This spicy garlic shrimp pasta perfectly combines delicious linguine, juicy seared shrimp, blistered cherry tomatoes, and a garlicky and spicy pasta sauce made with olive oil. It has quickly become one of my favorites and is a total must-make for all pasta lovers!
Spicy garlic shrimp pasta is one of those dishes that everyone loves! It has tons of flavor, delicious shrimp, and tasty linguine. I even made my brothers try it (they usually don’t touch anything with garlic in it) and they absolutely loved it.
The great thing is that you don’t need many ingredients to make this delicious garlic shrimp pasta. Plus, it is super simple to make and comes together in only 25 minutes which makes it great for a quick and super tasty weeknight dinner.
Garlic Shrimp Pasta Ingredients
To make this spicy garlic shrimp pasta, you’ll need the following ingredients:
- Shrimp: You can either use fresh or frozen jumbo shrimp for this recipe. The shrimp should be peeled and deveined with their tail either on or off. I like to use frozen jumbo shrimp with their tail off as they are often fresher than fresh shrimp and easier to eat with their tail off.
- Pasta: There are different types of pasta you could use for this dish but I’d highly recommend linguine. A long type of pasta that is a little bit wider but not super wide works best with this type of sauce as it clings to it nicely. But you can of course try out different shapes like tagliatelle or rigatoni. If you don’t care, just pick up a package of tasty Italian linguine.
- Cherry tomatoes: Cherry tomatoes are one of the few vegetables in this dish. They really enhance the flavor of the pasta, shrimp, and sauce. So be sure to use them.
- Aromatics: For aromatics, you’ll need shallots and garlic. I like to use shallots here as they have a beautiful yet mild aroma. If there is no chance to get shallots, you can use red onions as a substitute. But please make sure to not use white and yellow onions as they taste very differently.
- Spices: You’ll need paprika powder, cayenne pepper, and red pepper flakes. They are perfect for making the shrimp and sauce taste spicy and flavorful without taking away from the other ingredients’ flavors.
- Olive oil: Extra virgin olive oil is one of the key ingredients for the sauce! So pick the one you like to use for this garlic shrimp pasta.
- White wine: Another important ingredient is white wine. It’s perfect for adding some acidity and flavor to the sauce.
- Pasta water: Pasta water is another necessary ingredient for the sauce. It’s the water that the pasta was cooked in, so don’t drain it! Its starch content beautifully binds the sauce and makes it cling to the pasta. So definitely make sure that you use it.
- Parsley: Fresh parsley is the perfect herb for this dish! It goes really well with the other ingredients and should be easy to find in any grocery store.
- Lemon: You’ll need some fresh lemon juice to brighten up the flavor of this garlic shrimp pasta. It really brings everything together nicely, so don’t skip it.
- Parmesan: Whenever you make a pasta dish at home, serve it with some freshly grated parmesan cheese. It just makes everything taste better.
How to make spicy garlic shrimp pasta
Preparing this garlic shrimp pasta may look like a lot of work (there are quite a few steps in the recipe box) but it’s really simple! I just like to break things down in the recipe box so they are easy to read.
Here are the steps you need to follow to make this super flavorful shrimp linguine:
- Cook the pasta: First, cook the pasta according to the package instruction in salted water. Then save some of the pasta water, drain, and set aside.
- Sauté the shrimp: While the pasta cooks, preheat some olive oil in a large pan over medium heat. Marinate the shrimp with some olive oil, paprika powder, cayenne pepper, salt, and pepper. Then sauté the shrimp for 3-4 minutes until cooked through. Transfer them to a plate and set them aside.
- Sauté the other ingredients: Next, add more olive oil, cherry tomatoes, shallot, garlic, and red pepper flakes to the same pan. Season with salt and pepper. Then let the cherry tomatoes blister over medium heat while making sure that the garlic doesn’t burn.
- Add the sauce ingredients: Now add the white wine and pasta water. Let everything simmer for around 1 minute.
- Combine: Lastly, add the parsley and transfer the cooked shrimp and pasta to the pan. Toss and let everything heat up. Add more pasta water if the sauce doesn’t cling to the pasta.
- Finish and serve: Finish off with lemon juice. Then serve with freshly grated parmesan cheese. Enjoy!
Tips & Notes
Here are a few quick notes that I recommend reading through to make sure that this garlic shrimp pasta recipe turns out perfectly for you!
- Cook the pasta until al dente. As the linguine will continue to cook in the pan, you want them to be al dente. Otherwise, they may be too soft at the end. Usually, reducing the cook time by 1 or 2 minutes works perfectly.
- Make sure that the garlic doesn’t burn. If you like to cook the shrimp on medium-high heat, please be sure to lower it before adding the garlic. Since the garlic is cooked in olive oil for some time, it can burn. So adjust the heat as needed and don’t let the garlic burn.
