Micah A. Leal
Active Time
45 Mins
Total Time
45 Mins
Yield
5 servings

Think you have to go out to dinner to indulge in a plate of out-of-this-world shrimp alfredo? With just 45 minutes and less than 10 ingredients, you can whip up this delicious recipe for an epically delicious dinner.

More than any other component of a dish, making a sauce from scratch has the power to elevate a recipe to the next level. A sauce is versatile and can layer in new flavors, lend richness or acidity, and introduce different textures.

Making a sauce from scratch can sound intimidating and time consuming, but hear us out. You can make this alfredo sauce, and we’ll show you how—and just how easy it is.

Related: Our Best Shrimp Recipes of All Time

Most Alfredo recipes are heavy with cream, and the fat in the cream mutes the flavors of anything else incorporated into the sauce, creating a flat and heavy pasta. But for something as delicate and sweet as shrimp, we developed an Alfredo sauce that’s both rich and savory while allowing the taste of pasta and shrimp to stand out. Instead of cream, our alfredo sauce calls for pasta water, milk, and an egg yolk to create the sauce’s base.

The two secrets to our recipe are real Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese (which is more expensive in the grocery store but leaps and bounds higher in quality and flavor) and two strips of lemon peel. Slowly sprinkling the cheese into the hot liquid while you whisk creates a creamy and powerfully complex Alfredo sauce, and the lemon peel releases its oils into the sauce as it cooks, giving a subtle citrus note to the garlic-parmesan sauce.

Related: 3 Sauces Every Cook Should Know How to Make

Finished with the heat of cracked black pepper and the crisp freshness of chopped parsley, this shrimp Alfredo balances the fresh, sweet, and juicy flavor of shrimp, parsley, lemon with the deeper flavors of garlic and Parmigiano-Reggiano. It’s a recipe designed to boost your cooking confidence and forever raise the bar for what you expect from a shrimp Alfredo.

How to Make It

Step 1

In a large pot, season 4 quarts of water generously with 1/4 cup kosher salt. Bring water to boil. Cook pasta according to package instructions to al dente. Reserve 1 cup of the pasta water. Strain pasta, and set pasta and reserved pasta water aside.

Step 2

In a skillet, melt 2 tablespoons of butter over medium high heat. Once butter has melted and begins to foam, add shrimp and cook, tossing occasionally, until the flesh is pink and the shrimp have just begun to curl, about 3 minutes. Remove from heat.

Step 3

In a small bowl, whisk together milk and egg yolk until completely combined. Slowly stream in 1/2 cup of the reserved pasta water into the milk mixture, whisking to combine. Set aside.

Step 4

In a large skillet over medium-high, melt remaining 4 tablespoons butter. Add garlic and stir into butter until foamy and fragrant, 1 minute. Add milk mixture and lemon peel to the skillet and constantly whisk until the butter is no longer separated and the mixture begins to bubble and foam. Slowly sprinkle 1 cup of the grated Parmigiano-Reggiano into the liquid as you whisk. Allow sauce to bubble and continue stirring gently until mixture thickens slightly, about 5 minutes. Remove strips of lemon peel and discard. Add cooked pasta to the sauce, and gently toss pasta to evenly coat. Once pasta is well coated, add remaining 1/4 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano to the pasta and continue tossing until melted and well distributed. (Note: if the sauce seems to thick, add a little of the remaining reserved pasta water to loosen the sauce.)

Step 5

Remove pasta from heat, add cooked shrimp to pasta, and season with freshly ground black pepper, if desired. Garnish with additional Parmigiano-Reggiano and fresh parsley immediately before serving.