Spicy Shrimp Pasta with Sun-Dried Tomatoes

Olive oil can make a great, light pasta sauce alternative to the heavy Alfredo or the all-to-common marinara sauce. Olive oil sauces are also much easier to make, requiring much less preparation and ingredients than the other two sauces.

Spicy Garlic Shrimp with Sundried Tomatoes

Spicy Garlic Shrimp with Sundried Tomatoes

The nice thing about an olive oil sauce is that it lets you play with more spices and herbs to bring those tastes to the front of the dish. You infuse the olive oil with any number of ingredients and drizzle it over the pasta. In this dish I used garlic, red pepper flakes and parsley as the primary flavors. I also soaked the sun-dried tomatoes in the oil to help reconstitute them and help the flavors mix.

The small brown things you see are fried garlic chips. I sliced some garlic into thin disks and essentially fried them in the olive oil. This yielded crispy garlic chips that not only infused the oil with the garlic flavor but also served as a great texture contrast in the dish and looked great as a garnish.

Spicy Garlic Shrimp with Sundried Tomatoes

Spicy Garlic Shrimp with Sundried Tomatoes

We’ve discussed picking out shrimp/shellfish before in Erica’s guest post about scallops. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. Shrimp should be bought frozen. Most shrimp boats freeze their catches directly on the boat and thawed shrimp begin losing their flavor in just a couple of days.

As far as what size to go with? I tend to like large shrimp (21 to 25 per pound) because you don’t have to prepare as many to get a full dish. But it’s up to you, these were smaller but on sale, so I went ahead and got these.

Spicy Garlic Shrimp with Sundried Tomatoes

Spicy Garlic Shrimp with Sundried Tomatoes

Though I don’t always do this, I have read that it’s best not to buy cleaned and peeled shrimp. A chemical called tripolyphosphate is sometimes used in commercially cleaned shrimp. This chemical aids in water retention and can give shrimp an off flavor. The extra moisture will be released during cooking, and the shrimp will steam rather than sauté. That said, I am sometimes lazy and if I’m the only one eating it, I have bought prepared shrimp before.

Spicy Shrimp Pasta with Sun-Dried Tomatoes


1 1/2 pounds large shrimp, peeled and deveined
Table salt and ground black pepper
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
7 cloves garlic ; 6 cloves sliced thin lengthwise, 1 clove minced
6 sundried tomatoes, cut into strips
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes (I like this dish spicy, if you don’t like very spicy food, use 1/4 tsp)
1/4 cup dry sherry
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley leaves
2 tablespoons unsalted butter , softened
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
Lemon wedges for serving


  1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Prepare the spaghetti as directed on the packet. (Dry pasta generally takes about 8 to 9 minutes for al dente.) When the pasta is al dente, drain and set aside (covered to retain heat). The pasta should be finished about the same time, or before, the shrimp finishes.
  2. After shrimp has been prepared, pat them dry with some paper towel and toss with 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper.
  3. Put the oil into a small skillet and heat over medium heat. Once oil is hot add the sliced garlic to fry it. Stir occasionally. If you do not hear the garlic sizzle, increase the heat to medium high. Once the garlic is golden and crisp, remove with a fork or slotted spoon and set aside.
  4. Reduce the heat to medium-low, add the red pepper flakes and sun dried tomatoes. Stir to cover everything with oil.
  5. Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat until hot. Add 2-3 tbsps of oil from the small skillet then add the shrimp. Increase the heat to high and spread the shrimp in a single layer so that they are all touching the bottom of the pan. Cook until the edges turn pink, about 1 minute.
  6. Flip the shrimp, add sherry, and simmer until shrimp are just cooked through, about 1 minute more. Transfer shrimp to the pasta bowl.
  7. Reduce the heat to medium, add the contents of the small skillet to the large one. Add the minced garlic, parsley, butter, and lemon juice and simmer until thickened, about 1 minute. Adjust seasonings if needed.
  8. Pour the sauce over the shrimp and pasta. Mix the dish to coat everything with the sauce.
  9. Serve. Garnish with the browned garlic chips and place some lemon wedges on the side.

Open some wine and enjoy!

Spicy Garlic Shrimp with Sundried Tomatoes

Spicy Garlic Shrimp with Sundried Tomatoes


1 Response to “Spicy Shrimp Pasta with Sun-Dried Tomatoes”

  1. 1 Grace April 10, 2011 at 4:16 pm


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