Lemony Shrimp Linguini

I get a lot of catalogs in the mail, and while some of them go straight to recyling, some of them get cherished and read just like a beloved magazine. One of the catalogs that I kept and bookmarked is the Sicily edition of Williams-Sonoma. I got it earlier this year and have kept it since, looking longingly at the cerulean blue cookware, admiring the beautifully set tables, and planning to try the recipes featuring hearty Sicilian fare, fresh seafood, and seasonal vegetables.

One of the recipes I bookmarked was the Fresh Pasta with Prawns and Lemon Oil. It took me several months to finally get around to it, and I tweaked the recipe for my own convenience. I ended up with this Lemony Shrimp Linguini, filled with bright lemon flavors, salty capers, and bursting with sweet juicy tomatoes. It’s a very summery take on a rustic pasta dish.

The first thing I changed was to swap out the fresh taglioni for packaged whole wheat linguini. I don’t have a pasta maker, and there’s no shame in cooking pasta from a box! Sometimes I buy fresh pasta from the farmers’ market but I always have some boxed pasta on hand for easy meals.

The second thing  I changed was I opted to add in fresh grape tomatoes. These sweet tomatoes were a key component in making this entire dish taste like a summer-time dish. Initially I wished that I had some of those colorful cherry tomatoes (just because they are so cute) but the grape tomatoes I had were so sweet and juicy, so I didn’t really miss out on anything.

And last but not least, I decided to put in a little the extra effort to make gremolata breadcrumbs (it only takes a few minutes, anyway). I really liked how it added a whole new flavor dimension and texture to pasta the last time I made it, and I figured it would liven up this simple pasta dish as well.

Other things that added to the flavor depth were the salty capers and umami-filled anchovy paste. I have a slight obsession with anchovies, especially in pasta, so I always have tins of anchovies plus a tube of anchovy paste. I know a lot of people don’t like anchovies, but melting it in hot oil releases some warm nutty flavors that aren’t fishy at all, so don’t be intimidated by anchovy paste…

Oh and something to note: while the gremolata breadcrumbs, pasta, and shrimp only take a few minutes to prepare, the recipe calls for making lemon olive oil first and letting it stand for 30 minutes. So plan on some extra time if you’re making this.

Please excuse my crude lemon peels. But hey, we’re going for rustic!

I played around with the propotions and the recipe I ended up with serves 2-4. I made too much breadcrumb gremolata though and only used about half, but I just froze the remaining breadcrumbs for future use.

Yield: serves 2-4

Lemony Shrimp Linguini


Lemon Oil:

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
Peel of 1 lemon

Shrimp Linguini:

3 tablespoons lemon oil
6 oz whole wheat linguini
1 cup grape tomatoes, halved
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 lb cooked shrimp
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon anchovy paste
2 tablespoons capers, rinsed and drained
zest of half a lemon
2 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
pinch of chili pepper flakes
salt and pepper to taste

Gremolata Breadcrumbs:

1 tablespoon lemon oil
1 clove garlic, minced
zest of half a lemon
2 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1/4 cup whole wheat breadcrumbs


  1. Make the lemon oil: Pour 1 cup of the olive oil into a small saucepan. Using a knife, cut the peel off one lemon and add the peel to the pan. Set over medium heat and heat the oil until just warm. Remove the pan from the heat and let stand for 30 minutes. Remove lemon peels and use the lemon oil for the recipe.
  2. Make gremolata breadcrumbs: Heat up a small skillet or saute pan over medium heat and add one tablespoon lemon oil. Add the garlic and let it soften and lightly brown. Add the lemon zest and parsley, and then the bread crumbs and mix well. Lower burner to medium-low and let the bread crumb mixture toast lightly. Transfer to a paper-tower lined plate.
  3. Make the pasta: cook linguini according to package directions.  Rinse pasta with cool water; set aside.
  4. In a large sauté pan, heat 1 tablespoon of the lemon oil over medium heat. Add grape tomatoes and saute until they are softened and have started to release their juices, about 5 minutes. Add cooked shrimp and garlic, season with salt, pepper, and chili flakes. Transfer the shrimp mixture to a bowl and toss with the lemon juice.
  5. In the same pan, heat 1 tablespoon of the lemon oil over medium-high heat. Add the anchovy paste and stir until fragrant and melted, about 15 seconds. Add the capers and lemon zest and stir. Add the pasta and the shrimp mixture and toss together.  Transfer to a platter.
  6. Top with parsley and half of the breadcrumbs (just save the rest for future use). Drizzle with what's remaining of the lemon oil and serve immediately.

adapted from a Williams-Sonoma recipe

Shrimp and lemon pair together so well, and this is yet another pasta dish that showcases it. I’m glad I saved my Williams-Sonoma catalog and tried this recipe that’s brimming with bright flavors. Now if only I can own all the beautiful, bright-colored kitchenware there as well…


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