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Get ready for this 20-minute Creamy Garlic Shrimp Pasta to start making a regular appearance on your dinner table because everybody is going to love it! Perfectly cooked shrimp with al dente pasta, roasted red peppers, and zucchini all come together in a creamy garlic sauce that is a cinch to make and completely satisfying for a weeknight meal.

Shrimp is one of our favorite proteins for weeknight dinners because it is so versatile, tasty, and quick. Some other favorite shrimp recipes that you might want to try are our Easy Honey Walnut Shrimp, Angel Hair Pasta with Shrimp, Tomatoes, and Basil, and Shrimp Etouffee.

A pan of pasta and shrimp with vegetables in a garlic cream sauce.

Creamy Garlic Shrimp Pasta

When Paul and I were young lawyers working at big firms before the kids came along, I would often stock our freezer with a couple bags of Bertolli’s frozen meals that I could just toss in the skillet when I got home late and didn’t want to go out or even think about what to cook for the two of us. I’m not much for processed or packaged foods, but I will say that I loved those dinners and how simple they were.

This creamy garlic shrimp pasta reminds me a lot of those saucy pasta concoctions, except it’s made from scratch and even more delicious. And honestly, I hardly takes much additional time! This easy pasta recipe isn’t quite a one-pot meal since I cook the pasta separately, but it’s pretty close.

A large pan filled with shrimp and vegetables in a garlic cream sauce next to parmesan cheese.

Also, it’s incredibly versatile and adaptable. Don’t like or have shrimp? Use chicken, salmon, or chunks of steak instead! Trying to avoid gluten or carbs? Leave out the pasta altogether or serve over roasted potatoes. There’s plenty packed into this meal with the veggies and meat so you won’t be left wanting.

Ingredients in Creamy Garlic Shrimp Pasta

Ingredients in bowls for making a creamy garlic shrimp pasta.
  • Pasta: We prefer bowtie (aka farfalle) pasta for this dish because it’s size and shape matches the shrimp and zucchini so well, but any medium-size pasta will work. Orecchiette is another personal favorite, but shells, rotini, and fusili would all work well, and you could even go with a long noodle like fettucine or linguine, really.
  • Shrimp: My favorite shrimp are the raw, tail-on, peeled & deveined shrimp from Costco. They make dinner effortless because all of the tedious work of peeling and deveining the shrimp are done for you. We always have a couple bags in the freezer for easy meals.
  • Vegetables: I use roasted red peppers (either from a jar or homemade), onion, and sliced zucchini most often when making this dish, but it also works well with sun-dried tomatoes, broccoli florets, asparagus that has been cut-up into 1-inch pieces, and even green beans, peas, and sun-dried tomatoes. It’s one of those “clean-out-your-fridge” type pasta dishes where you almost anything goes.
  • Garlic: 6 large cloves of garlic are minced and added for a wonderful garlicky flavor. It’s just right and not overpoweringly garlicky to us, but feel free to add more or less depending on your own personal preferences. I highly recommend chopping it fresh instead of buying the jars of pre-minced garlic at the stores, but either works.
  • Cream: The heavy cream makes for the most wonderful sauce you can imagine with combined with a little lemon juice, garlic, herbs, and spices.
  • Parmesan cheese: Freshly grated makes such a difference and melts right into the sauce giving it fantastic richness and depth. Do yourself a favor and always keep a block of Parmesan in the fridge to have on hand. Leftover rinds are great added to soups and they freeze really well too!
  • Salt and pepper
  • Butter
  • Lemon juice: The added acid helps cut the richness of the sauce just a bit and goes so well with the shrimp.
  • Flour: Just a little flour helps thicken the sauce just a bit.
  • Herbs & spices: Italian herbs like basil, rosemary, oregano, and thyme add flavor to the sauce. A little optional crushed red pepper adds a bit of interesting heat.

How to make creamy garlic shrimp pasta

A pan with shrimp and vegetables in a creamy sauce.
  1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil, then cook the pasta according to the package directions until it is al dente. Drain and set aside.
  2. While the pasta cooks, melt the butter over medium-high heat in a large saute pan, then add the onions. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the onions start to soften, about 4-5 minutes, then add the garlic and cook for another 30 seconds.
  3. Sprinkle the flour over the onions and season with the salt and pepper. Cook for another 30-60 seconds.
  4. Add the vegetables, cooking and stirring for a few minutes to soften slightly.
  5. Add the cream, lemon juice, herbs, and shrimp all at once and continue to cook, stirring frequently, for about 5 minutes until the shrimp has turned pink, then stir in the Parmesan cheese. You may need to reduce the heat to medium if the sauce starts scalding.
Images showing onions being sauteed in a pan, then vegetables being added, then shrimp and cream being added.
  1. Remove the sauce and shrimp from the heat and add the cooked pasta, tossing to coat well in the sauce. Serve immediately with extra Parmesan cheese for sprinkling over the top.
A pan full of shrimp and pasta with vegetables.

Substitutions and variations

  • If you have someone in your family that isn’t a fan of shrimp, you could use chicken breasts or steak that have been cut into bite-size pieces instead. Just season with salt and pepper, then saute them in the pan with a little oil BEFORE cooking the onions and vegetables until the chicken is almost completely cooked through. Transfer to a plate and set aside while you make the rest of the recipe as written, then add the cooked back in with the cream and it will finish cooking the rest of the way with the sauce.
  • I haven’t tested this recipe with coconut cream yet, but I’ve used it as a substitute for heavy cream in the past for a number of recipes and it always works great, so I’m fairly confident that it would work here as well. If you try it, let us know what you think in the comments below!
Bowtie pasta with shrimp and vegetables in a creamy sauce in a pan.

More easy weeknight dinner recipes

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A pan of pasta and shrimp with vegetables in a garlic cream sauce.
Yield: 4 servings

Creamy Garlic Shrimp Pasta

Get ready for this 20-minute Creamy Garlic Shrimp Pasta to start making a regular appearance on your dinner table because everybody is going to love it! Perfectly cooked shrimp with al dente pasta, roasted red peppers, and zucchini all come together in a creamy garlic sauce that is a cinch to make and completely satisfying for a weeknight meal.

Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1/2 box bowtie pasta, cooked according to package directions
  • 2 tablespoons salted butter
  • 1/2 onion, chopped
  • 6 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon all-purpose flour
  • Salt & pepper
  • 1 zucchini, sliced into half circles
  • 1/2 cup roasted red peppers
  • 1 pound shrimp
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • Juice from 1/2 lemon
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried marjoram
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried rosemary
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/8 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes (optional)
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Instructions

  1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Cook the pasta according to the package directions until al dente. Drain and set aside.
  2. Meanwhile, melt the butter over medium-high heat in a large saute pan. Add the onions and cook, stirring occasionally, until soft, about 4-5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for another 30 seconds.
  3. Sprinkle the flour over the onions and season with the salt and pepper. Cook for 1 minute, stirring frequently.
  4. Add the vegetables, cooking and stirring for a few minutes to soften slightly.
  5. Add the cream, lemon juice, herbs, and shrimp. Continue to cook, stirring frequently, for about 5 minutes until the shrimp has turned pink, then stir in the Parmesan cheese. You may need to reduce the heat to medium if the sauce starts scalding.
  6. Serve immediately with additional parmesan cheese for sprinkling over the top.

Nutrition Information:

Yield:

4

Serving Size:

1

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 530Total Fat: 34gSaturated Fat: 20gTrans Fat: 1gUnsaturated Fat: 11gCholesterol: 333mgSodium: 1475mgCarbohydrates: 24gFiber: 2gSugar: 12gProtein: 33g