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Lemon Garlic Shrimp Pasta

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This lemon garlic shrimp pasta is fast and easy to make and packed with flavor. Imagine the zesty punch of lemon and the warm, inviting aroma of garlic coming together with tender shrimp, all nestled in a bed of comforting pasta.

It’s a beautiful symphony of flavors that promises to bring some flair to your dinner routine. This easy recipe is perfect for a speedy weeknight meal yet elegant enough for entertaining.

Two pasta bowls filled with garlic lemon shrimp pasta.

Lemon Garlic Shrimp Pasta with Wine

Wine, especially a dry white variety like Pinot Grigio or Sauvignon Blanc, adds a depth and complexity to the sauce that beautifully complements the brightness of the lemon and the richness of the garlic and shrimp. It imparts a subtle acidity and a hint of fruitiness, which balances the dish’s flavors and elevates it to a new level of deliciousness. For those who prefer not to cook with alcohol, no worries! You can easily substitute the wine with chicken broth, which still adds a wonderful savory note to the dish,

Here is Why This Shrimp Pasta Recipe Works

  • Effortless Elegance: The combination of lemon and garlic infuses the shrimp with a bright and robust flavor, creating a pasta dish that’s both simple and sophisticated.
  • Versatility: This lemony shrimp pasta recipe is highly adaptable – use your favorite type of pasta or adjust the heat with red pepper flakes to suit your taste.
  • Quick and Convenient: Ideal for busy evenings, this recipe comes together quickly, delivering gourmet flavors in a fraction of the time.
  • Balanced Flavors: The richness of the butter and Parmesan cheese is perfectly balanced with the acidity of the lemon and the white wine, creating a harmonious dish that’s sure to impress.

Related: Try our creamy shrimp pasta or pasta salad with shrimp!

A large skillet filled with lemon garlic pasta and shrimp.

Ingredients for this Pasta Recipe with Shrimp

  • Seafood: Shrimp
  • Produce: Garlic, Shallot or Onion, Lemons, Fresh Basil
  • Pantry: Linguine or pasta of your choice, Olive Oil, Dry White Wine or Vermouth, Chicken Broth
  • Pantry Seasonings: Salt, Red Pepper Flakes
  • Condiments: Butter, Freshly Grated Parmesan

Ingredient Substitutions

  • Pasta: Use any type of pasta. We used linguine but other types of pasta that work well are spaghetti, vermicelli, and bucatini. And feel free to use a short pasta like penne or rigatoni. 
  • Wine: Extra chicken broth can replace the wine for an alcohol-free version.
  • Parmesan: Pecorino cheese makes a great substitute for Parmesan cheese. 

How to Make this Lemon Garlic Pasta with Shrimp

  1. Marinate the Shrimp: Combine the shrimp with garlic, lemon juice, and salt. Refrigerate for 20 minutes.
  2. Cook Pasta: Boil the pasta until al dente, reserve some pasta water then drain and set aside.
  3. Sauté: Cook the shallot, lemon zest, and red pepper flakes in olive oil. Add the white wine and broth. Reduce the liquid and add the butter. 
  4. Combine: Add shrimp and pasta to the skillet, cook for a couple of minutes until the shrimp is done.
  5. Finish: Remove from heat, stir in Parmesan cheese and basil. Adjust the sauce consistency with reserved pasta water and feel free to finish it with a bit more butter. 
Six process photos showing how to make lemon garlic shrimp pasta.

Variations for this Garlic Lemon Pasta with Shrimp

  • Spicy Kick: Add extra red pepper flakes for more heat or add chili crisp oil
  • Creamy Twist: Incorporate a splash of cream (about 1/4 to 1/2 cup) for a richer, creamier sauce. Or you can add ricotta cheese or cream cheese to give it a creamy consistency. 
  • Vegetable Boost: Toss in spinach, cherry tomatoes, or arugula to give the shrimp pasta added nutrition and color.

Tips for Success

  • To ensure the pasta is well-seasoned, add plenty of salt to the boiling water. A good rule of thumb is to use 1 tablespoon of salt for every 4 cups of water. 
  • Cook the pasta to al dente. It will cook a bit more when you toss it in the lemon garlic sauce. 
  • Adjust the sauce to your liking with the reserved pasta water for the perfect thickness.
  • Be careful to zest only the lemon’s yellow skin, avoiding the bitter white pith.
  • Don’t overcook the shrimp. It only takes medium sized shrimp about 3 minutes to fully cook. If you have extra large shrimp, you will need to cook them for a few minutes longer. 
  • Marinating the shrimp in the garlic and lemon juice will really ramp up the flavor but don’t let the shrimp sit in the lemon juice for longer than 1 hour or the acid will cook them. 

