Shrimp Linguine with Fresh Arugula Lemon Pesto

From the time my two sassy gals were little, I’ve given them this tidbit of advice.  Be aware of your surroundings. Keep alert, watch where you’re going, and watch your step.  Excellent Motherly advice.  Right?

Why you ask? Because I am notorious for ending up sprawled out on a parking lot, grassy hills,  rocky slopes, sidewalks, and several times down the stairs of my back deck.  Yep, if there is a fall waiting to happen, I usually oblige.

Winery Tours with my most amazing cousins John and Shelby. John is a Wine Master with Rocca Vineyards.

Winery Tours with my most amazing cousins John and Shelby. John is the Sales Director for Rocca Vineyards.

I do heed my own advice.  Really I do.  But sometimes I’m mentally multitasking and probably not paying close attention (ya think?) to where my feet are going.  I’m not the only one with this affliction.  My twin sister.  Yep, she’s got it too.

My sister, Kristin, and I recently discussed our unintentional inability to stay firmly planted on our feet.  It’s been too long since we’ve seen each other and we met in Napa for a little fun, wine, and film at the Napa Wine and Film Festival.

Touring Napa with Ranger Craig, Kristin and Kevin (my Sis and Brother in law)

Touring Napa with Ranger Craig, Kristin and Kevin (my Sis and Brother in law)

Between wine tastings, divine food and film, Ranger Craig and my handsome Brother in law, Kevin, decided we should all go hiking.  K and I love to hike, so we were eagerly on board with the idea.

Just as I got out of the car what does my hunk of burnin’ love say to me? Smiling and trying oh so hard not to laugh… “Babe, watch your step. I don’t want to have to carry you back down the mountain”.

A beautiful day to hike Napa

A beautiful day to hike Napa

Yep.  This has happened.  Probably on more than one occasion, but I think I’ve repressed those memories.  The last time Ranger Craig and I hiked, I did a “slide into home base” down Mt. Si.  Ranger Craig and I had hiked up the mountain (without so much as a trip!) but when we were on our way down, we were deep in glorious conversation (or rather I was) when all of a sudden the mountain moved right out from under me.  And thus sending me into a forward pitch down the hill to claim home plate.

Thankfully, hiking in Napa proved painless and crashless. My sister and I laughed and reminisced through the hike about our variety of mishaps, sidewalks moving, and wide holes opening in the ground for us to step in and perform unladylike face plants.

I’m so thankful I’m not alone in the world of stumbling, falling, slipping out of my jeep onto the pavement, and those beautiful and graceful face plants. I couldn’t be more thankful for my beautiful sis. A brilliant woman who amazes me with her determination, leadership, cleverness and hilarious sense of humor.  She has a big heart and a generous spirit. I love her.

Friends and family are constant reminders of true love, joy and the spirit of Christmas.  Wishing you all a joyous and delicious holiday season.  And be sure to keep alert, watch where you’re going and watch your step. 😉

Shrimp Linguine with Fresh Arugula Lemon Pesto

I love fresh.  I love delicious.  I love simple.  Especially this time of year when it’s tempting to get take out instead of cook.  This is one of my fave pasta dishes.  It can easily be vegetarian with roasted veggies subbed for the shrimp.  It’s a great way to use leftover roasted chicken,  and sometimes I sub the shrimp for pan seared or grilled scallops.  Delicious!

Shrimp Linguine with Fresh Arugula Lemon Pesto

Serves 4-6


1 package good quality dried or fresh linguine, cooked according to package directions (my fave pasta is Jovial Brand Pastas, delicious every time!)

1½ lbs fresh shrimp (I like larger shrimp), deveined and peeled just to the tail.  Keep the tail on as it’s easier to prepare.

2 tablespoons butter

Salt and pepper to taste

Pinch of cayenne

For the Pesto

2 heaping cups fresh arugula (I used baby arugula) about 3-4 ounces

¼ cup coarsely chopped fresh Italian parsley

2 cloves garlic (or more if you love garlic)

2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

¼ cup toasted pine nuts

¼ cup grated fresh parmesan

½ cup good quality extra virgin California Ranch Olive Oil (I love the Arbequina in this dish)

Salt and pepper to taste

Zest of one lemon

Fresh grated parmesan for garnish


Prepare the Pasta.

Prepare the pesto.  While pasta is boiling, place the pesto ingredients, except the olive oil, lemon zest, salt and pepper, in a blender, vitamix or food processor.  Pulse the ingredients just until nicely incorporated.  Then drizzle in the olive oil until the ingredients are a smooth puree.  Fold in the lemon zest and season with salt and pepper to taste.

Prepare the Shrimp.  In a large skillet over medium high heat add the butter.  Season the shrimp with salt and pepper.  When the butter is frothy, place each shrimp one at a time in the bottom of the pan.  You may need to pan sear the shrimp in batches.  Sear the shrimp on both sides, about 1-2 minutes per side.  You will want the shrimp to be golden brown on the outside and opaque to the eye.   Transfer the shrimp to a bowl and sprinkle with just a pinch of cayenne. This may seem tedious but shrimp cook quickly and pan seared shrimp will add a lot more flavor to the dish.

Toss the warm pasta with the pesto.  Pour the pasta in a large serving bowl and layer the shrimp on top.  Garnish with additional chopped Italian parsley and grated parmesan.

