If you love aglio e olio, then you’ll love that this version of your favorite garlic pasta adds the sweet, mellow flavor of shrimp!
Spaghetti aglio e olio is a traditional Italian pasta that translates to “spaghetti with garlic and oil”. It is one of the most popular Italian pasta, not just because of its taste, but because of the ease with which it is prepared. (If you are allergic to shellfish, you can skip the shrimp and cook it the classic way.)
Which kind of olive oil to use?
Traditional aglio e olio features only two main flavors: garlic and olive oil. Even with the addition of the shrimp in this recipe, the olive oil is still a major flavor, adding a delicate herby, fruity undertone to each bite.
You will find that there are different kinds of olive oil in the supermarket; the most common of which are extra virgin olive oil, olive oil, and pomace olive oil.
The recipe uses extra virgin olive oil as it has the strongest olive flavor. It is the first extraction from cold-pressed olives, which means that it is processed the least and no heat has been used to extract oil from the olives that may change the oil’s natural structure.
To maximize the olives, it can be pressed again to yield more olive oil. This is the olive oil many of us know as regular olive oil (marketed as “Pure Olive Oil”). This kind of olive oil can be blended with extra virgin olive oil to give it a more olive taste. This is how lighter-tasting olive oil can be made. While it may be less strong in flavor than extra virgin olive oil, it is still good to use and actually takes longer to evaporate when used for cooking.
Lastly, pomace olive oil is oil that has been chemically extracted from what remains from the olive fruit after the extra virgin and olive oils have been processed. While pomace olive oil is still made from olives, it is not considered “real olive oil” according to international olive oil standards since solvents and heat have been used to further extract oil from the leftover fruit. The olive taste in pomace olive oil thus is usually diminished already, and for dishes like this one where olive oil is the main feature, it is best to use higher quality olive oils.
Other Tips For Cooking Garlic Shrimp Pasta
Don’t have extra virgin olive oil? You can also use butter instead of olive oil. This substitution makes a richer, more decadent garlic butter shrimp recipe, which is just as simple to make and equally delicious. You can use either salted or unsalted butter, but remember to adjust how much salt you add when you use salted butter.
Want to kick it up a notch? You can add another dimension of flavor to your garlic shrimp pasta by adding a dash of red chili flakes, right at the end as you toss the pasta. The red chili flakes pair well with garlic and add a nice heat to the sweetness of the shrimp and are sure to whet your appetite more as you eat.
If you want to make your garlic shrimp pasta a little healthier, you can also add in some spinach or other green leafy vegetables. They can be tossed right after the shrimp is cooked and before adding the pasta. You can also brighten up this dish by squeezing a lemon slice over it before eating; the pop of citrus gives the garlic shrimp pasta a fresher taste!
Garlic Shrimp Pasta Recipe
Garlic Shrimp Pasta Ingredients
- 200 Grams spaghetti
- 1/2 Cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 5 cloves Garlic peeled, chopped
- 1/4 kilo Shrimp peeled, deveined, tails intact
- Salt to taste
- ground black pepper to taste
- 2 tablespoons parsley chopped
- water for boiling
- Bring a pot of water to a boil. Season with salt and add spaghetti. Stir then let cook 8 minutes. Drain, reserving 1/4 cup pasta water, and keep warm.
- Meanwhile, in a large pan over low heat, heat oil and add garlic. Gently simmer garlic until it begins to turn golden. Season lightly with salt. Season shrimps with salt and ground pepper. Add shrimps to the pan and cook until opaque on both sides.
- Add cooked spaghetti and pasta water to the pan and toss to coat. Season to taste with salt and ground black pepper. Serve immediately topped with parsley.