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Spicy Shrimp Pasta with Creamy Tomato Sauce

Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 30 mins
Total Time 40 mins
Course Main Course
Cuisine Italian
Servings 6


  • large stock pot
  • large pan with lid


  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 lb shrimp peeled & deveined
  • 1/4 tsp crushed red pepper
  • 1/4 tsp paprika
  • 1/4 tsp pink salt or kosher salt
  • 1/2 onion or full onion if you want more onion flavor
  • 4-6 cloves garlic minced
  • 2 cups canned crushed tomatoes or one 28oz can
  • 1 cube chicken bullion
  • 1/4 cup water to dissolve the chicken bullion cube
  • 1 tsp dried basil
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 8 oz penne noodles or more if you want more servings


  • Start by peeling and deveining the shrimp, unless you bought pre-peeled/pre-deveined shrimp. I usually just get frozen shrimp that is ready to cook. If your shrimp is frozen, place the shrimp in a colander and run under hot water for 5 minutes or until the shrimp are not frozen anymore. I also like to slice my shrimp in half so they are bite-sized!
  • Chop your onion and set aside. Mince your garlic and set aside with the onion. Measure out the seasonings so they are ready to throw in, or you can just eyeball it. The crushed red pepper, paprika, and salt will be added first and together if you want to combine those in a ramekin. The basil and oregano will be added to the sauce at the very end. Go ahead and start dissolving the chicken bullion cube in the 1/4 cup of water. I drop the cube into the water and squish it with a fork. You can also microwave it for a few seconds to really dissolve it, but it will dissolve in the sauce later.
  • In the large pan, heat 1 tbsp of olive oil over medium-high heat. When the pan is hot, add the shrimp and cook on one side for 2 minutes. Cover the shrimp with the crushed red pepper, paprika, and salt. Flip the shrimp and cook another 2 minutes. Remove the shrimp from the pan and set them aside for later.
  • Add the remaining 1 tbsp of olive oil to the pan and leave it on medium-high heat. Add the onion and garlic to the pan and cook for 5 or so minutes until the onion are translucent and starting to char on the edges. That give the best flavor! Be sure to stir the onions and garlic often.
  • While the onion and garlic are cooking, fill the large stock pot with water, add a splash of olive oil, and set on high heat. Once the water is boiling, add the pasta noodles and a pinch of salt and boil for 10-12 minutes. Usually large stock pots of water takes a while to get boiling so I like to start this part now.
  • Once the onions look done, add the crushed tomato. It may pop and try to spray you so be careful! Add the 1/4 cup of water with the dissolved chicken bullion cube to the pan also. You can crush the bits of bullion cube that didn't dissolve all the way with your mixing spoon. Add the basil and oregano and leave on medium-high heat until simmering.
  • Once the tomato sauce is bubbling, reduce the heat and cover the pan with the lid and simmer for 15 minutes. Be sure to stir often.
  • The noodles should be done boiling around this time. Drain the noodles with a colander and set aside with the shrimp.
  • Once the 15 minutes are up for the tomato sauce, reduce the heat all the way to low and add the shrimp back to the pan. Give it a good stir. Slowly pour the cream into the tomato sauce while stirring it all together. I like to pour with one hand and stir with the other so the cream combines with the tomato sauce evenly. It should make an orange-ish sauce. You can always add more cream or you can add less cream if you want more of the tomato flavor.
  • Once the sauce is all combined and ready, add the cooked noodles to the pan and stir to coat all of the noodles. Add more crushed red pepper, basil, oregano, salt, etc. if you like. Let this sit over low heat and covered with the lid for a few minutes while you get the plates/bowls ready to serve. When you're ready, turn the heat off and serve hot! You can add parmesan cheese, fresh Italian parsley, and/or more crushed red pepper to garnish and add flavor!


Can use gluten free noodles instead of the regular. Or you can use whole wheat noodles for a healthier option. You can also forgo the shrimp for vegetarian and/or replace the heavy cream with a non-dairy alternative for vegan! 
Keyword cream, creamy, creamy tomato, pasta, penne, shrimp