I’d have to say that this week’s Cooking for Twosday is the best one yet: Lemon Basil Shrimp Pasta. It’s fresh, tangy, and still oh-so-creamy.
When I was younger, I hated all seafood. For some unknown reason, I began eating cooked shrimp in my early 20’s, and I haven’t been able to get enough. I love eating it hot, right off the stove, and smothered in something – usually butter. I’ve heard that our taste-buds change every 7 years. I guess it was that change that brought on my love of shrimp!
When you’re cooking shrimp, keep in mind that it cooks very fast. As soon as both sides are white, it’s done. If you cook longer than that, it’ll start to turn rubbery and too chewy.
I also always quote Bobby Flay in my head whenever I’m cooking shrimp. On ‘Worst Cooks in America,’ (p.s. I love that show) he says, ‘If you can’t eat it, it shouldn’t be on your plate.’ That’s why I always remove shrimp tails, except in shrimp cocktail. The last thing you want to do while eating dinner is put down your fork and try to pick off a shrimp tail with your hands!
This meal is so quick to make. Once the shrimp has been peeled and deveined, the rest of the chopping and prep can be done while cooking. The whole dish takes me about 15 minutes to make – perfect for weeknights.
So here it is – a lemon basil shrimp pasta that’ll quickly become a Twosday favorite. Enjoy!
- 1½ cups penne or other noodles, regular or gluten free
- 1 tbsp unsalted butter
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- ½ lb uncooked shrimp (about 20 medium), tails removed, peeled and deveined*
- Kosher salt
- freshly ground black pepper
- pinch of cayenne (ground red pepper)
- 2 garlic cloves, chopped
- 1 tbsp lemon juice, plus more to taste (from 1 lemon)
- ½ cup heavy cream, room temperature
- 2 tbsp chopped fresh basil
- 1 tsp lemon zest (from 1 lemon)
- freshly grated parmesan (optional)
- Add the penne to a pot of boiling water, along with a dash of salt, and cook until al dente.
- In the meantime, melt the butter and oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Place the shimp in a small bowl. Add some salt, pepper, and the pinch of cayenne. Toss together, then put in a single layer into the saucepan. Cook the shrimp about 2-3 minutes on each side until cooked through. Remove to a cutting board. (Optional: Cut each shrimp into 2 or 3 pieces, so you get a piece in every bite.)
- With same saucepan, reduce heat to low. Add garlic and saute for 30 seconds, then add lemon juice and heavy cream. Stir together until warm. Stir in lemon zest. Add salt, pepper, and more lemon juice to taste. Sprinkle in basil and stir for about 1 minute to soften. Stir in shrimp to warm.
- Drain the penne and add into the pan. Toss everything together, and add as much parmesan as you'd like, if desired. Scoop right out of the pan to bowls and serve.
Need a side dish? Have some Buttered Parmesan Crostini.
Use the rest of your lemons with Mango Avocado Salad.
Use the rest of your heavy cream with Creamy Alfredo Sauce, Herbed Potato Leek Soup, Chicken with Creamy Mushroom Sauce and Parmesan Linguini, or Chocolate Fudge Tartlets (They have cream, too!).