Pesto Shrimp and Parmesan Risotto Recipe

Pesto shrimp risotto is a classic Italian recipe. With this and other easy recipes, you’ll have dinner on the table in no time!

Pesto Shrimp and Parmesan Risotto Recipe is a recipe that has been passed down from generation to generation. The risotto is made with pesto, shrimp, and parmesan cheese. This recipe makes for a delicious dish that you can enjoy on any occasion.

Pesto Shrimp and Parmesan Risotto Recipe

Fresh tomatoes and herbs sprinkled on top of tender, juicy, garlic-marinated shrimp drizzled with a vibrant pesto sauce and heaped high over creamy Parmesan risotto. Wow! Wow! Wow! Wow! Let’s get started!


There are several things we could say and then just stop and you’d of course run to the kitchen with no explanation because YUM. Like, “creamy parmesan risotto” or “tender, juicy, garlic & lemon marinated shrimp jumbo” or “pan-seared and draped in a bright lush pesto.” 

But, honestly, what if all of it was included in the same plate and you were already smitten?

It’s correct, it’s correct. The slightly sweet perfection of the fast marinated shrimp is sealed in with a golden brown sear, making the risotto soft and creamy. Oh, the pesto…fresh, zesty, and bursting with warm summer basil taste. This is a real pleasure.

Pesto shrimp in a bowl with risotto and a fork and a glass of wine, white on the side

This Pesto Shrimp and Parmesan Risotto requires the following ingredients.

There are a lot of basic yet powerful tastes in this treasure. You simply know you’re in for a REALLY FUN JOURNEY AHEAD when the ingredients list includes butter, garlic, Parmesan, and pesto. This is what you’re going to need:

Risotto with Parmesan

  • butter
  • (Or both! yeah, please) garlic or shallot
  • arborio rice (DeLallo’s arborio rice is fantastic for this!)
  • wine, white 
  • chicken stock
  • Parmigiano-Reggiano

Pesto Shrimp Recipe

  • shrimp jumbo
  • garlic
  • oil of olives
  • salt
  • zest of lemon (optional)
  • jarred pesto (DeLallo brand is our absolute favorite!)
  • juicy, fresh tomatoes (Roma or beefsteak are great)
  • topping with fresh herbs

The wine, white offers a slight acidic element to balance the richness of your risotto, enhancing the flavor. But if you’re looking to skip it, you can just replace it with more broth plus a little lemon juice.

In a dish like this, folks may use unsweetened white grape or apple juice with a splash of citrus, a splash of apple cider vinegar, or white/red wine vinegar for the wine.

Let’s Get Started

There are a few stages to this one, and although it’s still rather straightforward, we’re dealing with risotto, so speed isn’t a priority.

  1. Marinate. Place the shrimp, garlic, 1 tablespoon oil of olives, salt, and lemon zest in a bowl or plastic bag. Mix it all together so the shrimp is soaking up every bit of that flavor goodness. An hour or more is ideal but if you at least get it going while you cook your risotto, you’re still golden.
  2. Risotto. Melt the butter in a large nonstick skillet and then sauté the garlic/shallots until soft and fragrant. Add the arborio rice, and stir to coat with butter. Splash in your wine, white for sizzle time and then add your broth and play the stir-simmer-repeat game for a bit until soft and creamy. Finish with Parmesan, salt, and pepp.
  3. Shrimp with Pesto: Heat your skillet and oil of olives over medium-high heat (if you’re using nonstick). Toss your shrimp and cook for a couple minutes per side, depending on their size. In the last minute or so of cooking, start brushing on that beautiful DeLallo pesto to coat the shrimp (don’t do this too early – we want to preserve that peak pesto yumminess!)

Then you’ll lay those succulent pesto shrimp on top of your risotto bed. You’re almost royalty when you add some brilliant bursts of chopped fresh tomatoes and herbs, as well as another lemon squeezer over the top. SO GOOD.

Close up of shrimp pesto

For this recipe, there are many different ways to cook shrimp.

Because we love the little, like, flavor seal™️ that the direct heat creates for the shrimp & pesto situation, our preferred methods for cooking the shrimp here are:

  • In a nonstick skillet, pan-fried: That is exactly what we accomplished here, and it is quite straightforward.
  • skewered and grilled: Now that the weather is nice, you may cook these enormous beauties on the grill. While you’re about it, why not stick some lovely tiny cherry tomatoes on there? That can’t possibly be disappointing!

If poaching is your favorite way, that is also a possibility! But over here, we can’t get enough of that sear.

