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Pesto Orecchiette with Grilled Shrimp and Corn

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  • Level: Intermediate
  • Total: 1 hr 30 min (includes cooling time)
  • Active: 40 min
  • Yield: 6 servings
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1 pound extra-large or jumbo shrimp, peeled and deveined

2 ears corn, shucked

3 tablespoons olive oil, plus more for drizzling 

1 pound orecchiette pasta 

4 cloves garlic, sliced 

1 serrano pepper, thinly sliced 

Salt and freshly ground black pepper 

2 tablespoons unsalted butter 

2 tablespoons Basil Pesto, recipe follows

Grated Parmesan, for garnish 

Fresh basil leaves, for garnish 

Basil Pesto:

2 cloves garlic

Zest of 1 lemon 

1/4 cup shelled and toasted pistachios 

1 cup olive oil 

Kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper 

2 cups fresh basil leaves 

1/4 cup grated Parmesan  


  1. Preheat a grill or grill pan over medium-high heat. Drizzle the shrimp and corn with oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Place the corn and shrimp on the grill. Grill the shrimp until cooked through and evenly charred, 2 to 3 minutes per side. Grill the corn until charred, 5 to 8 minutes per side. Remove from the grill and cool. Cut the shrimp in half lengthwise, head to tail. Cut the corn kernels off the cobb.
  2. Bring a large pot of generously salted water to a boil. Add a pasta insert. Pour in the pasta, stir, and boil until al dente, 8 to 10 minutes. Remove the pasta insert with the pasta; keep the water boiling.
  3. Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the 3 tablespoons oil, garlic and serrano pepper. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and cook, stirring, for 1 to 2 minutes. Add the grilled corn and shrimp. Dip the pasta insert back in the water briefly, then lift the insert out, shake off excess water and add the pasta to the skillet. Turn off the heat and add the butter, Basil Pesto and some Parmesan. Toss to coat. Adjust the seasoning with salt and pepper.
  4. Serve with more Parmesan sprinkled over the top. Garnish with basil leaves. 

Basil Pesto:

Yield: 1 1/2 cups
  1. Pulse the garlic, lemon zest, pistachios, 1/4 cup oil, salt and pepper in a food processor until coarse. Add the basil and another 1/4 cup oil and pulse a few times to combine. Blend the mixture while streaming in the remaining oil. Once combined, add the Parmesan and puree until. Reserve for pasta.

Cook’s Note

Refrigerate the remaining pesto in an airtight container for up to 3 days.