Creamy lemon garlic shrimp pasta is so easy but such a showstopper recipe. The sauce and pasta cooks at the same time for minimum effort. Just delicious!
Juicy, plump shrimp (or prawns as we call them in South Africa) in a creamy lemon garlic sauce is always a good idea. Now add all of that to a plate of al dente pasta and you have yourself a most delicious, easy dinner recipe that took next to no time to make but will impress the socks off your family/guests.
This is the kind of recipe I fall back on when I know I have guests coming around for dinner but I also know that time isn’t on my side. It’s always a showstopper and unless your guests don’t like shrimp (in which case I might suggest you need new friends… j/k), they will be licking their bowls clean because this creamy shrimp pasta is a great recipe.
How to make shrimp pasta
Get a large pot of salted water boiling while you start the sauce. Melt the butter in a large skillet/frying pan then add the shrimp in batches until golden brown and opaque. I used frozen, deveined shrimp for this recipe and just removed the shells before cooking but you could use shelled shrimp as well. Try to buy the very best shrimp you can afford because the difference is notable. You want sweet, juicy, plump shrimp or prawns that won’t be rubbery once cooked.
Add the pasta to the boiling water and cook until al dente. Once the shrimp are cooked, remove them from the pan and set aside. Add a little more butter (or olive oil) to the pan and fry the garlic for a few seconds before adding the cream, lemon juice and parsley. You can also add a half teaspoon of chilli or red pepper flakes for some heat. Simmer until the sauce has reduced and thickened slightly. Season to taste with salt and pepper and add the cooked shrimp back in. Mix with the cooked, drained pasta and a little of the pasta cooking water to emulsify the sauce. Serve with Parmesan and parsley.
What is the difference between prawns and shrimp?
Living in South Africa, we’ve always called this specific type of crustacean, “prawns” (as do many people around the world). Shrimp to us are teeny tiny prawns that are used most often in frozen seafood mixes. However, shrimp or jumbo shrimp as they are called in the US and what we call prawns are pretty much exactly the same thing. So when you see an American recipe using shrimp, they are using prawns (usually Tiger/Queen prawns). Similarly for American readers, if a recipe calls for prawns, simply use shrimp/jumbo shrimp.
Is shrimp healthy?
- Shrimp or prawns are an excellent source of protein and vitamin D, which is essential for calcium and magnesium absorption.
- They also have high levels of zinc which helps to increase leptin levels in your body. Leptin helps your body’s regulation of fat storage and use of energy.
- Shrimp contain Iodine which also helps with your body’s energy levels and how energy is used when your body is resting, it also plays a role in supporting your thyroid gland.
- They also contain many other minerals and vitamins essential for heart health, healthy hair and skin and bone health like phosphorous, vitamin A and omega-3 fatty acids.
Creamy lemon garlic shrimp pasta
- 500 g/1lb tagliatelle or pasta of your choice
For the Creamy lemon garlic shrimp pasta sauce
- 3 tbsp butter
- 500 g/1lb shrimp/prawns deveined and shelled
- 4 garlic cloves crushed
- 1 cup/250ml cream
- 2-3 tbsp fresh lemon juice
- handful fresh parsley finely chopped
- salt to taste
- pepper to taste
- Cook the pasta in a large pot of salted boiling water until al dente. Drain and reserve 1 cup of cooking water.
- In the meantime, melt 2 tablespoons of butter in a large skillet/frying pan and cook the prawns in batches until golden brown and opaque. Season the prawns to taste.
- Remove from the pan and set aside.
- Add the remaining butter and garlic and cook for a few seconds, until the garlic is fragrant then pour in the cream, lemon juice (start with 2 tablespoons and add more if you wish), parsley and season to taste.
- Allow to simmer over gentle heat until the sauce coats the back of a spoon. Add the shrimp back in and adjust seasoning.
- Add the pasta and a little of the cooking water and toss until the pasta is coated in the sauce.
- Serve with lemon wedges and chopped parsley.