21st of April 2024

Thank you :)

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