Shrimp lovers, listen up! I have the most perfect springtime entree made with Angel Hair Pasta, juicy shrimp, and fresh asparagus. This Shrimp and Asparagus Pasta comes together in a quick lemon cream sauce with fresh herbs for a weeknight meal that’s ready in just a half-hour! 

SHRIMP AND ASPARAGUS PASTA UP CLOSE IN A WHITE BOWL

Why We Love This Angel Hair Pasta with Asparagus and Shrimp

If you are like us, you are constantly on the lookout for healthy shrimp dinners, like this Shrimp and Garlic Sauce or our Shrimp and Sausage Sheet Pan Dinner. We especially love it when a good shrimp recipe incorporates fresh seasonal veggies (hello asparagus season!!) to make them healthier and bulk up the serving size. That’s why when we tried this Shrimp and Asparagus Pasta, we knew we had a winner! 

It is a great all-in-one meal for a weeknight dinner, and it is fancy enough to prepare for company. Since it has both protein and veggies, along with pasta, it is a complete meal all on its own! 

Ingredients For This Easy Shrimp Asparagus Pasta Dish

the shrimp and asparagus with the other ingredients on a table with text overlay labels

Angel hair pasta

We chose angel hair pasta, also called capellini, for this recipe. It is the perfect texture for the cream sauce and the delicate taste of the shrimp and asparagus. That said, you can substitute another pasta shape, and note that gluten-free pasta also works too! 

Large shrimp

To make this really easy, we used uncooked pre-shelled large shrimp (size 26/30.)  Since the shrimp are rather saucy, we opted for those without the tails (since holding saucy shrimp tails in your hands is kind of messy!) 

Did you know that farmed shellfish is one of the largest sources of greenhouse gasses from protein sources? We suggest, looking for sustainably harvested shrimp by looking for labels such as “Certified Sustainable Seafood Marine Stewardship Council” and “Aquaculture Stewardship Council Certified” to ensure your shellfish choice has a smaller carbon footprint. Read more at Seafood Watch.

Unsalted Butter and Extra-Virgin Olive Oil

Shrimp and butter are a match made in heaven, so we opted to sear the shrimp first in butter. We cut it with a bit of extra-virgin olive oil to cut back on saturated fat. 

Asparagus

We adore asparagus around here. From simple sides like roasted asparagus and grilled asparagus to entrees like this asparagus pizza​, when it is in season, we add it to our meals several times a week! 

For this recipe, we used 1 bunch of asparagus. We snapped off the pithy woody stems and cut the stalks into 2-inch pieces. Note: for this recipe, medium-thin asparagus is best.

Cream

The sauce for this pasta dish is made with a combination of the pasta cooking liquid and heavy cream. It coats the pasta, asparagus and shrimp lightly and adds subtle richness. If you are looking for a lower-calorie alternative, you can use bottled clam juice instead.

Seasonings

  • Garlic
  • Salt and Freshly Ground Pepper
  • Lemon zest and Wedges
  • Tarragon

Step-By-Step instructions

pat shrimp dry and sear it in the skillet

Step 1: Boil Water and Dry Shrimp

Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add a generous pinch of salt. Meanwhile, pat shrimp dry with paper towels.

Step 2: Sear Shrimp

Melt 1 tablespoon butter with oil in a large skillet (not non-stick) over high heat. Add shrimp in a single layer, and let cook on one side until seared, pink and curling, 1 to 2 minutes. With tongs, flip shrimp over and let cook until cooked through and bright pink all over, 1 to 2 minutes. Remove the shrimp to a plate.

making the asparagus and cream sauce plus cooking the pasta

Step 3: Asparagus and Cream Sauce

Melt the remaining 1 tablespoon butter in the skillet. Add asparagus and garlic, and cook stirring constantly until the garlic is fragrant and browning and the asparagus is starting to soften, 1 to 2 minutes.

Pour in heavy cream and bring to a simmer stirring. Add salt and pepper and cook, stirring often until the asparagus is crisp-tender, about 3 minutes.

Step 4: Cook and Drain Pasta (reserve some cooking liquid)

When the water boils (timed so the asparagus is already in the pan) add pasta and cook according to package instructions. Reserve 1 cup of the pasta cooking liquid. Drain well.

tossing the pasta with the herbs, lemon zest, shrimp and asparagus

Step 5: Combine Pasta, Shrimp and Asparagus with Sauce

Add the cooked angel hair lemon zest, tarragon, and cook, tossing together and thinning with pasta liquid if necessary, until the sauce is coating the pasta and the seasoning, asparagus and shrimp are incorporated into the pasta.

Serve immediately with lemon wedges.

the pasta with a lemon wedge

FAQs and Expert Tips

Can this be made without the heavy cream?

To make this recipe lighter you can substitute some or all of the heavy cream with bottled clam juice. Just make sure to use less added salt to taste. Making this swap will save about 90 calories per serving.

What is the best way to reheat leftovers?

Leftovers can be reheated, one serving at a time in the microwave. Cover with parchment and heat on high power for 2 minutes per serving.

