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Arugula Pesto Pasta with Garlic Shrimp

I’ve never been someone to buy souvenirs while on vacation, rather I just stock pile ideas for recipes from my meals while traveling and bring them home so I can reminisce about where I’ve been. And that’s exactly where this Arugula Pesto Pasta comes from!

Arugula Pesto Pasta from (@whatsgabycookin)

Perhaps my most favorite meal in all of Italy, a few years back, was at this little beach club off the coast in Positano called Da Adolfo! It’s literally just a tiny beach with a handful of lounge chairs and a small restaurant area right smack on the beach with a couple dozen tables and a LOT of food. I had to call weeks ahead of time to make sure we got a reservation and then the countdown was on! We went for my birthday lunch and ordered almost everything on the entire menu. (pictures here) Peaches with wine, grilled mozzarella on lemon leaves, grilled Branzino, mussels with tomato sauce and this Arugula Pesto Pasta! It’s beyond simple but incredibly memorable and I’ve been making it ever since. While the Arugula Pesto Pasta tastes just as good as our beachside meal in Positano, eating this on my kitchen table doesn’t have quite the same vibe as sitting under an awning on the beach in Italy. Sigh… I’ll just count down the hours until we can go back!

Arugula Pesto Pasta


  • 1/4 cup pine nuts, toasted
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 3 cups firmly packed arugula, plus extra for garnish
  • 3/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
  • 2/3 cup grated pecorino romano cheese, plus more for garnish
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • 1 pound linguini
  • For the Shrimp

  • ½ – ¾ lb medium sized shrimp, peeled and de-veined
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • Kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper


  1. In a food processor, combine the pine nuts and garlic and process until finely chopped. Add the 3 cups arugula and process until coarsely chopped. With the processor running, gradually add the olive oil in a steady stream and process until smooth. Turn off the machine and add the lemon juice and cheese, then pulse until incorporated. Transfer the pesto to a bowl and season with salt and pepper as needed.
  2. Cook the pasta until al dente. Drain and set aside.
  3. Toss the shrimp with the oil, garlic powder as well as salt and pepper. Saute for about 3 minutes on each side until pink and fully cooked.
  4. In a large bowl, toss the pesto with the pasta until well coated. Scatter arugula leaves on top and sprinkle with extra cheese. Serve immediately. Serves 4 to 6.


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