This dish can be prepared in about 30 minutes.  🙂



  1. Take out is very attractive this time of year . . . when life is a whirl of holiday to-dos. I’m soooo envious of your Napa get-away — not only because it is somewhere that I’ve always wanted to go, but also because it looks like it was good for your spirit to spend time with people you care about. Lovely post Karista.

    • Thanks Barb! It was so good to spend a few days with my family. We’re all spread out. Florida, Arkansas, California, Japan and of course Washington state. Phew! I bet you’re having a blast this Christmas with the darling ponytails. 🙂

  2. I make a very similar linguine, but I love your idea of adding the pesto. Will have to try it next time I make mine (it is pretty much a staple over here as we get fantastic shrimp in Mexico)

  3. We’re going to try this one this week! Loved seeing the pictures again…miss you guys so much! Love you! John “The Wine Master” 😉 (I’m a Sales Director, by the way, though Wine Master is a totally awesome title and I’m going to ask my boss to let me have it).

  4. It sounds like I could be your sister. My husband is always telling me to be careful as I’m constantly falling as well. This sounds like a terrific meal for this hectic time of the year. By the way, I subscribed by email but have not been getting your posts…don’t know what is wrong.

    • Hahaha! Karen, I do know how you feel. 🙂 I’ve had other people tell me they aren’t receiving my posts either. I’ll definitely check into it! Thank you. Happy Holidays Karen 🙂

  5. A beautiful linguine and one I would love…lots of my favorite flavors. You and your sister are so beautiful, Karista! Hard to believe that you have these issues with staying on terra firma…but we all have our thing, I guess. 🙂 Looks like you all had a great time in Napa and I hope you have lovely and upright holidays! My thing is more of a bumping into sharp corners, BTW. Always sporting a bruise.

    • Thank you Betsy! It’s probably more of a “I just don’t watch where I’m going because I’m talking” sort of thing. Happens all the time unfortunately. I try to pay attention but I must be easily distracted. LOL! And so sorry about the bumping into sharp corners thing… I so understand!! Wishing you the happiest of holidays too! 🙂

  6. I LOVE that photo of this pasta dish! Absolutely gorgeous, and I can almost taste the bright, fresh flavor. Going to browse some more!

  7. That is one gorgeous dish Karista. Much like you, I am a klutz. It’s better that I stay off of mountains and such. I’m safer in the kitchen. 😉

  8. This pasta dish looks wonderfully delicious!

  9. Your blog design is so cute! I am kind of obsessed with argula right now so this sounds fabulous 🙂

  10. I could slip right in to this dish Karista 🙂

  11. Nice post and beautiful photos. I love arugula pesto. Very nicely done, indeed.

  12. Great photos! What a lovely pasta dish.

  13. Ha! I could start a whole new blog about the things I’ve fallen off-of/into/over/etc….
    Down the stairs from the balcony at church? Check.
    Walking across the lawn? Check.
    Once, I slid down a boulder in the Wichita Mountains on my rear, to avoid falling, and wore a large hole in the seat of my jeans in the process…it was a breezy walk back to the car!
    The list goes on…and, unfortunately, I seem to have passed on the trait to my younger daughter…
    Love the recipe – we’ll have to give it a shot when Hubby gets back from his trip next week!

    • LOL! Ok, I think you win most hilarious fall down the hill story. I did trip on the one little step going into church. Face plant. I thought the door greeters were going to have a heart attack!

  14. And here I thought falling off your feet was exclusive to my mom – well she also does a good job tripping up stairs – I really hope I don’t inherit that gene in years to come – seems mom only started in latter years.
    This was a lovely read as always Karista and your shrimp linguine is just fabulous!
    Wishing you and yours and your gorgeous little chicks a blessed and love filled festive season.
    🙂 Mandy xo

  15. What a beautiful pasta dish! Pasta with pesto is a favorite around here. That sounds like such a fun trip!!!

    • I love arugula lemon pesto so much I could sip it like soup! We’re a pesto and pasta lovin’ crew too. 🙂 the trip was fun, just too short. Happy Holidays Alyssa!

  16. What a lovely tribute to your sister.. she sounds as adorable as you:) I, too, can be clumsy and have a broken phone to attest to it. But.. I’ve never had to be carried down a mountain, that’s something, he’s a strong man! Excellent recipe today.. lots of my favorite flavors in this one! xx

  17. What beautiful photos! That looks like the perfect family weekend. And I love the arugula pesto!

  18. Kristin Taylor Bryan says:

    Very funny, K! Love this recipe too 😉

  19. I love when people can relate their ummm… let’s call it uniqueness… with humor. We have to be able to laugh at ourselves and let others in on it too.

    Why haven’t I ever made arugula pesto? Have some still growing mixed in with baby kale and I might just throw it all in there. Shrimp are in the freezer and this will make a super meal over winter break. I’m planning simple dinners now for when family is here. thx :-)… wendy
    PS – Napa Valley looks gorgeous.

    • Hahaha! Thanks Wendy. Yes, it’s a well known fact in my family that Mom sometimes finds herself on the ground.
      I do love arugula and especially this pest. I also make this (minus the pine nuts) and swirl it in my risotto. Yum!
      Orcas must be beautiful this time of year!

  20. That really does look exceptional, Karista! How clumsy you are! I’m always catching my feet on things, but I have good balance so I very rarely fall over. Guess it’s the fault of my massive feet…

  21. I will definitely make this!

  22. Delicious.

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