Shrimp Pasta with Lemon Cream Sauce
A simple shrimp pasta with tons of flavor! The lemon cream sauce adds such a nice, bold zing to this pasta. I finished it off with some parmesan and chopped basil to make it even more delicious!
The truth is, Anees and I have a big soft spot of pasta dinners. For obvious reasons we try to limit our pasta intake to a few times a month, but then shrimp pasta recipes like this one come around and throw us off of our game. I’m talking shrimp + linguine + lemon zest + cream + basil + parmesan. I’m pretty sure I just named most of my all time favorite foods right there. It’s impossible to NOT love this shrimp linguine.
The best part is that it comes together with a lemon cream sauce thats luxurious but also has a nice bright zing to it – just know it’s kind of impossible to pass this one up.
Since it’s on the heavier side, I served it up with a BIG arugula salad, which I kind of toss together on the plate and turn it into a shrimp pasta with fresh and crispy arugula. I think arugula and shrimp were meant to be together. The pepperiness pairs beautifully with the natural sweetness of shrimp. Um, are you still following? Did your eyes glaze over a little? Sometimes, I get lost in these flavors. I can almost taste them while I’m typing. ????
This recipe was inspired by my one skillet chicken with lemon cream sauce. Lately, i’m really enjoying making these kind of sauces without flour. I despise the horribly sticky consistency you get when the flour soaks up all of the liquid. It’s almost like glue and no matter how much water or milk you put in there, it feels like it’s stuck for good. A flourless sauce can easily be loosened with a little milk, water or cream, and it’s back to the way it was when you first made it.
Though this shrimp pasta can easily be made with leftover rotisserie chicken too, the shrimp really adds on a lot of flavor. I flavored the shrimp with a teeny tiny bit of minced garlic (because who doesn’t love garlic in this house) and a pinch of red pepper flakes. That’s it! A quick sauté in the same pan you’re going to make the sauce in. The brown bits left behind are going to be the base of our sauce. Oh! And be sure to reserve about 1 cup of cooking liquid when you boil the pasta. This will come in handy to help loosen the pasta/sauce later.
The sauce! What a cinch. It’s easy ingredients like butter, garlic, lemon zest, lemon juice, broth, and some half and half or heavy cream. The sauce truly makes the whole dish come together. You get a zing from the lemons and a smooth finish from the cream. It is a ‘sometimes’ food at my house because we don’t use half and half or heavy cream that often. I used half and half for this recipe because that’s what I had on hand but heavy cream will work too.
Sprinkle on as much or as little of the parmesan as you like on your shrimp pasta. More parmesan cheese is always a good thing, right? A big sprinkling of basil or parsley helps brighten things up and it adds so much flavor.
This lemon cream sauce loaded shrimp pasta makes for an easy weeknight dinner and if you have leftovers, it makes for a perfect lunch. Once you taste the creamy lemon sauce, you’ll know why it was a big hit around here!
- 10 ounces linguine
- 1 lb. medium/large shrimp, peeled/deveined (tail can be left on or off)
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 3 teaspoons minced garlic, divided
- ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 1 tablespoon butter
- zest of 2 lemons (about 1 tablespoon)
- ⅓ cup lemon juice
- 1 cup chicken or vegetable broth
- ½ cup half and half (or heavy cream)
- Parmesan cheese, for sprinkling
- ¼ cup chopped basil or parsley, for garnish
- In a large pot of boiling salted water, cook the pasta according to package directions. Reserve 1 cup pasta water; drain pasta and return to pot.
- In a large skillet, heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil over medium heat. Add 1 teaspoon of the garlic along with the red pepper flakes and the shrimp and cook till the shrimp turn opaque, about 3 -5 minutes. Cooking time will vary based on the size of shrimp and the pan. Remove shrimp to a plate.
- Add broth, remaining 2 teaspoons of garlic, along with the lemon juice into the skillet. Using a whisk, deglaze the pan until any brown bits are removed from the bottom. Let the sauce cook on a gentle simmer for 5 minutes on medium heat. Add in the butter, stirring until it melts. Then, add the lemon zest and the half and half. Let the sauce come to a gentle simmer, then add the pasta and shrimp into the skillet. Toss to combine and coat. Taste for seasonings, adjust salt and pepper as desired. Add pasta water if needed to help thin sauce to coat pasta. Sprinkle with parmesan cheese and chopped basil. Serve immediately.