Briny Shrimp Pasta

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I threw together this pasta with what I had, as an attempt to make a creamy sauce sans heavy cream. It's more of an olive oil-cheese sauce than a pesto sauce, and it clings best to angel hair. The key is cooking the pasta with shrimp shells. Oh, and not to overcook anything, by having all the ingredients ready to go. The sweetness of the shrimp and red bell pepper complements the savory capers and sun-dried tomatoes.

Prep Time:
15 mins
Cook Time:
15 mins
Total Time:
30 mins
8 servings


  • ¾ pound medium shrimp, shelled and deveined, shells reserved

  • ½ tablespoon olive oil

  • 2 cloves garlic, minced

  • 1 large red bell pepper, thinly sliced

  • 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes

  • 4 tablespoons prepared basil pesto, or to taste

  • 3 tablespoons diced oil packed sun-dried tomatoes, drained, oil reserved

  • 3 tablespoons capers

  • 1 (16 ounce) package angel hair pasta

  • ½ cup freshly grated Pecorino Romano cheese

  • 3 tablespoons sour cream

  • 1 pinch freshly cracked black pepper to taste

  • 5 leaves fresh basil, chopped, or to taste


  1. Throw shrimp shells into a large pot of well salted water. Bring to a boil while preparing the sauce.

  2. Combine olive oil and garlic in a cold pan. Cook over medium heat until garlic is fragrant but not yet browned, about 1 minute. Add bell pepper and red pepper flakes. Fry, tossing constantly, for another minute. Stir in the pesto, sun-dried tomatoes, and capers. Cook and stir until capers start to burst, about 2 minutes. Reduce heat to low.

  3. Meanwhile, add angel hair pasta to the boiling water. Cook, stirring occasionally, until barely tender yet firm to the bite, 4 to 5 minutes.

  4. Stir shrimp into the sauce and add some pasta water; reduce to your liking, about 2 minutes.

  5. Drain pasta, reserving the water. Transfer pasta to the sauce; add cheese and sour cream. Stir until mixture starts to combine and pour in more pasta water as desired. Season with pepper. Remove from heat and stir in basil before serving.

Cook's Notes:

Using heavy cream instead of sour cream might be even better!

If you've got more veggies than I did, toss in arugula, spinach, and/or cherry tomatoes.

Nutrition Facts (per serving)

295 Calories
10g Fat
35g Carbs
17g Protein
Nutrition Facts
Servings Per Recipe 8
Calories 295
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 10g 13%
Saturated Fat 3g 16%
Cholesterol 77mg 26%
Sodium 445mg 19%
Total Carbohydrate 35g 13%
Dietary Fiber 3g 11%
Total Sugars 2g
Protein 17g
Vitamin C 31mg 155%
Calcium 160mg 12%
Iron 3mg 17%
Potassium 305mg 6%

* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

** Nutrient information is not available for all ingredients. Amount is based on available nutrient data.

(-) Information is not currently available for this nutrient. If you are following a medically restrictive diet, please consult your doctor or registered dietitian before preparing this recipe for personal consumption.

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