Pesto Shrimp and Parmesan Risotto

Pesto shrimp with risotto and a fork in a bowl
This recipe is sponsored by DeLallo

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 jumbo shrimp” or “pan-seared and draped in a bright lush pesto.” 

But honestly, what if all of that was part of the same dish and you were already head over heels about it?

It’s true, it’s true. The risotto is tender and rich and feels so special, the subtly sweet perfection of the quick marinated shrimp is sealed in with a golden brown sear. The pesto, oh the pesto…fresh, zippy, full of warm summer basil flavor. This one’s a treat.

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

In This Post: Everything You Need For Pesto Shrimp

Ingredients You’ll Need For This Pesto Shrimp and Parm Risotto

Lots of simple yet strong flavors here to bring this gem together. You just know when you see a list including butter, garlic, Parmesan, and pesto that you are in for a REAL FUN JOURNEY AHEAD. Here’s what you’re grabbing for this:

For the Parmesan Risotto

  • butter
  • garlic or shallot (or both! yes, please)
  • arborio rice (DeLallo’s arborio rice is absolutely perfect for this!)
  • white wine 
  • chicken broth
  • Parmesan cheese

For the Pesto Shrimp

  • jumbo shrimp
  • garlic
  • olive oil
  • salt
  • lemon zest (optional)
  • jarred pesto (we love DeLallo brand with our whole hearts!)
  • fresh juicy tomatoes (Roma or beefsteak are great)
  • fresh herbs for topping

The white wine 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.

Sometimes people will also use unsweetened white grape or apple juice with a splash of citrus, a splash of apple cider vinegar, or white/red wine vinegar in place of wine in a recipe like this.

Let’s Get Cooking

There are a few steps to this one and though it is still quite simple, we’re dealing with risotto here, so speed isn’t the name of the game.

  1. Marinate. Place the shrimp, garlic, 1 tablespoon olive oil, 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 white wine 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. Pesto Shrimp: Heat your skillet and olive oil 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 pile those juicy seared pesto shrimp on your bed of risotto. Add some bright pops of chopped fresh tomatoes and herbs, one more lemon squeezer across the top, and you are basically royalty. SO GOOD.

Close up of shrimp pesto

Different Ways To Cook Shrimp For This Recipe

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:

  • pan-fried in a nonstick skillet: That’s what we did here and it’s very, very simple.
  • grilled on a skewer: Grill weather abounds now, so you could also sear these jumbo beauties that way. Maybe you want to poke some cute little cherry tomatoes on there while you’re at it? We can’t imagine that would disappoint!

Poaching is also definitely an option if that is your preferred method! We just can’t get enough of that sear over here though.

Jar of DeLallo pesto

What To Look For When Buying Pesto

Have you met our truest best friend of pastas and jarred sauces, DeLallo? What dreamboats they are. Just, they never disappoint!

Sometimes jarred pestos can be kind of overly creamy and a dullish green, which can feel a little meh when you are hoping for wow. But DeLallo’s jarred pesto is much brighter, fresher, less creamy, and the flavor is definitely very wow.

It uses handpicked basil, olive oil, 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.

And because pesto doesn’t require any kind of cooking/heating, it really, really is best to just use at the very end of cooking to maximize all of its fresh flavors!

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

Things To Serve With This Pesto Shrimp

We really, really recommend the MEGA yummy Parmesan risotto here. We used the authentic Italian arborio rice from DeLallo and it really just makes this dish. There’s nothing like it!

Other options for serving, if you’re wanting to play a game of mix-and-match with this meal, include:

Pesto Shrimp and Parmesan Risotto: Frequently Asked Questions

Can I use something else in place of shrimp?

Pesto-brushed scallops would also be a delicious choice here! You can read more in this recipe about how we like to sear scallops.

What kind of herbs do you recommend for this dish?

Parsley, chives, or basil would be really, really good choices and pair well.

How creamy should the risotto be?

For the risotto, when in doubt I’d recommend erring on the side of more liquid to get a creamier texture!

Pesto shrimp and risotto in a bowl with a fork square

Pesto Shrimp and Parmesan Risotto

  • Author: Lindsay
  • Total Time: 45 minutes
  • Yield: 4 servings


Tender, juicy, garlic-marinated shrimp brushed with a bright pesto sauce and piled high on creamy Parmesan risotto with fresh tomatoes and herbs sprinkled on it all. Wow wow wow! Diving in now! 



Parmesan Risotto:

  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 clove minced garlic or 1 minced shallot (or both)
  • 1 cup DeLallo Risotto Arborio Rice
  • 1/2 cup white wine (sub chicken broth + a little lemon juice)
  • 3-4 cups of chicken broth
  • 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
  • optional: tiny drizzle of truffle oil

Pesto Shrimp:

  • 12 pounds jumbo shrimp (shells removed and tails on or off, whatever you prefer)
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • zest of 1 lemon (optional)
  • 1/4 cup DeLallo jarred pesto
  • 12 roma, beefsteak, or any kind of fresh juicy tomatoes, chopped
  • herbs for topping


  1. Marinate the Shrimp: Place the shrimp, garlic, 1 tablespoon olive oil, 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. Make the Risotto: In a large non-stick skillet over medium heat, melt the butter. Add the garlic or shallots and saute for a minute or two, until soft and fragrant.
  3. Add the arborio rice, stir to coat with butter. Add the white wine 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 done, add the Parmesan and stir until incorporated. Add truffle oil if you want (omg it’s so good). Salt + pepp to taste.
  5. Make the Pesto Shrimp: Heat the remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil 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 risotto topped with those juicy pesto shrimp. Speckle some chopped fresh tomatoes around in there and top with herbs or something delicate and green (I used microgreens in the photo). Salt, pepper, a little more lemon juice and you’re in a very happy place.
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 30 minutes
  • Category: Dinner
  • Method: Sauté
  • Cuisine: Italian-Inspired

Keywords: pesto shrimp, risotto recipe, parmesan risotto

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Thanks to DeLallo for sponsoring this recipe!

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