Shrimp tomato basil pasta combines al dente linguine with succulent shrimp that's tossed in a garlicky cherry tomato chili sauce and finished with hand-torn fresh basil. This pasta is on the lighter side and the chili pepper adds just the right amount of heat!
If you've been following us for a while, you know how much we love shrimp and cherry peppers as ingredients.
Combining them to create new recipes is fun for us, and that's how we came up with this winning combo in this shrimp tomato basil pasta.
This recipe includes a sauce made with cherry tomatoes, shallots, garlic, and white wine with just a touch of a fresh chili pepper.
It's definitely a new favorite in our home and we hope it makes its way to yours as well!
If you love this cherry tomato shrimp combo, be sure to check out our shrimp scampi roll recipe which includes a wilted cherry tomato topping.
How to make it
Each number corresponds to the numbered written steps below.
- In a medium-sized bowl combine 1 ¼ pounds of large (21-25 or 26-30 count) cleaned and deveined shrimp with ½ teaspoon of baking soda and ½ teaspoon of kosher salt and set aside for 10-15 minutes.
- While the shrimp are brining, bring a large pot of salted water to boil, slice 2 large shallots and 3 cloves of garlic. Halve 12 ounces of cherry tomatoes.
- Slice one small red chili pepper (we used a Fresno chili). Note: when working with peppers that are on the spicier side, wear gloves to avoid irritation. Jim is a badass so it doesn't bother him ;).
- Heat a large pan to medium heat and add ¼ cup of extra virgin olive oil and the shrimp. Saute the shrimp for 3-4 minutes or until just cooked, then move them from the pan to a plate and tent with foil to keep warm.
- To the same pan add the sliced shallot and saute for 2-3 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for an additional 2 minutes, or until the garlic is lightly golden.
- Add the fresh chili to the pan and cook for 30 seconds longer. Add 1 pound of linguine to the pot of salted boiling water and cook it to 1 minute less than al dente.
- Add the cherry tomatoes and turn the heat to medium-high. Sprinkle the tomatoes with a touch of salt and saute for 2 minutes or until they start releasing some of their juices.
- Add ¾ cup of dry white wine and bring the sauce to a boil. Use a wooden spoon to gently scrape the pan and dislodge any brown bits. Boil for 1-2 minutes or until the alcohol smell dissipates.
- Add 1 cup of pasta water, then lower the heat and simmer while waiting for the pasta to cook.
- Add the shrimp back to the pan and mix well.
- Add the linguine and toss to coat with the sauce. Continue to cook until the linguine reaches just al dente.
- Once the pasta is al dente, remove from the heat and taste test. Adjust salt, pepper, or crushed red pepper as needed. If the pasta dries out at all, add a touch of pasta water. Serve with a drizzle of your best extra virgin olive oil and hand-torn basil. Enjoy!
- Baking soda. Brining shrimp with baking soda and salt helps to keep the shrimp plump and improves their texture. Since such a small amount is used, there will be no residual taste of baking soda, however, feel free to omit it if you prefer to not use it.
- Chili pepper. The use of fresh chili pepper adds another dimension of flavor and spice to the dish. Some chili peppers are hotter than others, so before adding it taste test a small slice to better gauge how much to add to your shrimp tomato, and basil pasta. We used a Fresno chili pepper here which is a touch hotter than a jalapeno. If you don't like any spice, feel free to omit.
- Shallots. We love to use shallots and find they elevate the flavor in many dishes, like our gorgonzola cream sauce pasta. They're milder than onions and turn slightly sweet when cooked. If you can find them, use them here. If not, simply omit or use some extra garlic.
- Save your pasta water! We say this in all of our pasta recipes because it really is that important! Pasta water is an important ingredient to rejuvenate any pasta that's a little too dry. Be sure to save it and use it!
More shrimp pasta recipes
We believe the combination of shrimp and pasta is quite possibly one of the best! Here are a few of our favorite shrimp pasta recipes.
- Lemon garlic shrimp pasta - with lemon zest and fresh parsley.
- Shrimp fra diavolo - spicy marinara with linguine and shrimp.
- Shrimp Alfredo - shrimp tossed with fettuccine in a creamy parmesan sauce.
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For the shrimp brine
- 1 ¼ pounds large shrimp 21/25 count, cleaned and deveined
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
For the pasta
- 1 pound linguine
- ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
- 2 large shallots sliced
- 3 cloves garlic sliced
- 1 small red chili pepper
- ¾ cup dry white wine
- 12 ounces cherry tomatoes halved
- 2 cups pasta water will most likely not need it all
- salt and pepper to taste
- ¼ cup packed basil hand torn
Brine the shrimp
- Place cleaned and dry shrimp in a bowl with the salt and baking soda. Mix well. Let the shrimp sit for 10-15 minutes before sauteing.
For the pasta
- Bring a large pot of salted water (2 tablespoons of Morton's kosher salt per gallon) to boil.
- Heat a large pan to medium heat. Add the extra virgin olive oil and saute the shrimp for about 3-4 minutes or until just cooked. Remove the shrimp and set aside tented with foil to keep warm. To the same pan add the shallots and saute for 2 minutes then add the garlic and continue to cook until lightly golden (about 2 more minutes).
- Meanwhile, cook the pasta in boiling water until 1 minute less than al dente.
- Add the chili pepper to the pan and cook for 30 seconds then add the cherry tomatoes and turn the heat to medium-high. Sprinkle the tomatoes with a touch of salt and saute for 2 minutes.
- Add the wine and bring the sauce to a boil while scraping the pan with a wooden spoon to remove any brown bits. Boil for 1-2 minutes or until the alcohol smell dissipates. Add 1 cup of pasta water then lower the heat and simmer while waiting for the pasta.
- Add the shrimp back to the pan and mix well.
- Add the linguine and toss or mix well to coat. Continue to cook right until the linguine reaches al dente.
- Once al dente remove the pan from the heat and taste test. Make final adjustments to salt, pepper, and crushed red pepper.
- If the pasta becomes too dry add a couple more ounces of reserved pasta water. Right before serving hand tear the basil and mix it into the linguine. Enjoy!
- The baking soda makes the shrimp plumper and have a better texture. At the levels used it will impart no taste. You can omit the baking soda/salt brine if you want.
- Always reserve extra pasta water just in case the pasta dries out while sitting and or waiting to serve.
- Salt is kept to a minimum. Adjust according to personal taste.
- Leftovers can be saved for up to 3 days and reheated in the microwave though this shrimp dish is best eaten right away.
Outstanding! We'll be making this regularly this summer for sure (and my family THOUGHT they'd need/want grated fresh parmesan -- I told them to try it without first. A winner!)
And if you've never brined shrimp like this, try it. No more rubbery shrimp!
Hi Scott, I'm so happy you enjoyed the recipe and really appreciate the comment!
This is awesome! 5/5
Hi Jason, I'm so happy you enjoyed and really appreciate the comment!
I've made this twice now and it's been fantastic both times, definitely a new favorite!
Hi Sarah, I'm happy to hear you've made this twice and enjoyed it both times! Thanks so much for the comment and rating!