This recipe is from one of my favorite cookbooks — The Food Lab. I’ve adapted it a bit and so far it’s the best shrimp pasta recipe. I’ve ever tried. This recipe will require you to invest a fair amount of time in it, but will reward you with a very rich and balanced flavor.
What makes this recipe different from others?
First, of all we don’t throw away the shells of the shrimp, but we infuse them with olive oil. This makes the future sauce more flavorful and has a stronger shrimp flavor.
Second, we chop the garlic in three different ways. The author of the recipe (and the book) states that depending on the slicing, the garlic gives off different flavors when roasted. Finely sliced gives more spice, sliced in thin slices gives more sweetness, and flattened with a knife has almost no effect on the taste, giving off only flavor. Thus, using all three methods of slicing garlic, we maximize the garlic flavor of the dish.
Third, lemon and parsley. I don’t like parsley and very rarely add it to anything, but here it fits in perfectly. So does the lemon. Given that our sauce consists mostly of oil, the pasta itself is a heavy dish – you want to fill it with freshness and lightness. Lemon and parsley do a great job with this.
⏱ Cooking time — 50 minutes overall. Includes 45 minutes of preparation and cooking + 5 minutes unattended.
🍽 For 4 servings:
- 400 g (14,1 oz) shrimp (freshly frozen, headless)
- 6 garlic cloves
- 80 ml (5,4 tbsp) extra-virgin olive oil
- 30 g (1,1 oz) butter
- 3 sprigs of parsley
- 300 g (10,6 oz) dry pasta (short, like penne or fusilli)
- 1/2 lemon (zest and juice)
- salt, black pepper
🔪Step by step Directions
Thaw 400 g (14,1 oz) of shrimp (freshly frozen, headless), rinse them under cold water and blot with paper towels.
Peel the shells, transfer to a bowl and set aside, do not discard.
Remove the intestinal vein from the shrimp (ideally do it on both sides – on the back and belly, but if you are too lazy, one will be enough). To do this, make a long shallow incision along the back of the carcass, pick up the vein with the tip of the knife and pull it out. This is probably the longest and most annoying process in this recipe.
Transfer the cleaned shrimp to a separate bowl.
Take 2 cloves of garlic, crush with a knife and add to the bowl with the shrimp shells.
Peel 2 cloves, cut into thin slices and set aside, and the remaining 2 cloves also peel, grate on a fine grater and add to the peeled shrimp.
Pour 2 tbsp of extra-virgin olive oil into the bowl with the shrimp, mix well.
Separate the stems from the parsley sprigs, finely chop them with a knife and add to the shrimp. Finely chop the parsley greens and set them aside.
Fill a pot with cold water, salt with 2-3 large pinches of salt and put it on the fire.
Pour the remaining olive oil into a frying pan and place over medium-low heat. When the oil is hot, add shrimp shells with mashed garlic (right along with the skin), fry for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
! Make sure that the oil does not overheat and never start to smoke. Reduce the fire if necessary.
Strain the contents of the pan through a sieve. Set the oil aside and discard the shells and garlic.
At this point, the water should already be boiling, add 300 g (10,6 oz) of dry pasta (short, like penne or fusilli) and stir for about a minute. Time it, and cook the pasta for a minute and a half less than indicated on the package.
Pour the infused oil back into the skillet and heat over medium-low heat. Add 2 cloves of garlic cut into thin slices, fry for about 30 seconds, stirring frequently.
Place shrimp in skillet and cook another 40-50 seconds until golden brown, flip. Cook for about 30 seconds more, then add 30 g (1,1 oz) of butter to the pan and squeeze the juice of 1/2 lemon. Cook for a minute, stirring constantly. Turn off the heat.
Grate the zest of half a lemon, salt, pepper, stir and set aside.
When the pasta is ready, drain the water, saving about 100-120 ml (0,5-0,6 cups) in a separate container. Return the pasta to the pot and put it over medium heat.
Add the shrimp along with the sauce (oil), pour in half of the saved starchy pasta water and cook, stirring constantly, for about 2 minutes. If the pasta seems a little dry afterwards, you can add more starchy water and stir.
Turn off the heat, add the chopped parsley greens, stir again and serve immediately.
Shrimps and garlic Pasta
- 400 g shrimp (freshly frozen, headless)
- 6 garlic cloves
- 80 ml olive oil extra-virgin
- 30 g butter
- 3 sprigs of parsley
- 300 g dry pasta (short, like penne or fusilli)
- ½ lemon (zest and juice)
- black pepper
- Shrimp dry with paper towels and peel. Set the shells aside, don't throw them away.Remove the intestinal vein from the shrimp (ideally do this on both sides – the back and belly side, but if you are lazy, one is enough).
- Crush 2 cloves of garlic with a knife and add to the shrimp shells.Cut 2 cloves into thin slices and set aside, and grate the remaining 2 cloves on a fine grater and add to the shrimp.
- Add 2 tbsp of extra-virgin olive oil to the shrimp. Finely chop the parsley stalks and add to the same. Finely chop the parsley greens and set aside.
- Fill a saucepan with water, salt with 2-3 large pinches of salt and put on the fire.
- Heat the remaining olive oil in a frying pan over medium-low heat, add the shrimp shells and mashed garlic (right along with the skins), fry for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Make sure that the oil does not overheat and in no case begin to smoke. Sieve the oil, discard the shells and garlic.
- At this point the water should already be boiling, add the dry pasta to it and stir for about a minute. Time it, and cook the paste a minute to a minute and a half less than what is indicated on the package.Pour the infused oil back into the skillet and heat over medium-low heat. Add garlic cut into thin slices, fry for about 30 seconds, stirring frequently. Add the shrimp and cook for another 40-50 seconds, flip the shrimp over. Cook for 30 seconds and then add butter and squeeze the juice of half a lemon into the pan. Cook for a minute stirring constantly. Turn off the heat.Grate the zest of half a lemon, salt, pepper, stir and set aside.
- When ready, drain the pasta, saving about 100-120 ml in a separate container. Return the pasta to the pot.Place on medium heat. Add the shrimp along with the sauce, add half the water to the pasta and cook constantly stirring for about 2 minutes. If the pasta seems dry, you can add more water.Turn off the heat, add the parsley, stir again and serve immediately.