This recipe for Spaghetti with Garlic Shrimp has long been one of my favorite weeknight pasta dishes because its so simple and easy to throw together. The shrimp and lemon zest add a wonderful lightness that make it appealing for spring and summer meals (try grilling the shrimp), but the garlic butter sauce has enough richness to work year round.
As with so many pasta recipes, this one is endlessly customizable based on the type of seafood (or chicken) and fresh vegetables you have in the house. Baby spinach is a great choice year round, but in spring and summer I love to sub in fresh asparagus. In fact, I remember one of the first times I ever prepared this for Jon: One day, shortly after we were married, we took a stroll through the farmer’s market in our neighborhood and picked up a couple gorgeous bunches of asparagus. Later that night, he raved at the sight of the finished dish and immediately insisted on snapping a picture:
Life has changed greatly in the many years since this picture was taken, but that memory, and this dish, are still among my favorites.
Spaghetti with Garlic Shrimp, Tomatoes, Spinach and Lemon Zest
1 lb. spaghetti
3 Tbs. extra virgin olive oil
1 Tbs. butter
3 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed
2 teaspoons fresh lemon zest and the juice from one lemon
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
3/4 lb. uncooked fresh or frozen shrimp, thawed, peeled and deveined
8 oz fresh baby spinach
10 grape tomatoes, sliced in half
3-4 leaves fresh basil, chopped
1/2 cup fresh parmesean cheese, shredded
Fresh ground pepper and salt to taste
- Fill a large pot with water and season generously with salt, place over high heat to boil. Once the water is boiling, add spaghetti and cook according to package directions until slightly undercooked (for most brands, this will be approximately 9 minutes).
- While the spaghetti cooks, melt olive oil and butter over medium heat in a large sautéed pan. Add garlic and red pepper flakes and saute for 1 minute, until fragrant. Add the shrimp and sauté over medium heat, turning shrimp occasionally until shrimp are bright pink. Turn heat to low. Add lemon zest and juice from one lemon.
- Once spaghetti is cooked, ladle about 1/2 cup of the boiling water into your saute pan with the shrimp. Drain spaghetti and add into the saute pan with shrimp.
- Add spinach to the pan and toss pasta over low heat, gradually adding half of the parmesan cheese, until the water and cheese combine to create a sauce coating the spaghetti and the spinach is wilted. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Add the tomatoes and basil and top with remaining parmesan cheese.