- Please stick to the recipe and be sure to use pasta water. There definitely are recipes that you don’t need to follow as closely and skipping some of the ingredients works, but this spicy garlic shrimp pasta recipe isn’t one of them. So please be sure to use the ingredients and follow the directions. And remember to not drain the pasta water completely. Otherwise, the sauce won’t work well with the linguine.
There are a few ways to modify this recipe without sacrificing any flavor. Here are some of my favorite variations:
- Make it less spicy: This recipe isn’t super hot, but it has a moderate level of spice. So if you don’t like spicy foods or only want a small punch of heat, use less red pepper flakes and cayenne pepper. They are the only spicy ingredients in this dish. But if the heat is no problem, I’d always encourage you to use these two ingredients as they do make this garlic shrimp pasta recipe better.
- Add more vegetables: I didn’t add a lot of vegetables as they aren’t necessarily needed to make this dish taste great. But if you want to add veggies and extra nutrients, you could add more vegetables that cook quickly. A favorite of mine is baby spinach. You could also prepare a quick side salad with a simple balsamic vinaigrette (you can use the one in this Balsamic Lentil Salad recipe).
- Add some butter: If you love butter, you can substitute some of the olive oil with butter. I really like the only olive oil version of this dish, but a little bit of buttery flavor is a delicious addition. Just be sure to not cook the butter over medium-high heat as it burns very easily. You’ll also want to use a combination of olive oil and butter so the butter doesn’t burn as easily.
- Skip the alcohol: I think adding some white wine makes the sauce taste a lot better, but if you can’t have alcohol replace it with seafood stock or vegetable broth. Also, a lot of the alcohol will burn off while cooking but it won’t be gone completely.
Frequently Asked Questions
Garlic shrimp pasta is made of long pasta like linguine, lots of garlic, shrimp, and a sauce made with olive oil, pasta water, white wine, and sometimes butter. Another classic ingredient is parsley.
This recipe is a super delicious version of classic garlic shrimp pasta that tastes amazing and has some extra spice.
I’d say it’s pleasantly spicy and anyone who likes a little bit of heat will like this recipe. If you want something spicier, add more red pepper flakes or cayenne pepper. And if you want a mild pasta dish, reduce the amount of red pepper flakes or cayenne pepper.
Yes, you can! I’d only recommend replacing the wine if you can’t have alcohol. In this case, use seafood stock or vegetable broth.
Store leftovers in an airtight container in your refrigerator for 2-3 days. You can reheat the garlic shrimp pasta on the stove or in a microwave. Add some water if the sauce seems too dry.
More simple and delicious pasta recipes
If you are looking for more pasta recipes that are simple and delicious, I recommend checking out the following recipes.
- Creamy Fettuccine Bolognese
- Pesto Gnocchi
- Penne alla Vodka with Chicken
- Baked Feta Pasta with Shrimp
- Cashew Cajun Shrimp Alfredo
Spicy Garlic Shrimp Pasta
- 1 pound shrimp peeled and deveined
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil for marinating
- 1 ½ teaspoon paprika powder
- ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
- salt and pepper to taste
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil for sautéing the shrimp
- 12 ounces (whole-wheat) linguine
- 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 2 cups cherry tomatoes cut in half
- 5 garlic cloves minced
- 1 shallot finely diced
- 2 teaspoons red pepper flakes
- salt and pepper to taste
- ¼ cup white wine
- ⅓ - ½ cup pasta water adjust as needed
- ¼ cup chopped parsley
- 1 small lemon juiced, to taste
- parmesan cheese grated, for garnish
- First, cook the pasta in salted water according to the package instructions. Then save some pasta water (more than the recipe states in case you need it), drain, and set aside.12 ounces (whole-wheat) linguine
- Preheat the olive oil in a large pan over medium heat.2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- Place the shrimp in a bowl. Add the olive oil and seasonings. Then toss until the shrimp are evenly covered.1 pound shrimp, 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil, 1 ½ teaspoon paprika powder, ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper, salt and pepper
- Now sauté the shrimp for 3-4 minutes until they are cooked through. Then transfer to a plate and set aside.
- Next, add more olive oil, cherry tomatoes, garlic, shallot, and red pepper flakes to the same pan. Season with salt and pepper. Occasionally stir everything and let the cherry tomatoes blister. Lower the heat when necessary so the garlic doesn't burn.2 cups cherry tomatoes, 5 garlic cloves, 1 shallot, 2 teaspoons red pepper flakes, salt and pepper, 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- Add the white wine and pasta water to the pan. Let everything simmer for around 1 minute.¼ cup white wine, ⅓ - ½ cup pasta water
- Add the parsley, cooked pasta, and shrimp. Toss until the pasta is evenly covered in sauce and the shrimp are heated up (about 2 minutes). Add more pasta water if the sauce doesn't cling to the pasta.¼ cup chopped parsley
- Shortly before serving, finish off with lemon juice. Season with more salt and pepper if needed.1 small lemon
- Garnish with freshly grated parmesan cheese and enjoy!parmesan cheese
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