Creamy Shrimp & Mozzarella Pasta

Creamy Shrimp & Mozzarella Pasta

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This shrimp pasta features creamy Mozzarella sauce, sun-dried tomatoes, basil, and red pepper flakes. Easy weeknight dinner!

Creamy Shrimp & Mozzarella Pasta



8 oz penne pasta (for gluten free version, use gluten free brown rice pasta)


2 tablespoons olive oil (drained from sun-dried tomatoes jar or just use regular olive oil)
1 pound shrimp (without shells, and deveined)
3 garlic cloves minced
¼ teaspoon salt

Creamy Sauce:

4 oz sun-dried tomatoes (without oil)
4 garlic cloves minced
1 cup half and half
1 cup mozzarella cheese shredded (do not use fresh Mozzarella, use pre-shredded Mozzarella)
1 tablespoon dried basil (if using fresh basil you can add more)
¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes crushed, add more to taste
⅛ teaspoon paprika
½ cup reserved cooked pasta water (or more)
¼ teaspoon salt


How to cook pasta

  • Cook pasta according to package instructions. Reserve some cooked pasta water. Drain the pasta.

How to cook shrimp

  • Note: if using sun-dried tomatoes in oil (in a jar), make sure to drain sun-dried tomatoes from oil, before using them. Reserve 2 tablespoons of this drained oil for sauteing the shrimp as described below:
  • Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil (reserved from the sun-dried tomatoes jar – see the note above, or use regular olive oil) in a large skillet on medium-high heat.
  • Add shrimp with minced garlic.  Cook the shrimp on one side for about 1 minute, until shrimp turns pink or golden brown on that side. While it cooks, sprinkle salt over the shrimp to cover every single shrimp.
  • Make sure not to crowd the shrimp in the skillet, otherwise, moisture will form and shrimp won’t sear right.
  • After 1 minute, flip the shrimp over to the other side and cook for about 30 seconds or 1 minute more.
  • The shrimp should be golden color or pink on both sides and not overcooked.
  • Remove the shrimp to a plate, being careful to leave all the oil in the skillet.

How to make creamy Mozzarella sauce

  • To the same skillet, add sun-dried tomatoes (drained from oil and sliced into smaller chunks, if needed) and more minced garlic.
  • Saute sun-dried tomatoes in olive oil (remaining from shrimp) on medium heat, stirring, for 1 minute until the garlic is fragrant. The skillet should be hot.
  • Add half and half to the hot skillet with sun-dried tomatoes and bring to boil.
  • Add shredded cheese to the skillet, and quickly stir in while boiling. Immediately reduce to simmer.
  • Continue cooking the sauce on low simmer heat, constantly stirring, until all the cheese melts and the creamy sauce forms.
  • If the sauce is too thick, add a small amount of half-and-half or reserved cooked pasta water.
  • Add basil, crushed red pepper flakes, paprika. Stir.
  • Add ¼ teaspoon of salt gradually, stirring on low heat and tasting (you might need slightly less than ¼ teaspoon).

How to assemble shrimp pasta

  • Add cooked pasta to the sauce, and reheat gently on medium heat.
  • Add the cooked shrimp, stir it in.
  • Taste, and season with more salt, if needed.
  • If the sauce is too thick, add a small amount of half-and-half or reserved cooked pasta water.
  • Let everything simmer on low heat for a couple of minutes for flavors to combine.
  • Note: Make sure to salt the dish just enough to bring out of the flavors of basil and sun-dried tomatoes.

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