if you're a huge fan of shrimp pasta dishes like I am, then this shrimp Alfredo is definitely a pasta recipe worthy of being added to the recipe box. It's a restaurant quality dish that's simple to prepare at home, at a fraction of the price of what you'd pay dining out.
Shrimp Alfredo, a Shrimp Pasta Lover's Fave
There are days when nothing sounds quite as delicious and comforting as a piping-hot bowl of pasta filled with succulent seared shrimp in a flavorful creamy sauce.
A craving such as this calls for a simple-yet-scrumptious shrimp Alfredo recipe, one where all of the delectable ingredients are cooked and then tossed together in one large pan and served family style to a table full of hungry folks ready to partake.
So my favorite way to make this delicious pasta dish is with a creamy garlic and parmesan sauce, herb-crusted shrimp, and a sprinkle of fragrant basil as a finishing flourish!
How to Make Shrimp Alfredo
I like to keep things as streamlined as possible when preparing any pasta recipe, and if I can toss things together in one pan, then that's even better!
The ingredients in this shrimp Alfredo pasta recipe call for some rich and tasty flavors, and pack a big creamy, garlicky, and cheesy punch.
While heavy cream is often called for in Alfredo sauce, I actually like to go a step lighter and use half and half in my sauce. It still offers lots of richness, yet doesn't make the sauce quite so heavy.
I also use butter, lots of garlic, a good dose of grated parmesan cheese, and a tiny squeeze of lemon at the end.
And of course, the star of the recipe is the shrimp. I choose to use peeled and deveined shrimp, as it takes the hassle out of cleaning, which saves time—always a welcome bonus!
The type of pasta one uses is really up to personal preference, as any kind will work here; but I like to go in the more classic direction with this recipe, and love a good fettuccine pasta as it stands up really well in a creamy sauce.
Here's a glance at my shrimp Alfredo recipe:
- To begin, I cook my fettuccine pasta according to package instructions, and keep it warm.
- Next, I season my shrimp with the variety of seasonings found in the recipe, and either allow it marinate for a few minutes, or sear it right away in a large pan until golden and cooked through (you can even use a braiser); I then set the shrimp aside and keep it warm.
- I clean out the pan I just used for the shrimp, and in that same pan I prepare my creamy Alfredo sauce; and once the sauce is ready, I add my cooked pasta directly into it, and toss to coat.
- Finally, I add in about half of my seared shrimp and toss it together with the pasta and sauce. If serving directly from the pan, I then top with the rest of the shrimp and finish with a sprinkle of basil. Or, I turn the pasta out into a large serving platter or bowl, top with shrimp, and sprinkle with basil, and serve!
(The full recipe is below...)
Tips & Tidbits for Shrimp Alfredo:
- Peeled and deveined shrimp for convenience: I typically will buy frozen peeled and deveined shrimp, and allow it to thaw. You can find thawed or fresh peeled and deveined shrimp at the seafood department of your market. And I use the large size shrimp.
- Your choice of pasta: While I'm sticking to classic fettuccine pasta for this recipe, other great picks are bow-tie (aka farfalle or butterfly) pasta, penne pasta, linguini, or even corkscrews!
- Half and half for a silky, creamy sauce: I love half and half when preparing my version of Alfredo sauce, but if you're looking to go even lighter, you can use whole milk, or even 2% milk. Because I use a sprinkle of flour in my sauce to give it some body, using heavy cream would make it too thick and heavy.
- A squeeze of lemon for brightness: I've found that if a cream sauce (or even a cream soup, for that matter) doesn't have at least a teeny tiny hint of lemon (or acid) added to it, it can become a bit bland on the palate after a few bites. You'll notice that my recipe calls for a little squeeze of lemon juice, and it makes a difference. (You won't really taste the lemon per se, but the small hint of “brightness” will come through, which is nice in a cream sauce.)
- Fresh finishing herbs: Basil leaves are my choice as a fresh finisher for this shrimp Alfredo, but you can also use chopped parsley, a small sprinkle of rosemary, or even thyme.
Feast your eyes on these, or just jump to the recipe:
by Ingrid Beer
Yield: Serves 6
Nutrition Info: 726 calories
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook time: 20 minutes
Total time: 40 minutes
• 12 ounces uncooked fettuccine
• 1 pound large shrimp, peeled and deveined
• Olive oil
• Black pepper
• 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
• 1 teaspoon dried parsley
• 1/2 teaspoon granulated garlic
• Pinch or two red pepper flakes, if using
• 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
• 6 cloves garlic, pressed through garlic press
• 5 (level) tablespoons all-purpose flour
• 4 cups half and half
• 1 cup grated parmesan cheese, plus extra for garnish if desired
• 1 teaspoon lemon juice
• Teeny pinch nutmeg
• Basil leaves, for garnish
-Cook the fettuccini according to package instructions, then drain and toss with a touch of olive oil, and keep warm.
-Season the shrimp by drizzling them with about 1 tablespoon of olive oil, a couple of pinches of salt and black pepper, the Italian seasoning, the dried parsley, the granulated garlic and the red pepper flakes, if using; toss to coat.
-Place a large heavy-bottom pan or even a medium Dutch oven set over medium-high heat, and drizzle in about 2 tablespoons of the oil; once the oil is hot, add in the shrimp (work in two batches if necessary) and allow it to sear and become golden brown on both sides, about 3-4 minutes total; remove from the pan and keep warm.
-To prepare the Alfredo sauce, wipe the pan clean of any extra little burned bits and place it over medium-low heat now, then add in the butter; once melted, add in the garlic and allow it to cook in the butter for about 30 seconds or so, until aromatic.
-Next, sprinkle in the flour, and stir to incorporate for about 30 seconds; then, slowly pour in the half and half, whisking all the while to avoid lumps and to incorporate the flour mixture, and allow it to come to a vigorous simmer (it will take about 10 minutes), whisking frequently, to thicken.
-Once the sauce has thickened, turn off the heat and whisk in the 1 cup of grated parmesan cheese, followed by the lemon juice, the teeny pinch of nutmeg, some salt (I used 1 teaspoon), plus a pinch of black pepper until well blended and creamy.
-Add the cooked pasta directly into the sauce and toss everything very well to coat; then, add in about half of the seared shrimp, and toss that to combine.
-If serving straight out of the pan, top the pasta with the rest of the seared shrimp, and sprinkle over some fresh basil leaves; or, turn the pasta mixture out onto a large serving platter or into a large bowl, and do the same.
-Serve while hot with extra grated parmesan cheese and red pepper flakes on the side, if desired.