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Spicy Shrimp Pasta in Garlic Tomato Cream Sauce

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Spicy Shrimp Pasta in Garlic Tomato Cream Sauce – this pasta has everything you crave for in an Italian pasta: easy creamy tomato sauce made from scratch, seafood, spices (garlic, paprika, basil, oregano, crushed red pepper) – all of that over the perfectly shaped penne pasta.

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Penne is perfect for this dish as it holds the sauce very well, and with every bite you will get not only pasta and shrimp but a generous scoop of sauce too! I’ve used gluten free pasta (Tinkyada brown rice penne) for this dish as well, and it was marvelous! Whichever pasta you use, make sure to cook it al dente, then rinse it with cold water, drain it, and only then add it to the sauce. This will preserve the pasta structure and prevent it from getting mushy in a creamy sauce.

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Start making this pasta by heating 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a skillet on medium-high heat and cooking shrimp on one side for about 1 minute, until shrimp turns pink on that side. While it cooks, GENEROUSLY sprinkle the top of shrimp with crushed red pepper, paprika and SALT to cover every single shrimp. Do not crowd the shrimp and don’t skimp on spices:

cooking shrimp, sprinkle the top of shrimp with crushed red pepper, paprika and salt to cover every single shrimp

Using spatula, turn the shrimp over to the other side and cook for 2 more minutes (on medium-high or medium heat):

Flip shrimp over on the other side, how to cook shrimp

Remove shrimp to a plate, being careful to leave all the oil in the skillet. To the same skillet, add chopped onion and minced garlic and cook on medium high heat in the olive that will have a nice reddish color from paprika and crushed red pepper. Cook for about 2 minutes until onions soften:

Cooking chopped onion and garlic

Add crushed tomatoes and chicken bullion cube dissolved in 1/4 cup boiling water. Add basil and oregano, mix everything, bring to boil, reduce to simmer. Simmer for about 10-15 minutes, mixing occasionally and crushing all tomatoes into very small bites, until the sauce reduces just a bit. Season with more red pepper and salt, if needed.

adding crushed tomatoes to the skillet

Add heavy cream, while on simmer, and mix it in on very low simmer:

Adding heavy cream to the skillet

Almost immediately after you added cream and mixed it in on low simmer, remove the skillet from heat:

How to make homemade Tomato cream sauce from scratch

Add back the shrimp and pasta. Mix everything well to combine. Add more salt and pepper if necessary. Add more spices (crushed red pepper, basil, oregano), if needed. Gently reheat.

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Spicy Shrimp Pasta in Garlic Tomato Cream Sauce

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 30 minutes

Total Time: 45 minutes

Yield: 4 servings

Spicy Shrimp Pasta in Garlic Tomato Cream Sauce

Ingredients

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  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 pound shrimp, without shells, and deveined
  • crushed red pepper
  • paprika
  • salt
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 cups canned crushed tomatoes
  • 1/4 cup water
  • half a cube chicken bullion, I used Knorr
  • 1 tablespoon basil
  • 1/4 teaspoon oregano
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 8 oz penne pasta (for gluten free version, use brown rice penne by Tinkyada)

Instructions

  1. Heat olive oil in a large skillet on medium-high heat. Add shrimp and cook on one side for about 1 minute, until shrimp turns pink on that side. While it cooks, sprinkle the top of shrimp with crushed red pepper, paprika and salt to cover every single shrimp. Make sure not to crowd the shrimp in the skillet, otherwise moisture will form and shrimp won't sear right. And, don't skimp on spices. Using spatula turn shrimp over to the other side and cook for about 2 more minutes.
  2. Remove shrimp to a plate, being careful to leave all the oil in the skillet.
  3. To the same skillet, add chopped onion and minced garlic and cook on medium high heat in the olive oil that will have a nice reddish color from paprika and crushed red pepper. Cook for about 2 minutes, occasionally stirring, until onions soften.
  4. Add crushed tomatoes and chicken bullion cube dissolved in 1/4 cup boiling water. Add basil and oregano, mix, bring to boil and reduce to simmer. Simmer for about 10-15 minutes, mixing occasionally and crushing all tomatoes into very small bites, until the sauce reduces just a bit. Season with more red pepper and salt, if needed. In the end, while on simmer, add heavy cream, mix it in, and immediately remove from heat.
  5. Add back the shrimp and pasta. Mix everything well to combine. Reheat on low simmer, if needed. Do not bring to boil or high heat as it might affect the sauce texture. Add more salt and pepper if necessary.
  6. When serving, I like to sprinkle the top of pasta with just a touch of crushed red pepper.
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{ 68 comments… add one }
  • Monique November 5, 2014, 8:42 am

    Looks delicious!

