Garlic Shrimp Spaghetti

garlic shrimp spaghetti

Garlic Shrimp Spaghetti.

Slippery strands of whole wheat pasta coated in a salty, spicy, very garlicky sauce, bolstered by sweet shrimp and a burst of lemon.

It’s what I served my dinner party guests a couple of weeks ago, and I made no apologies for giving them garlic breath.

It’s essentially spaghetti aglio olio with a seafood bonus.

It’s quick, it’s easy, and hard to believe but it’s actually pretty healthy.

This recipe is a paired down version of my favorite Lemony Shrimp Linguini, which is mouth-watering and fantastic, but hey sometimes a gal just doesn’t have time to make homemade lemon oil and gremolata breadcrumbs.

shrimp aglio olio pasta

If you’ve been reading my blog for a while, or if we’ve hung out in real life for more than 5 minutes, you know that I love spaghetti. It’s what I like to eat when I’m happy and also when I need some comfort. Watching movie scenes with spaghetti makes me hungry – gosh just typing the word spaghetti makes me hungry!

My favorite kind to order at restaurants is something with a luxurious ingredient, like blue crab or bottarga or sea urchin. But at home, when I’m the one cooking, the simpler the spaghetti, the better. I like cooking with lots of garlic and only a few fresh ingredients. There’s something so satisfying about a hearty pasta dish that comes together quickly and simply.

spaghetti with shrimp and garlic

This dish hits all the right notes: it only requires a few basic ingredients that I always have in my kitchen: whole wheat pasta, shrimp (I like buying a bag of frozen cooked shrimp from Trader Joe’s – it’s already peeled with the tails off, so I just need to thaw and it’s ready), generous glugs of olive oil, lots of fresh garlic, chili pepper flakes, a lemon, and a tin of anchovies.

If you’re scared of anchovies, don’t be! When you melt it in a pool of garlic and olive oil, it doesn’t taste fishy at all, and only lends a salty umami taste. You can also substitute a tablespoon of anchovy paste which is more concentrated in flavor. You can omit it if you must, but you’ll lose a layer of flavor that I love in this pasta dish.

I served this with a side of roasted asparagus, and I bet roasted broccoli will work nicely too. You can even toss in the veggies with the pasta at the last minute. Right after transferring the spaghetti to a platter, I drizzled it with a little more olive oil (a trick I learned from watching Mario Batali). The extra EVOO (a tic I learned from watching Rachael Ray) makes the entire dish taste richer and adds a subtle note of nuttiness. Then I sprinkled coarse sea salt and freshly ground black pepper over the pasta, let it rain chopped parsley, and finished with dainty curls of lemon zest. It took me less than 30 minutes to prepare everything from start to finish, and I had a bright, filling, party-ready dish that my guests slurped up to the last noodle.

garlicky shrimp pasta

Yield: serves 8

Garlic Shrimp Spaghetti


1 lb whole wheat spaghetti
1/4 cup olive oil, plus 1 tablespoon for drizzling before serving
8 large garlic cloves, minced
1 (2 oz) tin anchovy fillets
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1 lb cooked shrimp, peeled and tail off
1/4 cup chopped flat leaf parsley
salt and pepper to taste
juice and zest of half a lemon


  1. Cook spaghetti according to package directions.  Rinse pasta with cool water; set aside.
  2. Heat olive oil in a large pan over medium-high heat. Add garlic, anchovies, and red pepper flakes. Break up the anchovies with a wooden spoon until they melt into the oil and garlic mixture.
  3. Add shrimp to pan and cook for a couple of minutes, tossing so that the oil coats the shrimp. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Squeeze fresh lemon juice over shrimp.
  4. Add cooked pasta to pan, and toss.
  5. Transfer to a platter, making sure to get the last bits of garlic and oil from pan. Drizzle with about a tablespoon of olive oil, sprinkle with coarse salt and freshly ground pepper, top with parsley and lemon zest. Serve immediately.

garlicy shrimp spaghetti

Tell me: do you ever serve garlicky foods at a dinner party? And do you have a go-to spaghetti dish?