Serving Suggestions

Complement this lemon garlic shrimp pasta with a crisp green salad, garlic bread, or green beans almondine. Here are a few more suggestions that pair well with this pasta recipe. 

Storing Leftovers

Store leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Reheat gently on the stovetop or microwave, adding a little water or broth if needed to loosen the sauce.

You can also freeze the lemon shrimp pasta for up to 3 months. Thaw it overnight in the fridge. Reheat it gently so the shrimp don’t overcook and get rubbery. 

A fork in a bowl of lemon shrimp pasta.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I make this pasta recipe ahead of time?

Yes, you can prepare the shrimp marinade up to an hour ahead of time and cook the pasta and sauce just before serving.

How can I make this pasta recipe gluten-free?

Simply use your favorite gluten-free pasta.

Can I use frozen shrimp?

Absolutely, just ensure they are thawed completely before marinating.

This Lemon Garlic Shrimp Pasta is fast, easy, and incredibly delicious. Its perfect blend of flavors, ease of preparation, and adaptability make it an ideal choice for any occasion. Give this recipe a try and watch it become a new favorite in your home. 

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A bowl of lemon garlic shrimp pasta with slices of lemon.

Lemon Garlic Shrimp Pasta

Yield: 8 servings
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes

Lemon garlic pasta with shrimp is absolutely full of flavor. Don't skip the quick marinade! If you cook the pasta and start the sauce while the shrimp soaks up all that garlic and lemon goodness, this recipe comes together in 30 minutes.

Ingredients

Marinate the Shimp

  • 1 pound large shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 6 cloves of garlic, finely minced
  • ¼ cup lemon juice (zest the lemons before juicing them)

Make the Pasta

  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 pound linguine or your choice of pasta
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 1 shallot, minced (or half a small onion)
  • zest from 2 lemons
  • ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • ¾ cup dry white wine or vermouth
  • ¼ cup chicken broth
  • 4 tablespoons butter, cubed
  • 1 cup freshly grated Parmesan
  • 2 handfuls fresh basil leaves, roughly chopped or torn

Instructions

  1. Toss the shrimp, garlic, lemon juice, and salt in a bowl and chill in the fridge for 20 minutes. 
  2. Add a generous amount of salt to a large pot of water and bring it to a boil. Cook the pasta following the package directions until it reaches an al dente texture. Before draining, make sure to reserve 1 cup of the pasta cooking water. Then, drain the pasta and set it aside for later.
  3. Heat ¼ cup olive oil in a large skillet over medium high heat. Add the shallot (or onion), lemon zest, and red pepper flakes. Cook until the shallot or onion is soft. 
  4. Add the wine or vermouth and chicken broth and bring to a simmer. Cook until the liquid has reduced by about half, then add the butter.
  5. Transfer the shrimp to the skillet, including the garlic and lemon juice from the marinade.
  6. Cook for about 60 seconds or until just barely cooked through. Add the cooked pasta to the skillet. Toss and continue cooking for 60 to 90 seconds or until the shrimp is finished cooking. The sauce will be watery at this point. 
  7. Remove the skillet from the heat and stir in the Parmesan. Toss until well coated and the sauce starts to thicken. Add the basil and toss once more. If you want the sauce thinner and ‘saucier’, add ¼ to ½ cup of the reserved pasta water.

Notes

  • When boiling the pasta, a good rule of thumb is to use 1 tablespoon of salt for every four quarts of water in order for the pasta to be properly seasoned. 
  • The consistency of the sauce can be adjusted by adding more or less of the reserved pasta water. Start with a small amount and add more as needed to achieve your desired sauce thickness.
  • If using wine, opt for a dry white variety like Pinot Grigio or Sauvignon Blanc. Vermouth is a great substitute for a slightly different but equally delicious flavor profile.
  • When zesting the lemons, avoid the white pith underneath the skin as it can add a bitter taste. 
Nutrition Information:
Yield: 8 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 389Total Fat: 18gSaturated Fat: 7gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 9gCholesterol: 146mgSodium: 979mgCarbohydrates: 31gFiber: 3gSugar: 2gProtein: 22g

Nutrition information is a guideline only. It is calculated automatically by third-party software, and absolute accuracy is not guaranteed.

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Pat Nyswonger

Pat is a wife, mom of four adult children, and grandmother to seventeen beautiful children. She is a self-taught home cook and loves creating delicious meals for her family and friends. Her kitchen is the hub of activity in her home, and she loves to entertain.

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Yum Girl

Wednesday 18th of February 2015

This dish looks delicious and will be perfect in our 30 minute meals!

Pat

Wednesday 18th of February 2015

Oh, this is delicious, and makes a quick meal anytime. :)

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