Go Back
+ servings

Shrimp Pasta in Garlic Tomato Cream Sauce

This deceptively easy shrimp pasta recipe will have your whole family falling in love! It's quick and easy enough for every day but so divine it could headline any gourmet restaurant and is perfect for special occasions (Valentine’s Day, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, birthdays)! This shrimp pasta boasts juicy, succulent shrimp in a rich, bright, garlicky tomato cream sauce loaded with sweet bell peppers and zucchini.  Of course, this recipe is incredibly versatile, add whatever veggies you like or omit them altogether. Serve shrimp pasta alongside strawberry spinach salad and garlic bread or garlic breadsticks and you have the perfect meal.
Prep Time 12 minutes
Cook Time 18 minutes
Servings 6 servings



  • 1 pound medium shrimp, peeled deveined
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 1/4 tsp EACH salt, pepper


  • 1 lb. penne
  • 1/2 yellow onion, diced
  • 2 bell peppers (orange or yellow), chopped
  • 1 small zucchini sliced ¼-inch thick into half moons
  • 6-8 garlic cloves, minced
  • pinch -1/4 teaspoon red chili pepper flakes
  • 1 14 oz. can crushed tomatoes in puree (no salt/seasonings added)
  • 1 14.5 oz. can fire roasted diced tomatoes (not drained)
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 1/2 teaspoon sugar, more or less to taste
  • 1 teaspoon chicken bouillon
  • 1 tsp EACH dried oregano, dried parsley
  • 1/2 tsp EACH dried thyme, salt, pepper
  • 3/4 cup heavy cream
  • ½ cup fresh basil, roughly chopped (may substitute 1 tablespoon dried)


  • Cook pasta al dente according to package directions in salted water. Drain, toss with a drizzle of olive oil and set aside.
  • Meanwhile, melt 2 tablespoon butter in 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large heavy bottom pan over medium high heat. Add shrimp and season with ¼ teaspoon salt and ¼ teaspoon pepper. Cook for approximately 2-3 minutes per side, just until opaque, then remove from skillet. Chop off tails once cool enough to handle if desired.
  • To the now empty pan (don’t clean out oil), heat 1 additional tablespoon olive oil over medium-high heat. Add onions and sauté for 3 minutes. Add bell peppers and sauté for 2 additional minutes. Add zucchini, garlic and red pepper flakes and sauté for 1 additional minute.
  • Stir in crushed tomatoes, diced tomatoes, tomato paste, sugar, bouillon and all seasonings. Gently simmer for 8-10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  • Stir in the heavy cream and fresh basil and warm through. Stir in shrimp and pasta and warm through. Taste and season with additional salt, pepper, red pepper flakes and/or sugar to taste.
  • Garnish with freshly grated Parmesan Cheese and parsley if desired.


  • Pasta: you can pretty much use any medium pasta for this recipe.  I prefer pasta with spirals, grooves or ridges so the sauce has something to cling to and doesn’t slip right off.  Some good options are penne, rotini, radiatori, fusilli or cavatappi.  Long pasta such as spaghetti or fettuccini would also be tasty.
  • Crushed tomatoes:  I recommend the brands San Marzano and Muir Glen.  San Marzano tomatoes are usually sold “whole” so you will want to pour them into a bowl and crush them with your hands first.
  • Fire roasted diced tomatoes:  are tomatoes that have been roasted which gives them a complex sweet smokiness and are far less acidic than traditional tomatoes.  You can use plain diced tomatoes if you can’t locate fire roasted.
  • Chicken Bouillon infuses the sauce with intense flavor to make it taste like it’s been simmering all day.  You can use granulated bouillon, better than bouillon or bouillon cubes in equal amounts.  If using bouillon cubes, don’t dissolve them in water first, simply crush and add directly to the sauce.  
  • Vegetables: bell peppers are a favorite in this shrimp pasta recipe due to their sweetness and texture, but you can swap them for different veggies such as asparagus, carrots, mushrooms, broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, green beans, spinach etc.
  • Heavy cream: you may substitute with evaporated milk, half and half or milk but the sauce won’t be as luxurious.


  • To store: shrimp pasta should be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to three days.
  • To freeze: let the pasta cool to room temperature then transfer to a freezer safe container. Label and freeze for up to 3 months. Allow to thaw completely in the refrigerator overnight before reheating.
  • To reheat in the microwave:  Add a splash of water or milk to your individual serving; no need to stir it in, yet.  Microwave for one minute, stir, then continue to heat at 30 second intervals until warmed through.
  • To reheat on the stove:  For larger portions, reheat gently on the stove until warmed through.  Add a splash of water or milk to thin the sauce because it will have thickened in the refrigerator.