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Shrimp pasta with Mozzarella Sauce

Creamy Mozzarella Shrimp Pasta

Delicious shrimp pasta with mozzarella cheese alfredo sauce is made from scratch with sun-dried tomatoes, basil, red pepper flakes, paprika, and cream.  You'll have a perfectly cooked shrimp: soft and tender and never dry or rubbery!  
Course Main Course
Cuisine American, Italian
Keyword creamy shrimp pasta, shrimp pasta
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 1 hour
Servings 4 servings
Calories 632kcal
Author Julia



  • 8 oz penne pasta (for gluten free version, use gluten free brown rice pasta)


  • 2 tablespoons olive oil (drained from sun-dried tomatoes jar or just use regular olive oil)
  • 1 pound shrimp (without shells, and deveined)
  • 3 garlic cloves minced
  • ¼ teaspoon salt

Creamy Sauce:

  • 4 oz sun-dried tomatoes (without oil)
  • 4 garlic cloves minced
  • 1 cup half and half
  • 1 cup mozzarella cheese shredded (do not use fresh Mozzarella, use pre-shredded Mozzarella)
  • 1 tablespoon dried basil (if using fresh basil you can add more)
  • ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes crushed, add more to taste
  • teaspoon paprika
  • ½ cup reserved cooked pasta water (or more)
  • ¼ teaspoon salt


How to cook pasta

  • Cook pasta according to package instructions. Reserve some cooked pasta water. Drain the pasta.

How to cook shrimp

  • Note: if using sun-dried tomatoes in oil (in a jar), make sure to drain sun-dried tomatoes from oil, before using them. Reserve 2 tablespoons of this drained oil for sauteing the shrimp as described below:
  • Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil (reserved from the sun-dried tomatoes jar - see the note above, or use regular olive oil) in a large skillet on medium-high heat. 
  • Add shrimp with minced garlic.  Cook the shrimp on one side for about 1 minute, until shrimp turns pink or golden brown on that side. While it cooks, sprinkle salt over the shrimp 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. 
  • After 1 minute, flip the shrimp over to the other side and cook for about 30 seconds or 1 minute more. 
  • The shrimp should be golden color or pink on both sides and not overcooked.
  • Remove the shrimp to a plate, being careful to leave all the oil in the skillet.

How to make creamy Mozzarella sauce

  • To the same skillet, add sun-dried tomatoes (drained from oil and sliced into smaller chunks, if needed) and more minced garlic.
  • Saute sun-dried tomatoes in olive oil (remaining from shrimp) on medium heat, stirring, for 1 minute until the garlic is fragrant. The skillet should be hot.
  • Add half and half to the hot skillet with sun-dried tomatoes and bring to boil. 
  • Add shredded cheese to the skillet, and quickly stir in while boiling. Immediately reduce to simmer.
  • Continue cooking the sauce on low simmer heat, constantly stirring, until all the cheese melts and the creamy sauce forms. 
  • If the sauce is too thick, add a small amount of half-and-half or reserved cooked pasta water. 
  • Add basil, crushed red pepper flakes, paprika. Stir.
  • Add ¼ teaspoon of salt gradually, stirring on low heat and tasting (you might need slightly less than ¼ teaspoon).

How to assemble shrimp pasta

  • Add cooked pasta to the sauce, and reheat gently on medium heat. 
  • Add the cooked shrimp, stir it in. 
  • Taste, and season with more salt, if needed. 
  • If the sauce is too thick, add a small amount of half-and-half or reserved cooked pasta water. 
  • Let everything simmer on low heat for a couple of minutes for flavors to combine.
  • Note: Make sure to salt the dish just enough to bring out of the flavors of basil and sun-dried tomatoes.



  • What is half-and-half?  Substitute ½ cup of milk + ½ cup of heavy cream for 1 cup of half-and-half.
  • If using sun-dried tomatoes in olive oil (in a jar), make sure to drain sun-dried tomatoes from oil, before using them. Reserve 2 tablespoons of this drained olive oil.
  • Do not use fresh Mozzarella.  Fresh Mozzarella is usually sold as a large ball or small balls in a brine or water solution.    Do not shred fresh Mozzarella. 
  • Use Low-Moisture Part-Skim Mozzarella cheese.  It is usually sold as solid blocks or as pre-shredded cheese in bags.


Calories: 632kcal | Carbohydrates: 63g | Protein: 43g | Fat: 23g | Saturated Fat: 9g | Cholesterol: 330mg | Sodium: 1449mg | Potassium: 1335mg | Fiber: 5g | Sugar: 12g | Vitamin A: 720IU | Vitamin C: 18mg | Calcium: 444mg | Iron: 6.8mg