  • I make a somewhat similar dish, but without the cream. Gotta try it your way! This looks wonderful — thanks.

  • Monica November 5, 2014, 5:09 pm

    Looks so good!! I’m ready to dig right into the skillet.

  • Julia: What a comforting dish… I never get tired to eat pasta plus my youngest daughter is crazy for shrimp. I’ll be adding this tasty recipe to my list. Have a great week!

  • Matt November 5, 2014, 8:18 pm

    Oh man this looks good!

  • Liz November 5, 2014, 10:01 pm

    Oh, my. I love everything about this entree…the pasta, spicy shrimp, creamy tomato sauce! It sounds divine!

  • Juliana November 5, 2014, 10:52 pm

    What a tasty and beautiful pasta Julia, I love the idea of spicy, shrimps and garlic…yum!
    Thanks for the inspiration…enjoy the rest of your week 🙂

  • holly ; the hobbit kitchen November 6, 2014, 2:13 pm

    Honestly, swear to God, as soon as I clicked on your page I opened my mouth in awe because this looks soooooo goooooood! I could live exclusively off seafood, and with the addition of pasta and creamy sauce I’d be one very happy girl indeed. Lovely recipe!
    the hobbit kitchen x

    • Julia November 11, 2014, 3:18 pm

      I love seafood in a creamy sauce – so delicious! What a cute name you have for a blog, by the way!

  • cheri November 6, 2014, 8:51 pm

    Hi Julia, love this dish, shrimp and garlic is a match made in heaven.

  • Elaine November 7, 2014, 9:54 am

    Julia, this looks so yummy and warm in the cooling autumn. And it is such a perfect nutritional dinner.

  • Lail | With A Spin November 7, 2014, 11:25 am

    The pasta, spicy shrimp, creamy tomato sauce – love everything about this dish. Delish.

  • Chris @ The Café Sucré Farine November 7, 2014, 4:15 pm

    Reading through your post has suddenly made me so hungry. It looks amazing. I think Italian flavors are always winners.

  • Deb|EastofEdenCooking November 12, 2014, 3:33 pm

    Shrimp is a favorite of mine. The Spicy Shrimp Pasta would make warming and satisfying dinner that my entire family would enjoy!

  • Jessica November 23, 2014, 7:43 pm

    I made this for dinner tonight and it was a HUGE hit with my hubby. Thank you!!

    • elisa July 25, 2015, 6:54 pm

      How long did the pasta cook, or does it have to be already cook.?

    • elisa July 25, 2015, 6:57 pm

      Does the pasta haves to be already cooked or how long did it take for the pasta to cook with this dish?

  • Jeanne December 8, 2014, 6:15 am

    I am going to try this recipe this week. What size are the cans of tomatoes, please?

  • Niki December 12, 2014, 6:05 am

    What can I substitute for a lighter option of the heavy cream?

  • Sara December 16, 2014, 1:05 am

    ….. Anyone who has ever cooked pasta (properly) will tell you that a cardinal rule is to never, EVER rinse pasta if making a hot dish!!!! Also… You used ziti, not penne. Sigh.

  • Sara L December 31, 2014, 8:19 pm

    Made this for New Year’s Eve dinner served over fresh fettucini — simply delicious!

  • Abigail Faulk January 2, 2015, 9:19 pm

    Julia,
    I just made this and my kids and husband said it was the best thing I had ever made for them. Thankyou for the wonderful recipe 🙂

  • Noelle January 5, 2015, 10:17 am

    Penne is by far my favorite pasta to use on any sauce because the sauce gets in the center and you get sauce and pasta in every bite(:

  • Kathy January 11, 2015, 7:17 pm

    I followed the recipe exactly and it was fantastic. I wouldn’t change a thing. the sauce was thick and “rustic” the seasoning just right. This is one I will make again.

