Want to treat your family to something a little more gourmet tonight, without having to spend hours in the kitchen? Friend, you've come to the right place. This Shrimp Spaghetti recipe is a quick-cooking yet beautiful combination of succulent shrimp, bright tomatoes, and fresh chopped basil, all drenched in to-die-for garlicky sauce and tossed with spaghetti noodles.
Around these parts, we are no stranger to the excellent duo that is shrimp and pasta. Shrimp Pesto Pasta and Cajun Shrimp Pasta are amongst our favorites, but this Shrimp Spaghetti recipe gives both of them a run for their money. And it literally only takes 30 minutes to make!
Veggies, pasta, and protein are all packed into one comforting (yet light) dinnertime triumph. A win-win for both quick weeknight dinners and impressive entertaining, this recipe really is the best of all worlds. Whip it up tonight and kick back as the happy reviews roll in!
HOW TO MAKE SHRIMP SPAGHETTI
- Cook the pasta; be sure to reserve a ½ cup of pasta water.
- Pat excess moisture away from the shrimp and season.
- Pan sear the shrimp
- Blister the tomatoes.
- Add basil and garlic.
- Add pasta water and stir to make the sauce.
- Add spaghetti and top with shrimp.
1. COOK THE PASTA (RESERVE PASTA WATER!)
The first thing you want to do to get started on your Shrimp Spaghetti is bring a large pot of water to a roaring boil and cook the pasta to al dente according to the package instructions. Be sure that you do not discard all the pasta water!
You will need a half cup of pasta water in order to make the pasta sauce. Before you strain the spaghetti, ladle a half cup of pasta water into a heat-proof bowl or measuring pitcher and set it aside.
2. PREP THE SHRIMP
While you are waiting on your water to reach a boil and for your spaghetti to cook through, you can go ahead and get started on your shrimp. For the shrimp, you will need 1 pound of jumbo shrimp (16/25 count), that have been peeled and deveined. Whether or not you want to remove the tail of the shrimp is completely up to you, though for a recipe like Shrimp Spaghetti I'd probably recommend it.
To prep your shrimp for pan-searing, you'll want to lay down a few paper towels on your countertop. Then lay the shrimp on top of the paper towels in a single row in a single layer, and top them off with another couple layers of paper towels. Gently press on the top layer of paper towels to quickly and easily absorb the excess moisture away from your shrimp.
Watery shrimp makes for a fairly pitiful pan sear, as they are more likely to steam in the pan rather than sear!
Transfer your shrimp to a small mixing bowl, drizzle with olive oil, and season with salt, pepper, garlic powder, and Italian seasoning. Grate the zest of half a lemon over the shrimp and then toss them until the seasoning and lemon zest is evenly distributed all over the shrimp.
3. PAN SEAR THE SHRIMP
To cook the shrimp, place a large pan over medium-high heat. If you are a novice chef, you will find a nonstick pan best for this recipe. Add in about 2 tablespoons of olive oil and allow the oil to come to temperature.
Then, add the shrimp to the pan in a single layer, taking care to leave a bit of space in between shrimp. If this means cooking the shrimp in two batches, go with it. It is better to cook the shrimp in batches than to overcrowd the pan. This is Shrimp Spaghetti, after all, we want to get the shrimp part right!
Cook the shrimp for about two minutes on each side. You'll know the shrimp is ready when it is completely opaque and semi-firm to the touch.
Once the shrimp is cooked through, transfer it to a plate and add two more tablespoons of oil to the pan.
4. BLISTER THE TOMATOES
Allow the oil to come to temperature, and then add in the grape or cherry tomatoes.
Let the tomatoes sit in the pan without stirring or shaking for at least three minutes. Once the three minutes are up, you can either shimmy the pan or delicately stir occasionally for about two minutes more.
5. ADD BASIL AND GARLIC
Next, you'll add the chopped garlic, basil, salt, and pepper, and gently stir the mixture every so often, for about 2 minutes more. You're Shrimp Spaghetti is about to start coming together!
