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 rigatoni 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.”
Lemon Caper Pasta is easy to make with pantry ingredients!
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.
Always save some pasta water for lemon caper pasta!
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.
- 8 ounces whole wheat linguine
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 3/4 pound 26-30 count peeled and deveined shrimp, tails removed, patted dry
- 2-1/2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- 2 tablespoons capers
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground red pepper flakes
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
- 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
- 1/4 cup pistachios, shelled and roughly chopped
- 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.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 378Total Fat: 14gSaturated Fat: 3gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 10gCholesterol: 8mgSodium: 262mgCarbohydrates: 54gFiber: 9gSugar: 1gProtein: 15g
More great pasta recipes:
- Sausage Pasta Skillet Dinner – start to finish in just one skillet!
- Creamy Salmon Pasta – one of the most popular recipes on this site!
- Salmon Pesto Pasta – an herby twist on salmon pasta.
- Garlicky Greek Yogurt Pasta with Sautéed Lentils & Chickpeas – great for Meatless Monday.
- Mushroom & Lentil Ragu – a hearty vegetarian sauce over spaghetti.
- Minestrone Pasta Sauté with Ricotta – perfect for a cold winter night.
- Butternut Squash Noodles – a healthier take on pasta.
- Lasagna with Cottage Cheese – my family’s famous Midwestern recipe!
- Creamy Tuscan Chicken Pasta from Simply Home Cooked
- Roasted Red Pepper alla Vodka from Half Baked Harvest