  • Kendra January 21, 2015, 5:34 am

    Guessing you pre cook the pasta

  • Tiffany January 23, 2015, 5:14 am

    What size can? I see people saying they made but there no specifics on the can size.

  • Maria January 25, 2015, 9:48 pm

    Yes, pre cook the pasta. I learned that the hard way, but it still turned out!

  • Kalkidan Asrat January 30, 2015, 3:55 pm

    Do you think the recipe would still turn out great if I omit chicken bullion?

  • Janette February 4, 2015, 7:40 pm

    I made this and it turned out just right! So delicious! Thanks so much!

  • sylvie amésée February 8, 2015, 12:17 pm

    I had some pasta leftover and I baked them in oven, it was a bit dry, I should have cooked some more creamy sauce!

  • Judy February 17, 2015, 12:22 pm

    I don’t use the cube bullion, buy the “crystals” – how much would I use?

  • Ron February 27, 2015, 7:36 pm

    Made this tonight with wheat penne. It was awesome and I thank you for sharing this with us.

  • Kelly February 27, 2015, 9:18 pm

    Hi!
    This looks delicious. I can’t wait to try it! One question…does your recipe call for fresh basil and oregano or dried? Thanks so much!

  • JudyB March 28, 2015, 6:57 am

    This sounds delicious but the recipe itself it confusing. Unless you have the whole introduction, there’s absolutely no indication in the recipe itself as to whether you pre-cook the pasta. With all of the one-pot pasta recipes out there now, I thought this was one of them. It’s not. That note should be added to the recipe itself.

  • Jessica March 28, 2015, 9:43 am

    I loved this recipe! Spicy and flavorful.. Thank you for sharing! ^-^

  • Rini April 17, 2015, 11:43 am

    i just made it and it was delicious! I love spicy food so I added a lot red pepper and I didn’t mush the tomatoes up because I love the texture. Nonetheless it was a success!

  • Mike April 30, 2015, 6:00 pm

    Making it my second time as I type… Probably one of my favorite pasta dishes!! Great recipe!

  • Tracy May 24, 2015, 8:04 pm

    I made this for dinner tonight. It’s amazing! It was quick, easy and delicious! THANK YOU

  • Chablis May 27, 2015, 10:11 pm

    made this for dinner, followed the recipe exactly but I thought it was a bit salty/acidic. I cut it with a few tablespoons of sugar and it was amazing!

  • Renee June 3, 2015, 2:15 pm

    I made this dinner for my family a couple of weeks ago and they were in heaven! I used a little over 1/2 cup of chicken broth in place of the bouillon cube. I’m trying same recipe tonight but going to try cubed chicken breast instead of shrimp, YUMMMMMM

    • Bianca December 31, 2015, 2:09 pm

      Has anyone made this with a combination of meats, like chicken and shrimp or chicken/shrimp/sausage? Just curious as I’m thinking of trying this out tonight.

  • Brittany June 17, 2015, 10:05 pm

    I am a home cook and I like to try different dishes every now and then, and I came across this recipe on Pinterest and thought I would try it. I must say I am in LOVE….it’s everything I love..pasta, shrimp, spiciness..I definitely am going to try this again and maybe put my own twist on it.

  • Phil July 20, 2015, 7:45 pm

    Terrific! We put fresh lime on it to boost the flavor. It was great.

  • Jasmine July 26, 2015, 11:43 pm

    I tried this tonight! This was one of the best dishes I’ve made so far in my opinion! Thanks so much for the recipe. It is great as is! My husband really liked it also!

  • mavet August 12, 2015, 8:36 pm

    This was delicious!! Thank youdor the recipe. By any chance do you some of the nutrtion facts?

  • Buy Spices Online August 17, 2015, 8:38 am

    Best Recipe. I loved it. Thanks for sharing the wonderful recipe with us.

