With tons of flavor from sun-dried tomatoes and fresh basil, this creamy pasta and shrimp dish is simply irresistible!
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Last year I got into gardening. It is so relaxing and fulfilling to see the literal fruits of my labor. This recipe is my go-to for using up all the fresh basil. It's the perfect end-of-summer meal!
This recipe pairs really well with my homemade cheesy garlic bread so be sure to check that recipe out as well.
Ingredients and Substitutions
- Pasta - Fettuccini, Penne, or Bowtie will work best. You can also use low-carb pasta or your favorite pasta substitute.
- Olive Oil or avocado oil
- Butter or butter substitute
- Jumbo Shrimp or, if you aren't a fan of shrimp you can use chicken, crab, lobster, or scallops. You can also leave the shrimp out completely to make this recipe vegetarian.
- Fresh garlic or swap with garlic powder
- Tomato paste and sundried tomatoes
- Heavy Whipping Cream or use milk, half and half, or dairy-free milk to lighten up the dish.
- Chili flakes will add just the smallest bit of spice, you can add more or less to taste.
- Chicken Base or Chicken Bouillon
- Parmesan Cheese
- Fresh Basil
See the recipe card for quantities and be sure to check out the 'variations' section for a few more ideas!
Instructions and Tips
This is definitely one of those recipes that tastes like it should be hard to make, but in actuality, it couldn't be easier.
Start out by cooking the pasta in a large pot of salted water according to the instructions on the package.
Tip: Reserve about 1 cup of the pasta water before draining. At the end of cooking this recipe, you can add some back in if your sauce over-thickens or needs to be a little creamier.
While the pasta is boiling, cook the shrimp in a large skillet with the oil, butter, garlic, salt, and pepper.
Remove the shrimp from the pan and set them aside, leaving the oil, butter, and garlic in the skillet. Add the tomato paste, and chopped sundried tomatoes. Stir them into the oil and cook for a few minutes.
Whisk in the heavy cream, chili flakes, and chicken base to the tomatoes in the skillet and cook for 3-5 minutes until it begins to simmer. Be sure to stir it almost constantly.
Once the sauce is simmering, stir in the parmesan cheese. Continue simmering to melt the cheese and allow the sauce to thicken slightly.
Remove the sauce from the heat and stir in the chopped basil.
Add the cooked pasta and shrimp to the sauce. Gently stir until the shrimp and pasta are fully coated in the sauce.
Serve the pasta topped with extra parmesan cheese and basil and enjoy!
Here are some of my favorite ways to change up this recipe:
- Pesto - When fresh basil is out of season, you can use pesto to get a similar flavor. Simply stir in a tablespoon or two of your favorite pesto along with the tomatoes.
- Low Carb - Without the pasta, this recipe only has 5 grams of carbohydrates so making it low-carb is as easy as swapping traditional pasta with your favorite low-carb alternative.
- Fresh tomatoes - Skip the sundried tomatoes and tomato paste and swap them with about 8-12 ounces of cherry tomatoes. After cooking the shrimp add the cherry tomatoes to the skillet. Cook for 5-10 minutes until the tomatoes begin to burst. You can help them along by gently mashing them with a fork. After that follow the rest of the recipe as written.
Unfortunately, this recipe does not freeze well. You can store leftovers in the fridge for about 5 days.
You can reheat them in the microwave in a skillet on medium heat. If the pasta dries out when reheating you can add a little of the reserved pasta water (if you saved it) or some milk and butter.
Yes! If you'd like to make this dish a little lighter you can easily swap the cream for milk, half and half, or a non-dairy milk alternative. If you find the dish isn't rich enough without the cream you can also stir in a spoonful of sour cream.
- Be sure not to overcook the shrimp. Remove them from the skillet when they turn pink and the tails are just beginning to curl in.
- Reserve a little of the pasta water in step one. Use a little bit of it at the end or when reheating leftovers to make the sauce super creamy or fix sauce that has dried out a little.
Creamy Tomato Basil Pasta with Shrimp
- Large Pot
- Large Skillet
- Measuring Cups and Spoons
- Cooking Utensils
- 1 pound Pasta Fettuccini, Penne, or Bowtie work best
- 2 tablespoon Olive Oil
- 1 tablespoon Butter
- 1 lb Jumbo Shrimp peeled and deveined
- Salt and Pepper to taste
- 3 teaspoon Minced Garlic
- 3 tablespoon Tomato Paste
- ⅓ cup Sundried Tomatoes chopped
- 2 cups Heavy Whipping Cream
- Pinch Chili Flakes optional
- 1 teaspoon Chicken Base or Chicken Bouillon
- ¾ cup Parmesan Cheese freshly grated
- ¼ cup Fresh Basil Leaves chopped
- Boil the pasta in a large pot of heavily salted water, according to the package instructions for al dente. When the pasta is done cooking, drain the water and set the cooked pasta aside. Tip: Reserve about 1 cup of the pasta water before draining. Add a little bit later on your pasta is too dry.1 pound Pasta
- While the pasta is cooking, heat the olive oil and butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Pat the shrimp dry with paper towels and season them with salt and pepper.2 tablespoon Olive Oil, 1 tablespoon Butter, 1 lb Jumbo Shrimp, Salt and Pepper
- Add the shrimp and garlic to the pan with the hot oil and butter. Cook the shrimp until it turns pink, about 3-5 minutes. Remove the shrimp from the skillet, leaving as much of the oil and garlic behind as you can. Set the shrimp aside.3 teaspoon Minced Garlic
- Add the tomato paste and chopped sundried tomatoes to the skillet, still over medium-high heat. Stir the tomatoes into the paste and oil, cooking for 2 minutes.3 tablespoon Tomato Paste, ⅓ cup Sundried Tomatoes
- Add the heavy whipping cream, chili flakes, and chicken base to the tomatoes in the skillet. Whisk to thoroughly combine and cook for 3-5 minutes until the cream begins to simmer (stir almost constantly)2 cups Heavy Whipping Cream, Pinch Chili Flakes, 1 teaspoon Chicken Base
- Once the cream is simmering, stir in the parmesan cheese. Cook until the cheese is melted and the sauce has thickened slightly.¾ cup Parmesan Cheese
- Remove from heat and stir in the chopped basil.¼ cup Fresh Basil Leaves
- Stir the cooked pasta and shrimp into the sauce until they are fully coated.
- Serve pasta topped with additional grated parmesan, and chopped basil if desired. Enjoy!
Be sure to read the entire post for tips, tricks, and help troubleshooting.
The nutrition information listed here is only an estimate and is simply provided as a courtesy. It nor any other information within this post should constitute medical or nutritional advice. Be sure to read all packaging and ingredient labels for potential allergens. Optional ingredients are not included unless otherwise specified.