This 5-Ingredient Garlicky Shrimp Pasta is spicy, light, and most importantly, SO delicious. It’s also super quick and easy, making it perfect to prepare any day of the week.
5-Ingredient Garlicky Shrimp Pasta
When copious amounts of garlic meet butter, sweet lobster-like shrimp, and silky egg noodles, life is GOOD. Really good.
And when that garlic, butter, shrimp, and pappardelle are also tossed with lots of starchy pasta water, a touch of salt, and plenty of crushed red pepper flakes, you’re left with a pasta dish that’s spicy, light, and downright delicious.
This is another one of those five-ingredient meals that has very few ingredients, but amazingly, packs in a ton of flavor. This is due in part, to butter and garlic being a literal bomb of flavor, and partly due to the way you cook the shrimp (we’ll talk about that later) which gives the sauce a sweet yet subtle shrimp flavor I adore.
- red pepper flakes
- egg pappardelle
While you could technically use any brand of ingredient you’d like, I believe the reason this was so darn good was because I used my FAVORITE artisan pasta brand, and a new-to-me variety of shrimp available at Trader Joe’s. I actually talked about the shrimp earlier this week, but if you missed it, Trader Joe’s has Argentinean red shrimp that’s absolutely to die for. The shrimp are pretty large, and the taste and texture is very similar to lobster, which I love. Obsessed.
The pasta, is a delicate egg pappardelle, and it basically tastes like fresh pasta when you cook it, but it comes dried. It’s a little on the pricey side, but to me, it’s worth the splurge. At my local distributor, it’s about eight dollars, but even with that high price tag, the whole meal is still under $25. Trader Joe’s also has something similar in their dried pasta section you can use as well if you want to keep your five-ingredient costs down a bit.
How to make 5-Ingredient Garlicky Shrimp Pasta
- Fill a medium-sized pot halfway full with water (see recipe for notes). Bring to a boil.
- Heat a large skillet and add tablespoons butter. Once butter melts, add garlic and cook for a few minutes until it smells delicious and looks a little bit soft.
- While the garlic cooks, season the shrimp on both sides with salt and pepper ( <– super important!). Add shrimp to the pot. At the same time, add the pasta to the boiling water. Cook shrimp until bright pink and curled up, about 3-4 minutes. Cook pasta until aldente.
- Once the shrimp are done, if the pasta isn’t cooked yet, remove from heat. (You don’t want them to overcook. When the pasta is done, add to the shrimp, return to the heat but reduce it to low. Add red pepper flakes and 1/2 cup of pasta water. Toss to combine, If needed, add more pasta water to create desired consistency (I added another 1/2 cup). Season pasta with salt and pepper.
How to cook shrimp
Ok, so I want to go over a few things about cooking shrimp. Typically, I like to get a nice sear on shrimp, so I wouldn’t normally add them all to a pan at the same time or use as much butter as I stated, because it can steam the shrimp. However, in this case, I really wanted the shrimp to give off some of their moisture and residual flavor to add another element of flavor to the sauce, so that’s what we did.
Substitutions and Tips and Tricks for Recipe Success
- Season as you go! It’s really important to season the shrimp well. Season the garlic and sauce, and then finally, season the final product.
- Salty, starchy pasta water is LIFE! Besides the butter and garlic (obviously), the starchy pasta water is what creates the sauce. Add as much or as little as you’d like to create your perfect sauce consistency.
- Typically shrimp are done cooking, when they curl up and turn VERY bright pink. Once this happens, it’s important to take them off the heat, so they don’t overcook.
- If you don’t like large pieces of garlic in each bite, mince it up instead of slicing.
- If you like things really hot, add more red pepper flakes, but remember, you can always add more, you can take any of it away.
Pretty things/Tools used in today’s post
- 5 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
- 8 garlic cloves, sliced
- 1 lb. large 20-30 ct. shrimp, peeled and deveined
- 1/4-1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
- 8.8 oz. egg pappardelle
- 1/2-1 cup starchy pasta water
- Fill a medium pot with water. Bring to a boil and season with salt. It should taste as salty as the sea. Because we're only using 1/2 lb of pasta, you do not need to fill a HUGE pot with water, you want the water to be starchy since we're using it in the sauce. I like for the water to only come up about 1/2-inch over the pasta.
- Heat a large skillet to a medium heat. Add 4 tablespoons butter. Once butter melts, add garlic. Saute for 2 minutes. Be careful not to burn.
- While the garlic cooks, season the shrimp on both sides with salt and pepper. Add shrimp to the pot. At the same time, add the pasta to the boiling water. Cook shrimp until bright pink and curled up, about 3-4 minutes. Cook pasta until aldente.
- Once the shrimp are done, if the pasta isn't cooked yet, remove from heat. (You don't want them to overcook. When the pasta is done, add to the shrimp, return to the heat but reduce it to low. Add red pepper flakes and 1/2 cup of pasta water. Toss to combine, and then add remaining 1 tablespoon of butter, toss again. If needed, add more pasta water to create desired consistency (I added another 1/2 cup). Season pasta with salt and pepper.
You want to use delicate egg noodle pappardelle, like this. If can also you a variation that's dried more, you will just have to cook it longer.