SHRIMP PASTA WITH CREAMY MOZZARELLA SAUCE

Shrimp Pasta in a delicious creamy and cheesy Mozzarella sauce, made completely from scratch with sun-dried tomatoes, basil, and red pepper flakes. A great recipe for shrimp lovers!  Easy to make – perfect for weeknight dinner.

Creamy Mozzarella Shrimp Pasta

First of all, let me confess my love for shrimp. It’s one of my favorite types of seafood, and I cook it quite often with all kinds of flavors, such as this pesto shrimp with mushrooms or creamy shrimp tortellini.

So, you’ve come to the right place for shrimp recipes!  I’ve made all kinds of shrimp pasta through the years, and this recipe definitely stands out as one of my favorites! It was an immediate success in my house! This could become one of your favorite dinner recipes, too!

If you like the flavors of this recipe but want to make it with a different type of protein, try this sun-dried tomato chicken pasta or delicious scallop pasta.

HOW TO MAKE CREAMY SHRIMP PASTA

  • First, cook the shrimp in olive oil with lots of garlic – your kitchen will smell so good!
  • Then, make the cream sauce by sautéing sun-dried tomatoes and garlic, adding cream, basil, red pepper flakes, paprika.
  • Cook the pasta according to package instructions.  Drain.
  • Finally, combine everything together: shrimp, pasta, and the cream sauce! YUM!

SUBSTITUTE FOR HALF AND HALF

  • What is Half-and-half?  To keep it simple, Half-and-half is the US milk product that combines half whole milk and half heavy cream to form a lighter cream.
  • Substitute 1/2 cup of milk + 1/2 cup of heavy cream for 1 cup of half-and-half.

HOW TO STORE AND REHEAT SHRIMP PASTA

  • Store leftovers in an airtight container, refrigerated, for up to 4 days.
  • To reheat, add a small amount of milk or chicken broth (or water) to shrimp pasta and reheat gently over medium-low heat until the sauce just starts to bubble. At this point, turn heat to low, and continue reheating the pasta, without simmering.
  • Keep your eyes on keeping the heat medium or low. If reheated over high heat, the cream will separate.

CAN YOU FREEZE IT?

  • Creamy sauce does not retain its texture well when frozen. Therefore, I do not recommend freezing the creamy shrimp pasta.
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HOW TO MAKE IT GLUTEN FREE

  • Use gluten free brown rice penne or any other type of gluten free short pasta. You can use gluten free lentil penne or gluten free quinoa pasta.
  • Cook gluten free pasta according to package instructions. Then drain and rinse with cold water to prevent gluten free pasta from getting mushy and sticking together.
Creamy Mozzarella Shrimp Pasta

IngredientsPasta:

  • 8 oz penne pasta (for gluten free version, use gluten free brown rice pasta)

Shrimp:

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil (drained from sun-dried tomatoes jar or just use regular olive oil)
  • 1 pound shrimp (without shells, and deveined)
  • 3 garlic cloves minced
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

Creamy Sauce:

  • 4 oz sun-dried tomatoes (without oil)
  • 4 garlic cloves , minced
  • 1 cup half and half
  • 1 cup mozzarella cheese , shredded (never frozen)
  • 1 tablespoon dried basil (if using fresh basil you can add more)
  • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes , crushed, add more to taste
  • 1/8 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/2 cup reserved cooked pasta water (or more)
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

Instructions How to cook pasta

  1. Cook pasta according to package instructions. Reserve some cooked pasta water. Drain the pasta.

How to cook shrimp

  1. Note: if using sun-dried tomatoes in oil (in a jar), make sure to drain sun-dried tomatoes from oil, before using them. Reserve 2 tablespoons of this drained oil for sauteing the shrimp as described below:
  2. Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil (reserved from the sun-dried tomatoes jar – see note above, or use regular olive oil) in a large skillet on medium-high heat. 
  3. Add shrimp with minced garlic.  Cook the shrimp on one side for about 1 minute, until shrimp turns pink or golden brown on that side. While it cooks, sprinkle salt over the shrimp to cover every single shrimp.
  4. Make sure not to crowd the shrimp in the skillet, otherwise moisture will form and shrimp won’t sear right. 
  5. After 1 minute, Flip the shrimp over to the other side and cook for about 30 seconds or 1 minute more. 
  6. The shrimp should be golden color or pink on both sides and not overcooked.
  7. Remove the shrimp to a plate, being careful to leave all the oil in the skillet.

How to make creamy sauce

  1. To the same skillet, add sun-dried tomatoes (drained from oil and sliced into smaller chunks, if needed) and more minced garlic.
  2. Saute sun-dried tomatoes in olive oil (remaining from shrimp) on medium heat, stirring, for 1 minute until the garlic is fragrant. The skillet should be hot.
  3. Add half and half to the hot skillet with sun-dried tomatoes and bring to boil. 
  4. Add shredded cheese to the skillet, and quickly stir in while boiling. Immediately reduce to simmer.
  5. Continue cooking the sauce on low simmer heat, constantly stirring, until all the cheese melts and the creamy sauce forms. 
  6. If the sauce is too thick, add a small amount of half-and-half or reserved cooked pasta water. 
  7. Add basil, crushed red pepper flakes, paprika. Stir.
  8. Add 1/4 teaspoon of salt gradually, stirring on low heat and tasting (you might need slightly less than 1/4 teaspoon).

How to assemble shrimp pasta

  1. Add cooked pasta to the sauce, and reheat gently on medium heat. 
  2. Add the cooked shrimp, stir it in. 
  3. Taste, and season with more salt, if needed. 
  4. If the sauce is too thick, add a small amount of half-and-half or reserved cooked pasta water. 
  5. Let everything simmer on low heat for a couple of minutes for flavors to combine.
  6. Note: Make sure to salt the dish just enough to bring out of the flavors of basil and sun-dried tomatoes.

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