One Skillet Shrimp Pasta Alfredo

This shrimp alfredo pasta is a little decadent, but that’s really what you are looking for when you are in an alfredo mood.  It actually could be a whole lot more decadent, as some alfredo pastas are, but this one combines chicken broth with some heavy cream, so the sauce, while creamy, is on the lighter side.  Again, as alfredos go.

Shrimp Alfredo

What is in Shrimp Alfredo?

Alfredo sauces can be delicious and creamy, but sometimes they can feel a little one-note, rich without being exciting.  Not this one!  

Butter — any Alfredo sauce worth its salt has a bit of butter in it!

Shrimp — you’ll want two pounds of shrimp for this recipe, which is quite heavy on the shrimp.  Buy extra-large or jumbo (21/25 count).  You can buy them peeled and deveined, or do that yourself, which usually saves you a few bucks. Frozen and defrosted shrimp are a great option.

Scallions — a generous amount of green onions really livens up this lush sauce.  Use both the white and green parts, which will also add nice color to the dish.

Shrimp Alfredo

Garlic — not too much, but enough to give it all extra oomph.

Chicken broth — I prefer to use low-sodium broth, which prevents the sauce from getting too salty.  You can of course add more salt to taste on your own; it’s better when the cook has more control over the salt in any recipe!

Dried pasta — In this recipe I used penne rigate, which means that the pasta is ridged and so holds onto the sauce better.  

You can also use a longer thinner noodle, like linguine or fettucine, just know that they cooking time will probably be a few minutes shorter.  If you want to use a whole grain or gluten free pasta, check the package cooking directions against the timing in the recipe and make any necessary adjustments.

Shrimp Alfredo

Cream — you can used heavy cream (preferred) or light cream. Make sure to warm the cream in a microwave or in a small pot before adding it to the main pot so the pasta’s cooking time isn’t affected.

Freshly Grated Parmesan — if you’re not grating it yourself, buy the Parmesan from a place that grates it on site, and that has a high turnover in their cheese department.  Pass extra on the side so people can give their dish a final sprinkle. Fresh Parmesan really makes a difference in this dish!

Fresh Flat-Leaf Parsley — this add a fresh herby note, and some nice color.  

Red Pepper Flakes — I love the way crushed red pepper cuts through the richness of the sauce. I use red pepper flakes or some sort of spicy ingredient in almost all of my creamy dishes, and I think it keeps the flavor from getting too monotonous.  Pass a little bowl of pepper flakes on the side and let folks decide if they want to add more to their portion.

This shrimp and pasta alfredo hits all of the notes – satisfying, creamy but not too heavy, comforting, lush.

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How to Make Shrimp Alfredo Pasta

This is made in one skillet, but you will be creating the dish a couple of stages.  First you saute the shrimp in batches, so that you can get a bit of color on the outside of the shrimp.  After you find that step, do NOT clean that pan.  Those brown bits on the bottom of the pan are going to add flavor to the sauce. 

How to Sauté Shrimp on the Stove

Then you add the green onions and garlic to the pan and sauté over medium heat for just 1 minute, until you can smell the garlic. Turn the heat to high, add the chicken broth, and scrape the bottom of the pan to loosen up all of those delicious, caramelized bits. 

Then the pasta cooks right in the broth, and also with the cream towards the end.  Make sure to warm the cream before you add it, so it doesn’t slow down the pasta cooking process.  Then the shrimp get added back in, along with some Parmesan and lo and behold — fabulousness ensues.

Don’t forget that sprinkle of fresh parsley at the end to brighten things up, and a sprinkle of red pepper flakes if desired.

Shrimp Alfredo

What to Serve with Shrimp Alfredo:

Shrimp Alfredo

Other Shrimp and Pasta Recipes:

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Shrimp Alfredo

This shrimp and pasta alfredo hits all of the notes – satisfying, creamy but not too heavy, comforting, lush.
Yield: 6 People
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 pounds extra-large or jumbo shrimp (21/25), peeled and deveined
  • Kosher or coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper , to taste
  • 1 cup minced scallions , white and green parts
  • 2 teaspoons minced garlic
  • 4 cups chicken broth , preferably low-sodium
  • 1 pound dried penne or ziti rigate
  • 1 ½ cups heavy (whipping) cream or half-and-half , warmed
  • 1 cup freshly grated Parmesan , plus more for serving
  • ¼ cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes , plus more to serve

Directions

  • Melt the butter in a very large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the shrimp, in batches (you don’t want to crowd the pan), season with salt and pepper, and sauté until just pink but not cooked through, about 1 minute on each side. Remove the shrimp and set aside on a plate.
  • Do not clean the pan! Those brown bits on the bottom of the pan are going to add flavor to the sauce. Add the green onions and garlic to the pan and sauté over medium heat for just 1 minute, until you can smell the garlic. Turn the heat to high, add the chicken broth, and scrape the bottom of the pan to loosen up all of those delicious, caramelized bits. Bring to a simmer.
  • Add the pasta, stir well, and simmer, partially covered, until the pasta is almost cooked through, about 8 minutes (check package directions, and shave three minutes off the cooking time). Stir in the warm cream. Cover and simmer, stirring occasionally, until the pasta is almost tender, and most of the liquid has been absorbed, another two minutes. Stir in the partially cooked shrimp, 1 cup Parmesan, and ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes (or more to taste). Cook, stirring frequently, for 2 more minutes until the shrimp is cooked through, the pasta is tender, and everything is nicely blended. Taste and adjust the seasonings.
  • Transfer the mixture to a serving bowl and sprinkle with the parsley. Or serve it hot and sprinkled with parsley right from the pan. Pass extra Parmesan and red pepper flakes at the table.

Nutrition Information

Calories: 599kcal | Carbohydrates: 61g | Protein: 19g | Fat: 31g | Saturated Fat: 19g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 8g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 92mg | Sodium: 874mg | Potassium: 334mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 5g | Vitamin A: 1503IU | Vitamin C: 7mg | Calcium: 277mg | Iron: 2mg

The nutrition values are provided as an estimate. It is not intended as a substitute for the advice of a qualified healthcare professional.

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