My beautiful sister in law made this insanely delicious pasta recipe at a family gathering. The dish almost didn't make it to the dinner table because I couldn't pull myself away from the stove top. I must have slurped a whole quarter cup of the sauce up before the pasta even got mixed in. Not a good look for me, for sure. This dish is so easy and a true crowd pleaser. I wouldn't let too many people taste it before its served or you might not have enough sauce to cover the pasta.
Perfect it and it could become your "Signature Dish".
Cook pasta in salted water until al dente. Reserve ½ cup pasta water before draining. Set aside.
Melt 1 tablespoon butter with 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add shrimp, 4 minced garlic cloves, 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes, lemon zest, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Cook for approximately 2 minutes on each side shaking the pan occasionally, just until shrimp are opaque and cooked through. Scrape shrimp and all the garlic juices to a bowl.
Once cool enough to handle, you can chop shrimp into bite size pieces or leave whole. I like the bite size pieces because it gives me more mouthfuls of shrimp. But leaving them whole is a beautiful presentation.
In the same skillet (don’t wipe out), melt 2 tablespoons butter over medium heat. Add remaining 2 minced garlic cloves and saute 30 seconds. Sprinkle in flour and cook while whisking for 1 minute, then turn heat to low. Slowly whisk in chicken broth, heavy cream, and pesto, stirring constantly until smooth. (I combined the broth, cream, and pesto together beforehand so that I could slowly pour it all in at once).
Turn heat to medium-high and bring the sauce to a simmer. Simmer until slightly thickened, stirring occasionally, approximately 3-5 minutes.
Reduce heat to low and stir in lemon juice followed by Parmesan cheese until melted. Stir in shrimp (and juices) and pasta until well coated in sauce, adding additional reserved pasta water or heavy cream if needed to reach desired consistency. Taste and season with additional salt, pepper, or red pepper flakes to taste.
Garnish with freshly grated Parmesan Cheese, fresh parsley and lemon juice (optional).