Linguine noodles are tossed with a light artichoke pesto to give you an elegant yet easy weeknight dinner that works for date night too.
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While I’m all about zoodles and cutting down on carbs, sometimes I just want a really, really want some pasta! Do you know what I mean?! This Shrimp Linguine with Lemon Artichoke Pesto blends veggies with whole grain linguine to give you a relatively healthy pasta dish!
My first test run of this dish was when two girlfriends came over for dinner one evening late last summer. One of them doesn’t eat meat or chicken, only seafood, so I needed a good option for the main course. It was kind of a rainy, overcast day so seemed like a good idea to do something indoors. I feel like pesto is always a good option with pasta but wanted to create something with a little more substance to it than a tradition basil pesto. Enter artichokes – one of my most favorite veggies of all!
Fresh artichokes are fabulous when steamed or grilled but when you get into canned or frozen, they often lack flavor and need a bit of help to bring out the flavor. Some good ways to incorporate artichokes include adding them to a salad or combining them with fresh spices and using them as a pizza topping. But making them into pesto might just be one of my new favorite things!
Artichokes have always been one of my favorites. I grew up eating them just steamed and dipped in mayo. Now a prefer a slightly different sauce, like the one I created for these grilled baby artichokes. I’m always looking for new ways to prepare them, so when I started thinking about pesto, combining them with lemon and a little basil just seemed like such a natural combo to me.
Like all pestos, this one comes together pretty easily with the use of your food processor. Just toss the ingredients in, pulse a couple of times and then slowly add the oil until you get a nice consistency. You can make the pesto ahead of time, up to a day or two in advance. The cook time shown below assumes you do it all at once, however, if you make it ahead, your hands-on time the day of will be about 12 minutes, which makes for nice quick meal prep!
Why Add Pasta Water?
One of the keys to a good creamy pasta dish is often adding some of the pasta water and mixing everything together in a warm pan. It helps to distribute the sauce evenly and ensure all the noodles get well coated. It only adds a few minutes of prep time and makes a big difference to the dish. Once you get the hang of doing it and see what a difference it makes, you’ll probably start adding this step to many of your pasta dishes!
This a nice light dish that’s great for spring or fall, however, it really works at any time of year as long as you don’t mind firing up your stove to do some cooking. And what I love about this dish is that it’s easy enough for a weeknight dinner, however, works well for entertaining or date night too!!
I’m actually quite in love with this pesto so I’m pretty sure you’ll be seeing it, or a version of it, in a future post!!
Notes from the Kitchen
- I used half a box or 8oz of the linguine for this recipe. If you want to be exact you can weigh it using a kitchen scale, otherwise, just eyeball it. It won’t impact the recipe if you use slightly more or less.
- You can make a double batch of this pesto and use half in this recipe and save the other half for another time. It’s great tossed with any pasta, or even as a sandwich spread or chicken salad add-in.
- Don’t forget to reserve some of the pasta water when you are draining the pasta. You’ll need it when you go to do the final prep of this dish. The recipe only calls for about ½ cup but I typically reserve about a cup, just in case I need a little extra.
- If you are a big artichoke fan, check out my recipe for Grilled Baby Artichokes which are drizzled with balsamic glaze. And if you are a fan of lemony pasta dishes check out this Creamy Lemon Pasta.
things you may want for this recipe
Kitchen Scale – For many ingredients like butter, pasta and grated cheese I prefer to weigh them instead of measure, so a kitchen scale comes in handy. It’s also great if you are trying to work on your portion control!
Food Processor – I think a good food processor is an essential kitchen tool and an absolute must for making pesto. This basic 9-cup model will suit most needs in the average kitchen. If you cook a lot, you might want to invest in a model with a larger bowl and a wider variety of blades.
Linguine noodles are tossed with this light artichoke pesto to give you an elegant yet easy weeknight dinner that works for date night too.
For the pesto:
- 1 can artichoke hearts, drained and rinsed
- 1 clove garlic
- ¼ cup basil leaves
- ½ tsp lemon zest
- 1 ½ tsp chopped walnuts
- 2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
- ⅛ tsp ground pepper
- 2 tbsp olive oil
For the shrimp & pasta:
- 8 oz whole wheat linguine
- 1 pound peeled and deveined shrimp
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 2 tbsp grated parmesan
- Fit a large food processor with a standard blade. Add artichokes and garlic, pulse several times until the artichokes are roughly chopped. Add basil, lemon zest, lemon juice and walnuts. Pulse 4-5 times.
- Scrape down the sides of the bowl. Add pepper and then, with the motor running slowly pour the olive oil down the chute and continue processing until fully blended.
- Cook the pasta according to package directions. When done cooking drain, reserving at least a ½ cup of the pasta water.
- Heat a large skillet over medium heat. While the skillet is heating toss the shrimp with the olive oil and garlic. Add shrimp to skillet and cook for 2 minutes. Using a pair of tongs, turn the shimp and cook for an additional 1-2 minutes until shrimp and pink and cooked through.
- Turn the heat off and add the pasta, pesto and ¼ cup of the pasta water to the pan. Carefully toss to coat the linguine. Add additional pasta water, a small amount at a time, if needed to needed. Serve immediately, topping with grated parmesan if desired.
- Serving Size: 1 ½ cups
- Calories: 430
Keywords: Spring pasta dishes, pesto recipes