  • Alana September 1, 2015, 9:15 pm

    Made this and was very yummy however I added WAY too many red pepper flakes and it came out way too spicy so if you are sensitive to spicy foods go easy .

  • Daina September 14, 2015, 12:11 am

    This recipe is delicious!! You can make it spicy by adding more crushed red pepper or less if not found of spicy. I have made the same recipe with chicken instead and it always comes out great! Brought it to work and it was a hit! Now its a recipe I use all the time, Thank you!

  • Eileen September 21, 2015, 3:47 pm

    Hi Julia,
    I plan on making this dish tomorrow night. I noticed that the package of Knorr Chicken Bouillon my husband bought has “6 Extra Large Cubes.” I wasn’t sure if this is what you used in the recipe and cut it in half?
    Thank you

  • Eileen September 21, 2015, 7:03 pm

    Hi Julia,
    I plan on making this dish tomorrow night. My husband bought Knorr Extra Large Bouillon Cubes. What sized did you use in this recipe before you cut the cube in half? If this question is a duplicate I’m sorry. I submitted a question earlier and it did not show up. Thank you

  • Angie September 30, 2015, 7:26 am

    I don’t normally comment on recipes but I made this for dinner last night and it was delish! The entire family plus daughter’s boyfriend loved it! Thanks for sharing – I will definitely be making again!

  • chrissy October 10, 2015, 4:51 pm

    Trying this tonight! It looks delicious. Just one caveat – that’s ziti in your pictures, not penne like you said.

  • Maria October 11, 2015, 5:04 pm

    This is a really great quick company recipe!! I try to keep all the ingredients on hand. This with a salad and bread plus any dessert, and everyone is happy. My five children all love it as well, which is rare for any recipe!!!

  • Jennifer Green October 18, 2015, 8:01 pm

    I made this for dinner tonight and it was awesome! I didn’t have the chicken bullion cube so i just used chicken stock. Also, my kids don’t like onions so i pureed the sauce before i put the shrimp and pasta in. They loved it! Thanks for the recipe!!!

  • Kripa October 29, 2015, 1:26 pm

    I did this recipe once in late September and this was the best pasta dishes that I’ve ever done. I substituted the can of tomatoes to tomato sauce though.

    The dish was totally divine and I’m cooking it again tomorrow for dinner 🙂

  • Cathy December 25, 2015, 9:45 pm

    I made this tonight. It was delish!! Thank you for sharing!

  • Becky January 27, 2016, 8:00 pm

    I have made this, thank you so much… it was so good!!!! This will be made again! I took the left overs to my boss, she loved it, she now thinks I am the best cook in tge world, thank you for tge recipe.

  • Paige February 13, 2016, 6:24 pm

    Just made this for my work dinners and my hubby said it was one of his favourites!! It was soo good! I only used 1 can of tomatoes and double the spices. YUM!

  • Lin February 17, 2016, 10:33 pm

    This was delicious!! I skipped the water/bouillon and added some pasta water at the end because it was a little thick. Super easy and definitely a keeper. Well done.

  • Daniela March 2, 2016, 5:44 pm

    Awwwwmazing…great dish the sauce was awesome and easy to make

  • Jen March 26, 2016, 7:22 pm

    This recipe is great and can be done quickly and not so messy which is key if you have a 5 month old like me or need to cook some crowd pleaser fast. It provides a good base that you can add or subtract from. For instance, I’m not a huge spicy fan but I like a little flavor so I omitted the red pepper. I changed the penne to linguine and I had a bag of trader joes frozen shrimp on hand that was already cut and peeled. I add spinach frozen and mushrooms to it as well. I had garlic already minded in those jars.I omitted the chicken bullion because I didn’t want to cough up extra to buy it. But either way it came out great! And what matters most to me is that it is quick easy delicious and there are leftovers for the next day! Husband loved !

  • Nikki May 1, 2016, 1:43 pm

    Just FYI: it’s “bouillon” when you’re talking about the instant stock powder/cubes. “Bullion” refers to bulk gold or silver.

  • Harpreet May 25, 2016, 9:48 am

    WO! The Looks delicious!

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