45 Responses to “Garlic Shrimp Spaghetti”

  1. #
    Leng posted September 1, 2014 at 10:08 am

    I love this Bianca! Been making lots of these lately, with linguini or squid-ink pasta! Super delicious!

    • #
      Bianca Garcia posted September 2, 2014 at 9:41 am

      Hi Leng! Aaahhh this would be so good with squid ink pasta! I will have to hunt down some soon.

  2. #
    whatjessicabakednext posted September 1, 2014 at 12:26 pm

    This looks divine, Bianca! Pasta with garlic and prawns is my favourite comfort dish! So tasty- I would do anything for a bowlful of this right now! :)

    • #
      Bianca Garcia posted September 2, 2014 at 9:42 am

      Thanks, Jessica! It’s delicious comfort food :)

  3. #
    Medha @ Whisk & Shout posted September 1, 2014 at 6:44 pm

    “Slippery strands of whole wheat pasta coated in a salty, spicy, very garlicky sauce, bolstered by sweet shrimp and a burst of lemon.”
    That sentence is literal food erotica. My mouth is watering. It’s screaming, “Carbsssss”.
    This looks amazing and bonus points for being surprisingly healthy! :)

    • #
      Bianca Garcia posted September 2, 2014 at 9:43 am

      Aww thanks so much Medha! Carbs are the best ;) Enjoy the rest of your week!

  4. #
    yummychunklet posted September 1, 2014 at 10:05 pm

    Oh, garlic and shrimp pair so greatly with spaghetti! Yum!

  5. #
    Zainab posted September 1, 2014 at 11:35 pm

    Oh this will be perfect for dinner tomorrow!!

    • #
      Bianca Garcia posted September 2, 2014 at 9:43 am

      Yes! I totally want to make it again this week.

  6. #
    Alyssa @ My Sequined Life posted September 2, 2014 at 12:38 am

    So worth the garlic breath! Haha this pasta looks like my dream dinner. The more oil and garlic, the better! Yum! :)

    • #
      Bianca Garcia posted September 2, 2014 at 9:44 am

      Oil and garlic together is just soooo good! Thanks, Alyssa!

  7. #
    Joanne posted September 2, 2014 at 7:13 am

    I don’t think anyone should EVER apologize for garlic breath or giving it to someone! It’s kind of the best. :P Love this big bowl of garlicky noodles!

  8. #
    Cindy @ Pick Fresh Foods posted September 2, 2014 at 12:24 pm

    Bianca, I too love spaghetti and my mouth waters at the thought of eating it. Now this spaghetti with garlic shrimp is totally drool-worthy! Looks delicious!

    • #
      Bianca Garcia posted September 3, 2014 at 9:29 am

      Thanks so much, Cindy! I always drool with spaghetti :)

  9. #
    ami@naivecookcooks posted September 2, 2014 at 3:26 pm

    Bianca this spaghetti looks just so good that I can devour an entire bowl for lunch!

    • #
      Bianca Garcia posted September 3, 2014 at 9:29 am

      Thanks Ami! I kinda even want it for breakfast haha

  10. #
    Mike @TheIronYou posted September 2, 2014 at 5:47 pm

    I’m not the biggest shrimp fan (I know, something may be wrong with me) but those are some seriously good looking spaghetti Bianca, great job!

    • #
      Bianca Garcia posted September 3, 2014 at 9:37 am

      Thanks Mike and no judgement here! I also have some food aversions that other people don’t get (olives? yuck) :)

  11. #
    Liz posted September 2, 2014 at 9:03 pm

    I love the ease of this dish…and that it packs a punch of delicious flavor without a ton of ingredients. Lovely enough for company, but simple enough for a weeknight meal. I’m pinning to try soon :)

    • #
      Bianca Garcia posted September 3, 2014 at 9:46 am

      Yay thanks Liz! You’re gonna love it :)

  12. #
    Megan posted September 2, 2014 at 10:08 pm

    This sounds awesome! I’ve been making versions of pasta with garlic and oil all summer.

