This 20-minute easy shrimp pasta recipe makes a quick, delicious meal that will impress your guests any night of the week.
Looking for a scrumptious and effortless dinner recipe? This speedy shrimp pasta dish is ideal for any night of the week. It’s easy to make, nourishing, and packed with flavor. You’ll be amazed at how delectable this pasta dish tastes!
Why This Recipe Works
- Red pesto and sun-dried tomato paste give a ton of flavor without the hassle of chopping various ingredients.
- Mixing chicken stock and half and half for the sauce gives creaminess without being overly rich.
- Fresh garlic offers an extra layer of flavor, while vinegar enhances the flavors in the sauce.
Impress your dinner party guests with this luscious shrimp pasta recipe that’s sure to disappear before your very eyes! With its delectable flavors and effortless preparation, everyone will adore this dish. Plus, you can easily customize it to your preferences by adding your favorite vegetables or protein, making it a meal that everyone will relish.
Shrimp Buying Guide
When you’re looking for shrimp, there are a lot of options to choose from. Here is some guidance on how best to make your purchase!
Fresh shrimp is not as fresh as you might think. Only a small percentage (about 10%) sold in the US comes from America, so chances are they have been previously frozen.
When buying frozen, choose individually quick-frozen shrimp—you can thaw exactly what you need. For detailed information on this topic, check my post, How To Thaw Frozen Shrimp.
Some manufacturers chemically treat their products, so be sure to pick bags that only list shrimp in the ingredients.
Shrimp (or prawns): I recommend using raw, peeled, and deveined shrimp in this recipe. You can find them already prepared at most grocery stores. If you can’t find them, you can easily peel and devein the shrimp yourself. For frozen shrimp, see my post on how to thaw shrimp.
Red Tomato Pesto: I love using homemade pesto in this recipe, but you can also use store-bought.
Sun-dried Tomato Paste: Most grocery stores stock this ingredient in their International aisle. However, if you cannot find it, simply omit it and use extra pesto, as regular tomato paste will be too strong for this recipe.
Pasta: I used tagliatelle pasta (bowtie pasta) in this recipe, but any type of pasta will work.
Half and Half: This is a combination of milk and cream. You can also use heavy, double, whipping, or single cream.
Vinegar: I used white vinegar in this recipe, but you could also use red wine vinegar or apple cider vinegar.
Garlic: I used fresh garlic in this recipe, but you could also use garlic powder.
Step By Step Instructions
Fill a large pot with salted water and bring it to a boil. Add 1 lb of pasta to the pot and cook until it’s just underdone. Drain the pasta, reserving about 1/2 cup of the cooked pasta water, and set it aside.
Meanwhile, melt 1 tablespoon of butter and 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a large shallow pan over medium-high heat. Once melted, add 1 pound of peeled and deveined raw shrimp to the pan in a single layer. Cook undisturbed for 1 minute, then flip and cook for an additional minute until the shrimp are just cooked through.
Remove the shrimp from the pan and add 4 minced garlic cloves. Saute for 30 seconds to 1 minute until fragrant. Add 2 tablespoons of red pesto, 1 tablespoon of sun-dried tomato paste, and 1/4 teaspoon of red chili pepper flakes. Stir to combine and saute for about a minute to release the flavors.
Next, mix in 1 cup of half-and-half (or whipping cream).
Then Add ½ cup of chicken stock (or shrimp stock), ¼ cup of freshly grated Parmesan cheese, 1 teaspoon of white vinegar, a pinch of salt, and freshly ground black pepper.
Only a pinch of salt is used at this point because the cheese and pasta water may be salty.
Mix everything together and bring it to a simmer. If the sauce is too thick, add a small amount of reserved pasta water. Simmer for 3 to 5 minutes to bring the flavors together.
Add the cooked pasta to the sauce and simmer gently to allow the pasta to finish cooking in the sauce. If the sauce is too thick, add a small amount of reserved pasta water. Stir in the cooked shrimp and mix in the chopped fresh basil (or parsley).
