Shrimp pasta recipe with lemon garlic sauce served with zucchini and tomatoes. A simple, healthy meal prepared in only 30 minutes.
Shrimp pasta mixed in a lemon garlic sauce is always a dinner favorite at our house when we crave a lighter meal. Thie recipe is a fusion of pappardelle ribbon noodle pasta with succulent shrimp and delicious vegetables.
Unlike a hearty beef bolognese sauce, these noodles are tossed in a lemon garlic and pepper sauce. If you are in the mood for a quick pasta dinner with seafood and vegetables, this recipe will make your taste buds rejoice!
how to make shrimp pasta
When I’m on a time crunch or looking to switch up the repetitive chicken or fish dinner, shrimp is my go to seafood. It cooks within minutes and can be easily prepared by even novice cooks. Here are some essential tips:
- Size Selection: There are a variety of shrimp sizes available at the market. I find that the names can be confusing, so I look for the “count” per pound. For example, 16/20 count shrimp will yield about 16 to 20 pieces per pound. So the higher the count per pound, the smaller the size of the shrimp. I typically select 16/20 count for pasta because it gives about two bites per piece. Select, raw shrimp that has been peeled and deveined to make preparation quicker. Fresh or frozen can be used. I like frozen because I can keep a bag in the freezer any time I need a fast meal solution.
- Pasta Shape: The sauce is very light, noodles such as penne and angel hair will capture the sauce nicely. I chose flat ribbon shaped pappardelle pasta to get a maximum coating on the sauce and seasonings. I found lemon pepper pappardelle pasta at Trader Joe’s grocery store. The zesty lemon and spicy black pepper add a nice kick.
- Sauce: Matching pasta with a sauce is simple, and the combinations are endless. I decided to gently infuse extra virgin olive oil with minced garlic and red chili flakes. The goal is to transfer the flavors of the garlic into the oil without browning the garlic. The spicy capsaicin also diffuses into the oil so that there is a nice spicy flavor in the sauce.
- Vegetables: To make this sauce light and fresh, heat tomatoes until just cooked through and ready to burst. You’ll find when you toss the pasta before serving, the sauteed tomatoes will create a beautiful pink sauce from the sweet flesh. Thinly sliced zucchini is also added and cooks in just minutes.
Often we crank up the heat in our pans to get things going a little quicker from stove to belly. Just taking a little bit of time to let the ingredients marry together and not overcook the infused olive oil sauce will highlight the natural flavors of the dish.
For this shrimp pasta recipe, you’ll get nice subtle roasted flavors of fragrant garlic with each bite and a little spicy heat from the pepper flakes. Dinner doesn’t get any more irresistible than tossing together fresh jumbo shrimp, spring vegetables, zesty lemon in a little bit of olive oil, garlic, and spices.
Lemon, garlic, and pepper, who knew that these three ingredients would make such a flavor trifecta for this shrimp pasta. Let’s dig in!
Oh man, you should have seen how fast our family devoured these big bowls of shrimp pasta, we couldn’t stop eating it! We were so surprised how much the lemon brightened and lightened up the dish. The jumbo size prawns were perfect with the fresh squeezed lemon juice, garlic, zucchini, grape tomatoes and freshly chopped Italian parsley.
You could also garnish the dish with freshly grated Parmesan cheese, or add pepper for crunch. I would recommend a nice glass of crisp white wine to pair with your meal. Make sure to let me know when you try this recipe and what you think in the comments section below. Mangia Mangia!
How do I prevent overcooking Shrimp?
How do you avoid super rubbery shrimp that shrinks down to almost nothing in size? When shrimp is raw, the flesh is whitish gray color. As it cooks, the protein turns to an opaque whitish pink color. This takes about 2 to 3 minutes per side for this recipe. The shrimp should curl up into a loose “C” shape when properly cooked. If they have curled up into a tight “O” shape, then you may have risked over cooking. The shrimp is cooked towards the very end in this recipe to reduce overcooking and drying out of the seafood.