Spicy Garlic Shrimp Pasta with Tomatoes & Asparagus is bursting with bold flavors. Homemade shrimp stock is the key to the sauce. The stock is simple to make, and will take the sauce to amazing new levels
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I refused to eat any seafood the entire first year I lived in Oklahoma. I had grown up in Maryland, and had easy access to fresh seafood. So I couldn’t in good conscience eat so- called fresh in a landlocked state. I finally gave in, starting with frozen seafood from Sam’s Club. A couple of years ago I discovered two markets in Tulsa that get daily deliveries of fresh seafood. But I don’t get to Tulsa that often, so I normally rely on frozen product.
I eat shrimp more than any other type of seafood. It cooks fast, and works well in many different dishes. When I make fried rice at home its almost always Shrimp Fried Rice. My first soup on the blog was Thai Shrimp Soup. And in the summer when basil is plentiful, I make Blackened Shrimp Pesto Pasta Salad.
I haven’t made a new shrimp recipe in a while, and I needed an excuse to use some pasta I got recently. So I created Spicy Garlic Shrimp Pasta with Tomatoes and Asparagus
This Spicy Garlic Shrimp Pasta is a hit! There are so many fabulous flavors happening. The sauce is light yet rich, and yes I scrape the bowl to make sure I get every drop. The dish is ready in under 30 minutes, it’s a complete meal in a bowl, and you control the spice level.
MAKE YOUR OWN SHRIMP STOCK FOR AN INCREDIBLY FLAVORFUL SAUCE
When you buy raw shrimp, whether frozen or fresh, they usually still have the shells and tails. Like most people, I threw them away. Then a couple times on the Food Network I saw chefs talk about the ease of making shrimp stock, and I also saw a recipe online touting the same thing. Combine just a few ingredients with water and the shrimp shells/tails, bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer. And in 10-15 minutes, you have amazingly flavorful stock that takes Spicy Garlic Shrimp Pasta to a whole new level.
SHRIMP, SHRIMP AND MORE SHRIMP!
- I use 31-35/lb shrimp for Spicy Garlic Shrimp Pasta, but you can use your favorite size. When you buy shrimp, look for the number, not the size name. Brands name the sizes differently, but the number sizes are the same across the board
- I make a very simple seasoning mix, and generously season the shrimp before adding them to the skillet.
- I use both butter and Avocado Oil to cook the shrimp. Butter helps to create the golden exterior, and a little goes a long way
- Don’t overcook the shrimp! They cook in 1-4 minutes per side, depending on size. Overcooked shrimp is rubbery, and not good
- When the shrimp is done, transfer them to a small bowl while you make the rest of the dish.
KEYS TO THE PERFECT SPICY GARLIC SHRIMP PASTA
- Garlic is your friend. You’ll use whole cloves to make the shrimp stock, and thin slices as a base for the sauce. When you add the sliced garlic to the skillet, keep an eye on it, because garlic will burn fast. And burnt garlic does not smell or taste good
- Less is more with the Red Pepper Flakes. You can always add more to the finished dish, but you can’t take it out if its too spicy
- A little dry white wine adds a wonderful depth of flavor to the sauce. Use wine you like to drink!
- Add the shrimp stock slowly, and in batches, so the sauce has time to reduce and intensify in flavor.
- Add asparagus to the sauce for about 8 minutes, so they remain tender-crisp. I add the tomatoes for the last 2 minutes, so they retain texture
- Add the cooked pasta to the skillet for 2 minutes, so it can soak up the beautiful sauce
ABOUT THE PASTA…
It’s no secret that I am a carb fiend. I love all things pasta, potatoes, and rice. And I’m normally hesitant with alternative products that claim to be “just like pasta”. But when I tasted a sample of Gogo Quinoa spaghetti at Costco a couple weeks ago, I immediately bought a box. It cooks and tastes like pasta, and is gluten free and vegan! I don’t follow either of those diets, but for those who do it’s a great product. And yes, I’ve already eaten half the box…
Another thing I really like about this Spicy Garlic Shrimp Pasta is its versatility.
- Yes, I use the quinoa pasta. But I’ve also made it with regular spaghetti, and it’s just as good.
- Substitute zucchini for the asparagus. If you do, add the zucchini with about 5 minutes left, so it doesn’t turn to mush
- Substitute green beans. The beans take about the same amount of time to cook as the asparagus
- Substitute baby spinach. If you rinse the baby spinach, make sure to dry it before adding it to the sauce; otherwise, it waters down the sauce. You only need to cook the spinach for about a minute to wilt it
SHOP THIS RECIPE
- 4 ounces quinoa pasta spaghetti (gluten free and vegan)
- 1/2 lb 31-35 shrimp
- 1 Tablespoon butter
- 4 teaspoons avocado oil or olive oil
- 2 large cloves garlic, thinly sliced
- 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes (more or less, to taste)
- 2 Tablespoons dry white wine
- 12 spears asparagus, ends removed, spears sliced into bite-sized pieces
- 12 cherry or grape tomatoes, quartered
- 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/2 teaspoon paprika
- 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
- 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1/2 teaspoon dried basil
- 1/4 teaspoon fresh-cracked black pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
- 2 cups water
- 1 teaspoon whole black peppercorns
- 1 bay leaf
- 2 cloves garlic
- fresh parsley
Remove shells and tails from shrimp. Place shrimp on plate and lightly pat dry. In a small bowl, combine garlic powder, onion powder, paprika, chili powder, oregano, basil, salt and pepper. Season both sides of shrimp generously with seasoning mixture.
In saucepan, add shrimp tails/shells, peppercorns, bay leaf, garlic, parsley and water. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer, and cook for 10 minutes. Remove from heat
In a large pot of salted, boiling water, cook quinoa pasta for 12 minutes. Drain, reserving 1/4 cup of pasta water
In a large skillet, melt butter over medium heat. Add 2 teaspoons avocado oil or olive oil. Add shrimp to skillet and cook about 2 minutes per side. NOTE: if you use a different size shrimp, your cooking time will change! Remove shrimp and set aside in small bowl
Add 2 teaspoons oil, plus red pepper flakes. Cook over medium/low heat for 1 minute. Add sliced garlic and cook for 2 minutes, stirring occasionally to make sure garlic does not burn
Add white wine and cook for 1 minute. Scrape the bits off the bottom of the pan. Add 1 cup shrimp stock and cook for 7 minutes, stirring occasionally, until stock reduces in half. Then add another 3/4 cup stock plus asparagus, and cook for 5 minutes. Add tomatoes and final 1/4 cup stock, and cook for 2-3 minutes.
Add pasta and reserved pasta water to skillet, and combine well. Carefully add shrimp, and don't mix too much or the seasoning will fall off the shrimp
If desired, add a little more red pepper flakes, and garnish with parsley