    • #
      Bianca Garcia posted September 3, 2014 at 9:46 am

      Like the one from the movie Chef!

  13. #
    Kathi @ Deliciously Yum! posted September 2, 2014 at 10:21 pm

    Gosh, this dish looks wonderful. As a fellow spaghetti/pasta lover myself, I am beyond excited to have yet another fab recipe to try :). Looks and sounds out of this world delicious!!

    • #
      Bianca Garcia posted September 3, 2014 at 9:48 am

      Thank you, Kathi! Spaghetti is the best food.

  14. #
    Kelly - LEFT SIDE OF THE TABLE posted September 3, 2014 at 12:46 pm

    I’m scared of anchovies too lol! I’m weird I usually never cook with shrimp or care for it in dishes…but I eat it separately. Strange huh?? However, this dish caught my eye. It looks wonderful Bianca! I think i’m going to have to give it a try and kick this “no shrimp” in my dishes goodbye. Thanks girl!

    • #
      Bianca Garcia posted September 3, 2014 at 2:51 pm

      Hi Kelly! Yes, definitely give shrimp (and anchovies) a try! :)

  15. #
    PassTheKnife posted September 3, 2014 at 2:28 pm

    Looks great! All of these ingredients are so delicious, no wonder if made a great dish!

    • #
      Bianca Garcia posted September 3, 2014 at 2:51 pm

      Thank you! Yup, it’s hard to go wrong with this simple combination :)

  16. #
    Rachel @ Bakerita posted September 3, 2014 at 2:39 pm

    That short ingredients list makes me so happy, and I love all of them! This sounds like such a wonderful dish – pinned!

  17. #
    Meghan posted September 3, 2014 at 2:39 pm

    This looks like THE perfect cure for a comfort food craving!

    • #
      Bianca Garcia posted September 3, 2014 at 2:52 pm

      Yes! And now I am thinking it would be a good hangover cure, too. Not that I am ever hungover of course ;)

  18. #
    Ashley posted September 3, 2014 at 4:24 pm

    I love spaghetti too! But seem to never make it at home! Which is just plain silly. My husband would go nuts for this dish!

  19. #
    Sofía posted September 3, 2014 at 8:10 pm

    That looks amazing! I loooove sea food, and italian food and garlic shrimp spaghetti.

  20. #
    Ceara @ Ceara's Kitchen posted September 4, 2014 at 8:02 am

    Garlic Pasta = the ultimate comfort food! I love the look of the tasty (and your awesome description)! Delicious!

  21. #
    Choc Chip Uru posted September 4, 2014 at 8:59 am

    Who needs good breath if you are eating gorgeous meals like this? :P
    Beautifully photographed!

    Choc Chip Uru

  22. #
    Alessandra // the foodie teen posted September 4, 2014 at 4:09 pm

    I’m a complete garlic lover, so I’d love this! It looks so, so stunning! Yum!

  23. #
    Sarah & Arkadi posted September 5, 2014 at 10:03 pm

    such a simple yet delicious looking pasta dish!

  24. #
    Amy (Savory Moments) posted September 6, 2014 at 7:19 am

    You definitely can’t go wrong with garlic + shrimp + pasta! This dish looks delicious!

  25. #
    Chris @ Shared Appetite posted September 6, 2014 at 12:35 pm

    What a beautiful pasta dish! Perfect for this transition from summer to fall!

  26. #
    Molly Galler posted September 10, 2014 at 10:52 pm

    One of the benefits of being single – fiery garlic breath and not a care in the world about it!

  27. #
    Tina @ Tina's Chic Corner posted September 12, 2014 at 7:22 pm

    I love love love simple and easy recipes like this one! Pinned. :)

  28. #
    Lauren posted September 16, 2014 at 11:05 am

    This looks so good, I want to make them for my next dinner party!!

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