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A classic combination of seafood and pasta, Angel Hair Pasta with Shrimp, Tomatoes and Fresh Basil makes for a simple, but elegant dinner with incredible flavors! It’s an easy-fancy meal that is just as perfect to impress somebody special as it is to satisfy a hungry family on a weeknight when you need to get dinner on the table in under 30 minutes.
Around our house, we love, love, love to eat pasta! And shrimp. However, I have never put the two together before, even though I know it’s a totally classic pairing! So when I took the Golden Grain® Pasta Matchmaker quiz, I wasn’t at all surprised that the recipe inspiration that matched my quiz answers was a delicious sounding angel hair pasta dish with shrimp, tomatoes, and fresh basil. And man alive, did it deliver!
Everybody at our house devoured this dinner. The girls absolutely loved the angel hair pasta and I was sneaking every last shrimp from the pan because it tasted so wonderful in the fresh, robust but light sauce made from the fresh tomatoes and basil. I’m all about an incredible sauce over perfectly cooked pasta (remember this roasted red pepper sauce over fettucine?) and angel hair pairs perfectly with a lighter, brighter sauce like the one created here, by ever so slightly cooking down chopped plum tomatoes with a little olive oil, garlic and red pepper flakes for just a bit of kick, then adding in fresh basil for classic Italian flavors that still allow the pasta and shrimp to shine through. It’s amazing, I tell you.
Pasta is something we always have on hand in the pantry, in multiple varieties. It’s just so flexible and fits every season, and honestly, what kid doesn’t love eating pasta for dinner? It’s a no-fail option for me as an experienced home cook. But I’m always on the lookout for new inspiration when it comes to pasta dishes and the Pasta Matchmaker quiz was perfect for me, because it took away the pain of figuring out what to make for dinner. I just answered a couple of questions like what the weather was like, whether I felt like chicken, red meat, seafood or vegetarian that night, and who was eating dinner and got my result. Seriously, it’s a quick and easy quiz and super helpful for those nights when you just aren’t sure what to make for dinner. Which is awesome because honestly, those nights are the worst! I dread those days when I just cannot figure out what to make!
And confession time: I took the quiz a couple additional times changing up a few things like the weather just to see what some other options might be and they all looked wonderful. I’m totally taking the quiz again when I’m in need of dinner inspiration and can’t figure out what to make, because for almost every recipe I looked at I had the ingredients in my pantry, fridge or freezer already!
Golden Grain® is also hosting a Pasta Matchmaker Challenge where you can put your own spin on one of their classic recipes and submit it for a chance to win prizes! The contest has six different rounds, which means lots more chances to win!
- Challenge #1: January 1 – January 21
- Challenge #2: January 22 – February 4
- Challenge #3: February 5 – February 18
- Challenge #4: February 19 – March 4
- Challenge #5: March 5 – March 18
- Challenge #6: March 19 – April 1
The first challenge round is putting your own spin on macaroni & cheese and there are still a few days left to enter that one. I’m excited to see what is in store for challenge #2!
I was totally out of angel hair pasta, so I took my best shopping buddy to the Lucky’s supermarket just up the road from me right before Kindergarten pick-up, so we could grab our supplies like some fresh basil and a bag of Golden Grain® angel hair pasta. Rose is super in to helping these days and is actually pretty decent at pushing a shopping cart around the store. She’s also in to throwing one of everything into the cart, which is maybe not as helpful when I get to the register and find a whole bunch of random items that need to be re-shelved. Fortunately, all the clerks seem to love her (we’re there a lot) so it’s never a big deal and she always charms stickers and smiles out of them at the checkout line. She’s our social butterfly, that one.
You only need 8 ounces of pasta for this recipe but I always buy a big bag of it because pasta is one of those staples that I like to have on hand at all times for a quick dinner solution.
When it comes to actually prepping and cooking dinner, I love to have my girls help me in the kitchen. But some days we are all just feeling a little too done for that, so I will let the girls watch a show while I get dinner ready by myself. It’s kind of a ridiculous thing to measure time in terms of PBS Kids shows like Peg Plus Cat or Wild Kratts, but I can tell you from experience that this is a one episode recipe, which is a win in my book, since we try to keep screen time to a minimum around here.
To make your angel hair pasta with shrimp, tomatoes and fresh basil, the first thing to do is get your water boiling for your pasta. I always prep the rest of my ingredients while that is happening so I can start the sauce while the pasta is cooking.
When a recipe calls for chopped, fresh basil, I always do a chiffonade, which is where you stack your basil leaves, roll them up into a cigar, then slice into thin strips. It’s great for presentation because it makes such pretty, bright green ribbons of basil and it’s easy to do as long as you have a good, sharp knife. Basil bruises really easily and you can crush the edges if you knife isn’t sharp.
The plum (also known as Roma) tomatoes get deseeded (just slice them in half and run your finger inside the membrane to push out the seeds) and then roughly diced.
And other than mincing your garlic and boiling your pasta, that’s all the prep there is to this dish! I always just use the deveined frozen shrimp that I can get in the freezer section at the store because it is just so convenient and I can keep a bag or two of it in the freezer. Shrimp is a great solution for a weeknight dinner because it cooks so fast! In fact, the biggest thing with shrimp is to be careful not to overcook it or it will turn rubbery and tough. It really only needs a few minutes to turn from grey to pink and then it’s done!
I mean, isn’t this just a gorgeous plate of angel hair pasta with shrimp?! You can add a little freshly grated Parmesan cheese over the top if you like.
I totally recommend taking the Pasta Matchmaker quiz – it’s really fun and I’m positive you will find new pasta inspiration just like I did! And if you want to see other food bloggers who also took the Pasta Matchmaker challenge, you can find links to many of them at the Golden Grain® Pasta Matchmaker social hub.
- 8 ounces Golden Grain® angel hair pasta
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 7 cloves minced garlic
- 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
- 7 medium plum tomatoes, seeded and diced
- 1/2 cup dry white wine or chicken broth
- 1 pound medium shrimp, peeled and deveined
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh basil
- Salt & Pepper, to taste
Cook the pasta according to the package directions, just until al dente, then drain and set aside.
Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the minced garlic and red pepper flakes and cook for 1 minute, stirring constantly to prevent the garlic from burning.
Add the diced tomatoes, salt, pepper, and white wine or chicken broth (I just used the broth). Bring everything to a simmer, stirring occasionally.
Add the shrimp to the skillet and cook, stirring frequently, for 3 to 4 minutes or until the shrimp turns pink and are done. Be sure not to overcook the shrimp though or they will be tough and rubbery.
Add butter and basil, and stir until the butter melts. Toss the shrimp, tomato and basil mixture with the cooked pasta, and serve immediately.
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