Michael turned 30 in March and we went to the Outer Banks for a long weekend in April to celebrate. On the way home, we stopped at a road-side farmer's market and picked up fresh local shrimp, and for the next three hours in the car I was dreaming up this shrimp pasta dish. Why pasta? Because I was in a car coming home from vacation with the same boring snacks I'd been eating for four days, and I wanted nothing more than to dive into a bowl of carbs and drown out my post-vacation blues. That's what mature young professionals do.
We don't typically eat a lot of pasta. We love it, but when Michael was having health problems in 2019, we cut out grains and dairy, and became accustomed to avoiding pasta (especially the creamy kind). I know there are alternatives to traditional pasta and dairy, but we never found any that we considered worth it. Now that Michael's health is better, we occasionally sneak pasta back in, and this one has become one of our favorites. It's full of blistered red peppers, spinach, and shrimp, which keep it summery and fresh, and it's creamy without being too heavy.
Ingredients and variations of this shrimp pasta.
- Linguine. Michael and I have had this dish with spaghetti and linguine, and it's great with both. We've also had it with Trader Joe's lentil spaghetti and Banza chickpea linguine and spaghetti, and it's great with those too.
- Shrimp. We used fresh shrimp, but frozen would work too--just make sure it's not already cooked and you defrost it before cooking. If you want to make this dish vegetarian (or just make it more budget-friendly), you can omit the shrimp altogether--it's still delicious.
- Red Bell Pepper. We use red bell pepper for the color (and because that's what we had on hand when I dreamed this up), but yellow or orange would taste great too. I've never tried it, but I bet you could also substitute some cherry or grape tomatoes.
- Baby Spinach
- Milk. We used 2%. Whole milk would work too.
- Cream Cheese. I would avoid reduced-fat for this recipe.
- Fresh Garlic
- Salt and Pepper
- Olive Oil
- Crushed Red Pepper