This 20 minute garlic butter shrimp pasta is a spin-off of my favorite sautéed lemon garlic butter shrimp. This is a very lightly dressed pasta recipe, being that it's just the lemon garlic butter (from the sautéed shrimp), mixed with fresh spinach and grated parmesan cheese. If you like light pasta dishes and garlic butter shrimp, this one is for you.
What I Love About This Recipe
I love that this entire dish comes together in 15 minutes flat. It makes for an easy weeknight meal when things get busy. Not to mention, it's the perfect ratio of sautéed garlic butter shrimp, fresh spinach, grated parmesan, and angel hair pasta. I like that the sauce is simple and not over-powering, which means I don't feel sluggish after eating it.
Pasta: I recommend using angel hair pasta for this garlic butter shrimp pasta recipe. The thin pasta cooks quickly and the thin pasta absorbs the light garlic butter sauce.
Pasta sauce: The light pasta sauce is a mixture of the lemon garlic butter (from the shrimp), fresh spinach, and grated parmesan cheese.
Shrimp: The main part of this recipe is basically making sautéed lemon garlic butter shrimp (see ingredients below).
See the recipe card at the end of the post for quantities.
How To Make Garlic Butter Shrimp Pasta
This garlic butter shrimp pasta is quick weeknight meal that can be prepared in as little as 20 minutes. The key to making this shrimp pasta dish quickly is
1. Boil the Pasta
Boil a large pot of water. Add the angel hair pasta. Cook the pasta while preparing the shrimp. Once the pasta has finished cooking (about 5 to 7 minutes), remove 1 cup of the pasta water (to use in the sauce). Drain the angel hair pasta using a strainer and set aside.
2. Prepare the Garlic Butter Shrimp
Peel, devein, and pat dry the shrimp.
Mash the garlic with some salt. Alternatively, use a garlic press or finely mince the garlic with a chefs knife.
In the nonstick skillet, add the olive oil and butter on high heat. Add the shrimp in a single layer. Season with salt and pepper. Once the shrimp start to turn pink (after about 1 to 2 minutes), move the shrimp aside to add the mashed garlic. Flip the shrimp over one by one so the other side of the shrimp can cook. Squeeze the lemon on the shrimp.
Cover the skillet with a lid for 2 to 3 minutes for the shrimp to cook through.
3. Make the Shrimp Pasta
Remove the shrimp from the skillet, keeping the garlic lemon butter in the pan. Add the fresh spinach and 1 cup of pasta water (the water the pasta was cooked in). Alternatively, use water or chicken broth.
Add the cooked angel hair pasta and freshly grated parmesan cheese.
Optional: Add a couple tablespoons of olive oil and the juice from another lemon.
Mix the pasta, shrimp, and freshly grated cheese together. Add some chopped fresh parsley. Serve hot.
Tips and Tricks
- Kerrygold butter: This butter is very flavorful, bringing out the garlic butter sauce.
- Use fresh garlic and freshly squeezed lemons. I'm a big fan of using fresh garlic and freshly squeezed lemon juice for the garlic butter sauce since it's the main part of this dish.
- High quality jumbo shrimp (or prawns): I don't recommend using small shrimp for this recipe because they have the habit of turning a little too rubbery if overcooked.
Variations and Substitutions
- Substitute prawns for shrimp: Prawns are actually different from shrimp, but they are similar taste. Prawns remind me of a mix between a lobster and shrimp.
- Add some chili flakes or freshly chopped pepper for spice: This dish is excellent with a little zing to it.
- Add a heavier sauce: If you like a heavy sauce on your pasta, it's perfectly fine to add a béchamel pasta sauce, fettuccine sauce, or cream sauce.
- Mortar and pestle for mashing the garlic (or a garlic press)
- Large nonstick skillet with a lid
- Large stovetop pot (for boiling the pasta)
- Strainer (for straining the pasta from the water)
This garlic butter shrimp pasta is good for about 2 days in the fridge. I don't recommend freezing it.
Make sure the shrimp is fully cooked through prior to serving. Shrimp is easy to tell if it's cooked through (by it's color). The shrimp should not be translucent and should be fully pink.