Taste the dish for seasoning and add more salt as needed before serving.
Make ahead and Freezing Instructions ❄
You can make this shrimp pasta recipe ahead of time and reheat it when you’re ready to eat. Simply store the cooked pasta in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days.
To freeze, let the pasta cool completely, then store it in a freezer-safe container for up to 3 months. When you’re ready to eat, thaw the pasta in the fridge overnight, then reheat it in a pan on the stove.
Erren’s Top Tips & Variations
- Make sure the shrimp are cooked through before serving. The best way to tell if shrimp are cooked is to look for them to turn pink and opaque.
- Be careful not to overcook the shrimp, or they will become rubbery. When shrimp are cooked, they form a perfect ‘C’ shape. When they start to curl in, they’re getting overcooked.
- I always recommend cooking pasta in well-salted water. This helps to flavor the pasta as it cooks.
- Be sure to reserve some of the cooking water before draining the pasta. This starchy water will help to thicken the sauce and make it creamy.
- Be careful not to overcook the pasta. It should be just under al dente, as it will finish cooking in the sauce.
- Add your favorite vegetables to this dish to make it even more nourishing. Peas, chopped tomatoes, and mushrooms would all be great additions.
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Let’s Make Easy Shrimp Pasta
- 1 lb pasta
- 1 tablespoon olive oil plus more if needed
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 1 pound shrimp raw, peeled, and deveined
- 4 garlic cloves minced
- 2 tablespoons red pesto
- 1 tablespoon sun-dried tomato paste
- ¼ teaspoon red chili pepper flakes
- 1 cup half-and-half or whipping cream
- ½ cup chicken stock or shrimp stock
- ¼ cup Parmesan cheese freshly grated
- 1 teaspoon white vinegar
- ½ cup reserved cooked pasta water
- salt and freshly ground black pepper
- fresh basil chopped (or fresh parsley)
- Start a pot of salted water to cook the pasta in a large pot. Cook pasta until just underdone. Reserve about a cup of cooked pasta water, drain the pasta and set aside.
- Meanwhile, melt the butter and olive oil in a large shallow pan over medium-high heat.
- Add the shrimp to the pan in a single layer and allow to cook undisturbed for 1 minute. Flip, and cook until the shrimp are just cooked through (about 1 minute).
- Remove the shrimp from the pan and add the garlic. Saute until fragrant (30 seconds to a minute).
- Add the red pesto, sun-dried tomato paste, and chili flakes, stir to combine, and saute to release the flavors (about a minute).
- Mix the in the cream, add the stock, the Parmesan cheese, vinegar, a pinch of salt, and freshly ground black pepper. Mix and bring to a simmer. If the sauce is too thick, add a small amount of reserved pasta water. Simmer for 3 to 5 minutes to bring the flavors together.
- Add the pasta to the sauce, and simmer gently to allow the pasta to finish cooking in the sauce. If the sauce is too thick, add a small amount of reserved pasta water. Stir in the cooked shrimp, and mix in the basil.
- Taste for seasoning and add more salt as needed before serving.
Erren’s Kitchen is written and produced for informational intentions only. We are not certified nutritionists, and the nutritional information found on this site has not been assessed or authorized by a nutritionist or the FDA. The nutritional information found in our recipes is offered as an estimate and should not be considered a guarantee or fact. The estimated data is provided as a courtesy and calculated through a third-party online nutritional calculator, spoonacular API. Although we do our best to provide accurate nutritional information, these figures should be considered rough estimates. Many factors, such as brands or products purchased and the nutritional fluctuations that naturally occur in fresh produce, can alter the effectiveness of the nutritional information in any recipe. Furthermore, various online calculators provide different results depending on their particular algorithms and nutrition fact sources. To obtain the most precise nutritional information in a provided recipe, you should calculate the nutritional information with the exact ingredients you are using when preparing the recipe using your preferred nutrition calculator.
This recipe was originally posted in January 2020 but was republished in 2023 with new photos and content.