Jar of DeLallo pesto

What Should You Look For When Purchasing Pesto?

DeLallo, our truest best buddy of pastas and jarred sauces, have you met him yet? They’re absolute dreamboats. They never let you down!

When you’re looking for wow, prepackaged pestos might be too creamy and a dullish green, which can seem a bit blah. DeLallo’s jarred pesto, on the other hand, is considerably brighter, fresher, and less creamy, with a taste that is absolutely amazing.

It uses handpicked basil, oil of olives, crunchy pine nuts & cashews, garlic, Pecorino Romano AND Parmigiano-Reggiano cheeses, so HELLO FLAVOR PARADE! Def recommend getting a few jars of this on hand for yourself.

Because pesto doesn’t need any cooking or heating, it’s ideal to use it just at the finish of the cooking process to get the most out of all of its fresh tastes!

Instead, just a hefty swath over that hot seared shrimp and all that oil of olives, bright fresh basil, zippy garlic, creamy pine nut, and Parmesan flavor just soars into your hearts and tastebuds.

Serving Suggestions with Pesto Shrimp

The MEGA delicious Parmesan risotto here comes highly recommended. We used DeLallo’s genuine Italian arborio rice, which really transforms this recipe. Nothing compares to that!

If you want to play mix-and-match with this dish, there are a few more possibilities for serving:

Risotto with Pesto Shrimp and Parmesan: Frequently Asked Questions

Can I substitute anything else for the shrimp?

Scallops coated with pesto would also be wonderful! You may learn more about how we prefer to sear scallops in this recipe.

What herbs would you suggest for this dish?

Parsley, chives, or basil are all excellent alternatives that work great together.

What consistency should the risotto have?

When it comes to the risotto, err on the side of extra liquid to get a creamier texture!


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Fresh tomatoes and herbs sprinkled on top of tender, juicy, garlic-marinated shrimp drizzled with a vibrant pesto sauce and heaped high over creamy Parmesan risotto. Wow! Wow! Wow! Wow! Let’s get started! 

Risotto with Parmesan:

  • 1 teaspoon of butter
  • 1 garlic clove, minced, or 1 shallot, minced (or both)
  • 1 cup Arborio DeLallo Risotto Rice
  • 1/2 cup wine, white (sub chicken stock + a little lemon juice)
  • 3-4 cups of chicken stock
  • 1/2 cup Parmigiano-Reggiano
  • a smidgeon of truffle oil, if desired

Shrimp with Pesto:

  • 1–2 pounds shrimp jumbo (shells removed and tails on or off, whatever you prefer)
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 2 tablespoons oil of olives
  • 1 tblsp. salt
  • 1 lemon’s zest (optional)
  • 1/4 cup jarred DeLallo pesto
  • 12–12 roma, beefsteak, or any other kind of juicy fresh tomato, chopped
  • herbs for garnish

  1. Marinate the Shrimp: Place the shrimp, garlic, 1 tablespoon oil of olives, salt, and lemon zest in a bowl or plastic bag. Mix it all together so the shrimp is coated with all that flavor goodness. Stick it back in the fridge to let it marinate while you make the risotto (for about 1 hour, if you can).
  2. To make the risotto, melt the butter in a large nonstick pan over medium heat. Sauté for a minute or two, until the garlic or shallots are tender and aromatic.
  3. Add the arborio rice, stir to coat with butter. Add the wine, white and enjoy the sizzles. Add the broth, 1/2 cup at a time, and simmer/stir after each addition until the rice is soft and creamy.
  4. When the risotto is finished, whisk in the Parmesan until it is well integrated. If desired, drizzle with truffle oil (omg, it’s delicious). Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  5. Make the Shrimp with Pesto: Heat the remaining 1 tablespoon oil of olives in a skillet over medium-high heat (I use nonstick for this). Add the shrimp and cook for 2-3 minutes on each side, depending on their size. Brush the cooked shrimp with the pesto for the last 60 seconds or so of cooking.
  6. Serve the risotto with the juicy pesto shrimp on top. Toss in some chopped fresh tomatoes and some herbs or anything delicate and green on top (I used microgreens in the photo). Salt, pepper, and a squeeze of lemon juice later, and you’re in heaven.
  • 15-minute prep time
  • 30 minutes to prepare
  • Dinner category
  • Sauté method
  • Italian-inspired cuisine


The “creamy pesto risotto” is a recipe that combines the flavor of pesto with the creamy texture of risotto. It’s an easy and delicious dish to make for dinner.

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