6. ADD PASTA WATER AND STIR TO MAKE SAUCE
Once the garlic is softened and fragrant, add in a half cup of the reserved pasta water and use a wooden spatula to scrape up any bits from the bottom of the pan. This will create a delicious pasta sauce!
7. ADD SPAGHETTI AND TOP WITH SHRIMP
Turn off the heat, add in your cooked spaghetti noodles, and toss until the spaghetti is coated in the sauce.
Top with the shrimp, serve, and enjoy!
HOW TO SERVE SHRIMP SPAGHETTI
This Shrimp Spaghetti recipe has only a few simple ingredients, making it absolutely perfect for a quick weeknight meal. If you find yourself wanting to add a little something more, here are some yummy topper ideas for you:
- Chopped, fresh parsley
- Crushed red pepper flakes
- Grated Parmesan
- Squeeze of fresh lemon juice
For a well-rounded meal, serve this pasta alongside toasty homemade garlic bread and fresh house salad!
A WORD ON SHRIMP SIZE
The success of your dish is a little more dependent on shrimp size than one might imagine, so it's, therefore, worth a mention.
The size of the shrimp is very important and greatly affects the cooking time. Larger shrimp will take more time to cook on the stovetop, and smaller shrimp will take less time. This is why the size of your shrimp is important.
You should know, that it is much better to go by the shrimp count rather than a name like "jumbo shrimp." The shrimp count "16/25" means that there are 16 to 25 shrimp per pound, and is a much more accurate way to determine the size of shrimp.
6 MORE SHRIMP RECIPES YOU’LL LOVE
- Stuffed Shrimp
- Garlic Butter Shrimp
- Blackened Shrimp
- Shrimp Sandwiches
- Tomato-Caper Shrimp Pasta
- Fettuccini Alfredo With Shrimp
Shrimp Spaghetti is incredibly delicious and only takes 30 minutes to make! It's perfect for family dinner or weekend entertaining.
- 8 ounces (about ½ package) spaghetti noodles
- 1 pound jumbo shrimp (16/25 count), peeled and deveined
- 2 cups cherry or grape tomatoes
- 5 tablespoons olive or avocado oil, separated
- 1 ½ teaspoon Kosher salt, separated
- ¾ teaspoon black pepper, separated
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- ½ teaspoon Italian seasoning
- Zest of half a lemon
- 2 cloves of garlic, chopped
- 2 tablespoons fresh, chopped basil
Bring a large pot of water to a roaring boil and cook pasta according to package directions, taking care to reserve a ½ cup of the pasta water before discarding. While waiting on the water to boil and the pasta to finish cooking, prepare the shrimp and tomatoes.
Note: Be sure reserve a ½ cup of the pasta water before straining the pasta.
Pat the excess moisture away from the shrimp using a paper towel. Add the shrimp to a medium-sized mixing bowl, drizzle with 1 tablespoon of oil, and add ½ teaspoon Kosher salt, ¼ teaspoon pepper, garlic powder, Italian seasoning, and lemon zest. Toss until evenly coated. Set aside.
Add 2 tablespoons of oil to a large sauté pan over medium-high heat and allow it to come to temperature. Then, add one single layer of shrimp, leaving a bit of space in between each one.
Cook for about 2 minutes, then flip and cook for about 2 minutes more on the other side. Repeat the cooking process with any remaining shrimp. The shrimp are ready when completely opaque and semi-firm to the touch.
Remove shrimp from the pan, set aside on a plate, and drizzle in the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil.
Pour in the tomatoes and allow to sit 3 minutes, untouched. Then, shimmy the pan or delicately stir every so often for about more 2 minutes.
Add the chopped garlic, basil, 1 teaspoon of salt, and ½ teaspoon of pepper. Stir and cook for about 1-2 minutes more.
Add in a half cup of the reserved pasta water, using a wooden spatula to scrape any bits from the bottom of the pan. Add the pasta and toss in the sauce.
Top your pasta with the shrimp, serve, and enjoy!