Can I use cooked shrimp?

While searing the shrimp as directed will really improve the overall flavor of the dish, it is fine to substitute cooked shrimp. Simply add them to the skillet with the heavy cream and heat them through as the cream reduces.

What is the best shrimp to use for pasta?

We love the fact that pasta dish is reminiscent of a healthy shrimp scampi, so we really like it best with big plump shrimp. Shrimp is sold in sizes that are measured by the number of shrimp in a pound. Look for 26-30 count shrimp for this recipe. It will need to be thawed, the shells removed and deveined before cooking.

How To Prevent Angel Hair Pasta From Clumping

The angel hair pasta cooks very fast and will clump together once it is drained, that’s why it is best to try to time the pasta and shrimp mixture to finish at the same time. To do so, wait until the pasta water is almost boiling before you start the shrimp. It takes about 10 minutes to cook the shrimp and asparagus, so try to time the pasta accordingly.

If your pasta is done first, no problem! Simply give it a quick rinse with cool water to rinse off some of the starch. You can also drizzle on a little oil to prevent it from clumping together. It will reheat in the pan with the shrimp mixture and cooking liquid.

two bowls of shrimp and asparagus pasta on a white table with parsley

More Recipes You’ll Enjoy

Thanks so much for reading. If you are new here, you may want to sign up for my free weekly email newsletter where I share weeknight meal plans delivered right to your inbox. Or follow me on Instagram. If you make this recipe, please come back and leave a star rating and review! It is very appreciated. Happy Cooking! ~Katie

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SHRIMP AND ASPARAGUS PASTA UP CLOSE IN A WHITE BOWL

Easy Shrimp and Asparagus Pasta Recipe

  • Author: Katie Webster
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 25 minutes
  • Total Time: 30 minutes
  • Yield: 10 cups 1x
  • Category: Main Course
  • Method: Stove Top
  • Cuisine: American

Description

Here is the most perfect springtime entree made with Angel Hair Pasta, juicy shrimp, and fresh asparagus. This Shrimp and Asparagus Pasta comes together in a quick lemon cream sauce with fresh herbs for a weeknight meal that’s ready in just a half-hour!


Scale

Ingredients

3/4 teaspoon salt plus more to taste and for pasta water

1 pound angel hair pasta

1 pound peeled and deveined large shrimp (26/30 ct)

2 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

1 pound asparagus, trimmed and cut into 2-inch pieces

5 cloves garlic, minced

2/3 cup heavy cream*

Freshly ground pepper to taste

1 teaspoon lemon zest, Plus wedges for serving

1 teaspoon chopped tarragon (or 1 tablespoon parsley)


Instructions

  1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add a generous pinch of salt.
  2. Meanwhile, pat shrimp dry with paper towels.
  3. Melt 1 tablespoon butter with oil in a large skillet (not non-stick) over high heat. Add shrimp in a single layer, and let cook on one side until seared, pink and curling, 1 to 2 minutes. With tongs, flip shrimp over and let cook until cooked through and bright pink all over, 1 to 2 minute. Remove the shrimp to a plate.
  4. Melt the remaining 1 tablespoon butter in the skillet. Add asparagus and garlic, and cook stirring constantly until the garlic is fragrant and browning and the asparagus is starting to soften, 1 to 2 minutes.
  5. Pour in heavy cream and bring to a simmer stirring. Add 3/4 teaspoon salt and pepper and cook, stirring often until the asparagus is crisp-tender, about 3 minutes.
  6. When the water boils (timed so the asparagus is already in the pan) add pasta and cook according to package instructions. Reserve 1 cup of the pasta cooking liquid. Drain well. (If the shrimp mixture is not ready when the pasta is done, rinse with water or drizzle with oil and toss to prevent it from clumping together.)
  7. Add the angel hair lemon zest, tarragon, and cook, tossing together and thinning with pasta liquid if necessary, until the sauce is coating the pasta and the seasoning, asparagus and shrimp are incorporated into the pasta. Adjust seasoning to taste. Serve immediately with lemon wedges.

Notes

Heavy Cream

To make this recipe lighter you can substitute some or all of the heavy cream with bottled clam juice. Just make sure to use less added salt to taste. Making this swap will save about 90 calories per serving.

How To Prevent Angel Hair Pasta From Clumping

The angel hair pasta cooks very fast and will clump together once it is drained, that’s why it is best to try to time the pasta and shrimp mixture to finish at the same time. To do so, wait until the pasta water is almost boiling before you start the shrimp. It takes about 10 minutes to cook the shrimp and asparagus, so try to time the pasta accordingly.

If your pasta is done first, no problem! Simply give it a quick rinse with cool water to rinse off some of the starch. You can also drizzle on a little oil to prevent it from clumping together. It will reheat in the pan with the shrimp mixture and cooking liquid.

For Leftovers

Leftovers can be reheated, one serving at a time in the microwave. Cover with parchment and heat on high power for 2 minutes per serving.


Nutrition

  • Serving Size: 1 2/3 cups
  • Calories: 525