Some days you just want a meal that is absolutely bursting with flavor. You know, one of those meals that you are always kind of craving in the back of your head after you eat it.
And, you guys, Shrimp, spinach, and tomato pasta is definitely one of those meals!
The mixture of sea and land in this recipe compliment each other exactly and do not leave one wanting. There are plenty of ways to customize the dish to your exact taste, as well, which makes this recipe even more fun!
What is shrimp, spinach, and tomato pasta?
This fresh-tasting, light meal is so quick and easy! It’s a dish of shrimp, spinach, and tomato served on a bed of al dente fettuccine and is flavored with a simple yet flavorful lemon garlic butter sauce.
Can this be made in advance?
Yes, parts of this dish can be made in advance – namely, the shrimp and the pasta.
Shrimp can be pre-cooked and stored in the refrigerator for 3 to 4 days.
Fettuccine noodles can be pre-cooked and stored in the refrigerator for 3 to 5 days.
Take special steps to ensure that your shrimp integrity remains during its refrigeration process by putting it in a completely sealed, airtight container. Be aware that seafood can be tricky when it comes to storing, and you want to make sure it doesn’t go bad before you get to make your meal. If the shrimp has a strong, sour odor or becomes slimy during storage, discard it immediately. And do not taste it first!
How long can it be left out?
As with most foods, this quick and easy shrimp pasta dish shouldn’t be left out at room temperature for more than 2 hours. Because it contains seafood, make a point to store it away before the 2 hour mark!
As stated above, you can store the entire dish in the refrigerator for 3 to 4 days, but it is not suggested to freeze the dish as a whole.
How long is this pasta dish good for?
Once this entire meal is cooked and cooled, it can be stored in the refrigerator for up to three to four days. Because it is a seafood dish, pay mind the shrimp when you go to enjoy it again. I’ve heard it tastes even better on days two and three.
Because of the mixture of shrimp, vegetables, and pasta in this dish once it is prepared, it is not suggested to freeze it all together.
Can this shrimp pasta be frozen?
As far as freezing this meal after it is completely prepared, the answer is no. The difference in the freezing suggestions for the different ingredients do not really allow for it all to be properly frozen once the dish has been made into a cohesive whole.
However, if you would like to freeze the individual ingredients to combine at a later time, check out these tips:
How to Freeze Cooked Shrimp
- Make sure that you remove the meat from the shell of the shrimp.
- Spread one by one on a foil covered cookie sheet.
- Place in the coldest part of your freezer until firm.
- Once firm, separate them into freezer bags. Make sure to squeeze the air out of freezer bags before sealing them.
- Optional: Write your date on the bag in permanent marker to know when they will no longer be good.
- Optional: Place the sealed freezer bag into a second sealed freezer bag.
How to Thaw Frozen Shrimp (works with store-bought frozen shrimp as well)
- Place frozen shrimp into a colander.
- Place colander in refrigerator
- Optional: Place a towel or paper towels underneath the colander to catch any liquid that may fall.
- Place in a colander in the sink.
- Run constant cold water over the shrimp. Make sure to move them around as needed.
- When thawed, pat them dry, and you’re ready to warm them up.
Either way that you thaw your frozen shrimp, you want to make sure to not overcook them while reheating them. A couple of minutes on heat is all they will need!
If you are pre-cooking and freezing your pasta, here are some tips on how to freeze and reheat it.
How to Freeze Cooked Pasta:
- Let pasta cool.
- Drizzle oil over the pasta. (olive oil is suggested, but other oils can be used.)
- Use 1 tablespoon of oil for every 8 oz of pasta.
- Toss pasta in the oil; this prevents the pasta from sticking.
- Spoon into airtight containers or freezer bags. Make sure the container is sealed and secure.
- Store up to 2 weeks!
How to Reheat Frozen Cooked Pasta
- Defrost frozen pasta in a colander in the sink by running cool water over it.
- Place into boiling water for a few moments, 1 or 2 minutes. You don’t want to overcook the pasta.
- You can also place the pasta straight into a simmering sauce to have it properly heated. This would happen after the defrosting in the sink, though.
I personally would suggest making this meal at the time of serving because the freshness of the ingredients, especially the vegetables, are part of what makes it delicious!
I am not very familiar with cooking with shrimp. Do you have any tips?
The most common mistake made when it comes to cooking with shrimp is overcooking the shrimp. For example, this recipe calls for two minutes of direct high heat on the shrimp, and then five minutes of medium heat once mixed with other ingredients. This is all it takes! Quick, efficient cooking is the key for delicious shrimp.
In general, there are three key points to look out for while cooking shrimp:
- An internal temperature of about 150 degrees Fahrenheit.
- A pink shell with a red tail (shell on) OR slightly opaque and whitish meat (shell off).
- A common saying is that a perfectly cooked shrimp makes a “C” shape, and an overcooked shrimp makes more of an “O” shape.
Note that there are a few factors that may impact your shrimp cooking time, such as:
- Shrimp with shells on take a bit longer to cook than peeled shrimp.
- Shrimp size can affect cooking times (bigger means another minute or so).
- How high the heat on the shrimp is will affect how fast it is cooked.
Notes and Tips for this shrimp and spinach pasta
- When storing your shrimp spinach pasta leftovers, place it in the coldest part of your refrigerator – your shrimp will keep longer!
- Want to customize your taste a bit? Add some lemon zest for an intense-but-not-bitter lemony citrus taste. Throw in some shallots, green onion, or basil in the mix for freshness and flavor. Add mushrooms for a chunky surprise, or even sprinkle a bit of white wine at the end!
- Not a fan of traditional pasta? You can use whole grain noodles! Don’t want starchy pasta at all? You can substitute zucchini noodles or spaghetti squash for the fettuccine.
Shrimp, Spinach, and Tomato Pasta
This quick and easy dish of shrimp, spinach, and tomato is served on a bed of al dente fettuccine and is flavored with a simple lemon garlic butter sauce.
In a large
skillet, add olive oil and melt 1 tablespoon butter over medium high heat. Add 2 teaspoons garlic and cook until fragrant, about 2-4 minutes.
- Add raw shrimp to skillet and cook the first side of the shrimp for 1 minute. While shrimp cooks, sprinkle top of raw shrimp with 1/4 cup parmesan cheese and 1/4 tsp salt. Flip shrimp and cook for another minute until shrimp is pink and cooked through. Repeat step of sprinkling remaining parmesan cheese and salt on top of the shrimp.
- Reduce heat to medium. Add spinach, chopped tomatoes, crushed red pepper flakes, and remaining 2 teaspoons of garlic. Thoroughly stir ingredients and let cook for 5 minutes. Remove skillet from heat, cover, and set aside while preparing the pasta.
Cook pasta per package instructions. Once finished, drain pasta thoroughly and set nearby.
Return shrimp & veggie skillet to heating unit and warm over medium heat. Add pasta, lemon juice, and remaining 2 tbsp of butter. Add more salt and crushed red pepper, if desired to taste. Stir ingredients and allow to cook until butter has melted and ingredients are heated through, about 5-8 minutes.
- Dust top of pasta with more parmesan cheese. Serve immediately.
Recipe adapted from Julia’s Album.