Monday, March 12, 2012

Simple shrimp pasta

I've been asked by a handful of people if I would teach them to cook. It's always an adventure teaching someone something, especially if you aren't used to being a teacher.

This is the recipe I wish I had thought of during those times. There must be thousands of recipes for shrimp pasta littering the internet, but with good reason. It's simple but covers several techniques that are useful for many dishes. As a meal, this can also come together in well under 30 minutes.

I should say that a few times I tried to teach people to cook, it didn't end very well, so I'm not going to try to explain all the techniques, but rather offer this recipe as a good one to try if you're learning to cook. There are much better resources on the internet for how to do the techniques required (which I'll emphasize in bold below), that I recommend searching for the ones that make sense to you, or referencing a really great, well-worn traditional cookbook for tips.

To make a complete meal, I like to serve this with a green salad or grilled asparagus and mushrooms on the side, but you could certainly toss vegetables in with the pasta. Peas (with or without asparagus) would be nice as well, or diced tomatoes.

Simple Shrimp Pasta
Serves 4-6

1 lb large shrimp
1 lb pasta
2-3 cloves of garlic, to taste
1 tsp red pepper flake
1 Tbsp olive oil
1/2 cup white wine
juice of 1/2 lemon
1 Tbsp butter
1/4 cup chopped parsley

Peel and devein the shrimp if you didn't buy it already peeled and deveined. Rinse.

Bring a pot of water to rolling boil (cover for it to boil faster), and add a generous amount of salt (about 2 Tbsp, but you can eyeball it). Cook pasta according to the box. Drain and reserve cooking water for sauce.

Meanwhile,* crush garlic cloves for easy peeling, then chop into small pieces.

Heat olive oil over medium heat, and add chopped garlic and red pepper flakes. Saute for about a minute (careful that the garlic doesn't burn!), then add shrimp.

When shrimp just starts to turn pink, reduce heat to low and add lemon juice,  white wine, and 1/2 cup of the pasta cooking water. Continue cooking, stirring occasionally until sauce has slightly reduced and thickened, and shrimp has cooked through. Swirl in butter to finish sauce.

Toss in drained pasta with the shrimp, and top with chopped parsley. Serve hot, with a few cracks of fresh black pepper.

*N.B. To save the most time, cook everything else while while the pasta cooks.

Pin It


  1. Sometimes I forget that I had to learn these techniques once upon a time. It's easy to forget that not everyone grows up knowing or learning what they are!

    1. Yes, it is easy to take this knowledge for granted. And thanks for your other comment--let me know if you try the recipe!

  2. Also this looks so tasty and easy. Just like I want all my food to be.