Creamy Mozzarella Shrimp Pasta

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

You’ve come to the right place for shrimp recipes!  I’ve made all kinds of shrimp pasta through the years, such as creamy shrimp pasta with mushrooms and pesto shrimp pasta, and this recipe definitely stands out as one of my favorites!

This recipe features creamy Mozzarella sauce with sun-dried tomatoes and basil.  If you enjoy these flavors but prefer a different type of protein as opposed to shrimp, you can try this sun-dried tomato chicken pasta or delicious scallop pasta.

Easy Recipe

This shrimp pasta a ridiculously easy recipe which makes it a perfect choice for a weeknight dinner.  The recipe pretty much involves only 4 steps.

  1.  First, the shrimp is cooked in olive oil with lots of garlic.  And, while you do it, your kitchen will smell so good!
  2. Then, make the cream sauce by sautéing sun-dried tomatoes and garlic, adding cream, basil, red pepper flakes, paprika.
  3. Next, Cook the pasta according to package instructions.  Drain.
  4. Finally, combine everything together: shrimp, pasta, and the cream sauce! YUM!

Substitute for half and half

  • What is Half-and-half?  To keep it simple, Half-and-half is the US milk product that combines half whole milk and half heavy cream to form a lighter cream.
  • Substitute ½ cup of milk + ½ cup of heavy cream for 1 cup of half-and-half.

How to store and reheat shrimp pasta

  • Store leftovers in an airtight container, refrigerated, for up to 4 days.
  • To reheat, add a small amount of milk or chicken broth (or water) to shrimp pasta and reheat gently over medium-low heat until the sauce just starts to bubble. At this point, turn heat to low, and continue reheating the pasta, without simmering
  • Keep your eyes on keeping the heat medium or low. If reheated over high heat, the cream will separate.
  • Can you freeze it?

    • The creamy sauce does not retain its texture well when frozen. Therefore, I do not recommend freezing the creamy shrimp pasta.

    How to make it gluten-free

    • Use gluten-free brown rice penne or any other type of gluten-free short pasta. You can use gluten-free lentil penne or gluten-free quinoa pasta.
    • Cook gluten-free pasta according to package instructions. Then drain and rinse with cold water to prevent gluten-free pasta from getting mushy and sticking together.

    Tips and Tricks

    • Use sun-dried tomatoes in oil.  They are usually sold in glass jars.  Drain sun-dried tomatoes from oil as much as you can before using them in this recipe.  Do use oil from the jar to saute shrimp with garlic.
    • Be careful not to overcook the shrimp.  Do keep in mind that it’s really easy to overcook the shrimp which will make it tough and rubbery and not so tasty.  That’s why it’s important to have all ingredients ready to go and make this recipe as fast as you can and serve it immediately!  That way you won’t give a chance to shrimp to sit around and cook in its own juices.
    • Use short pasta (penne) – that allows the sauce to coat every single bite!
    • Make sure to season the shrimp pasta with just enough salt to bring out of the flavors of basil and sun-dried tomatoes.  Do not add too much salt but do not skimp on it, either.

      Why this recipe works

      It’s so easy to overcook the shrimp. However, what is great about this recipe is that even if you do overcook the shrimp, you will hardly notice it as the shrimp will be coated in the most delicious creamy sauce that will keep the shrimp moist and tender!

      More delicious shrimp pasta recipes

      I cook a lot with shrimp and pasta, so if you want to try other recipes, check out these:

      • Creamy shrimp pasta with mushrooms – this is one of the most popular recipes on my site!
      • Spicy shrimp pasta in garlic tomato cream sauce – shrimp seared in olive oil with crushed red pepper, paprika, and salt, then smothered in a spicy cream sauce made with chopped onions, minced garlic, crushed tomatoes, and cream.
      • Pesto shrimp mushroom pasta – basil pesto and mushrooms taste great with shrimp!
      • Garlic shrimp alfredo in creamy four-cheese pasta sauce – shrimp served over creamy white cheese Italian pasta sauce.

      Creamy Mozzarella Shrimp Pasta

      Delicious shrimp pasta with mozzarella cheese alfredo sauce is made from scratch with sun-dried tomatoes, basil, red pepper flakes, paprika, and cream.  You’ll have a perfectly cooked shrimp: soft and tender and never dry or rubbery!
    • Ingredients


      • 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 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
        •  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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