When I was a kid, if somebody had tried to serve me a pasta with no visible (red) sauce, I’m pretty sure I would have been like “um yeah, no way.” Luckily, I’ve expanded my palate a bit from the days when Prego represented the finest pasta sauce the world had to offer.
Sometimes, especially in the winter, I still want a great bolognese that’s simmered all day. But often, my pasta cravings turn to something lighter, fresher, and herby-er. I love a well-crafted pasta dish with a combination of flavors and textures and just a light coating of a simple “sauce.”
If you keep your pantry and fridge stocked with some high-quality basics like capers, fresh herbs, and Parmesan cheese, you’re all set to pull something like this together. It’s an on-the-fly meal that allows you to pull out bits and pieces of ingredients and leftovers and make them into something special.
I used whole wheat linguine here, and the great earthy flavor of the pasta actually really shined through. The shrimp adds some low-calorie protein, and the “sauce” is just a combo of olive oil, garlic, lemon juice, and pasta cooking water.
Being an Italian grandma at heart, I always reserve a cup of pasta cooking water before I drain the noodles – the starchy water will thicken any sauce you have, and help the sauce adhere to the pasta. I finished this bowl of lemon shrimp goodness with some fresh parsley, spicy red pepper flakes, salty Parmesan cheese, and pistachios that add an inviting crunch.
In a large pot of boiling salted water, cook pasta according to package instructions. Reserve 1/2 cup pasta cooking water, then drain pasta and return to pot.
Meanwhile, in a large nonstick skillet, heat oil over medium heat. Add garlic and shrimp; cook until shrimp start to become pink and are almost cooked through, stirring frequently, about 2-3 minutes.
Add lemon juice, capers and red pepper flakes; continue cooking until shrimp turn opaque throughout, stirring frequently, about 1 minute.
Pour shrimp mixture over pasta. Add parsley and 1/4 cup pasta cooking water. Using tongs, toss to combine, adding more pasta water if needed to create a thin sauce. Serve pasta in warm bowls, garnished with Parmesan cheese and pistachios.
Hi, I’m Lori! I’m a Detroit-area culinary school graduate, food photographer, recipe developer and english muffin fanatic. This blog is where I post simple, yet special, original recipes for the "home chef" in all of us.