A quick and easy shrimp and spinach pasta recipe made without cream. The secret ingredient is mascarpone. Use pre-cooked shrimp and fettuccine for a restaurant quality weeknight dinner you can make in less than 30 minutes.
Are you looking for something other than chicken to make for dinner when you don’t have time or the energy to come up with a delicious meal. While queso chicken is fabulous and taco spaghetti is a great one pot meal, you’re going to want to add this shrimp and spinach pasta recipe to your weeknight rotation.
What’s so fabulous about this pasta dish is that it’s so simple to make yet it’s good enough to serve to friends. Or maybe you’re looking for a date night dinner, this creamy pasta recipe is perfect for special occasions.
While fettuccine alfredo is great, try something different. Shrimp and spinach pasta is ultra creamy but won’t weigh you down. It’s still pretty decadent with mascarpone giving it that melt-in-your-mouth quality.
What is mascarpone cheese
If you’re not familiar with mascarpone, it’s an Italian cheese that’s used when filling cannoli’s. No wonder this is go good! Unlike cream cheese, it has a slightly sweet and buttery taste and a higher fat content which is what gives it such a creamy taste. The closest substitute would be creme fraiche.
What you’ll need
- Fettuccine pasta – a flat pasta is best to absorb the sauce, other types of pasta like angel hair or penne don’t work as well. If you don’t have fettuccine, then try bucatini.
- Butter, green onions and garlic – these form the base of the sauce. You could also add some mushrooms.
- White wine – it takes less than a cup so you’ll still have plenty to drink with dinner.
- Shrimp – to save time, I use frozen cooked shrimp. If you have uncooked shrimp, you can saute them in the butter and garlic before adding the wine.
- Mascarpone – just 8 ounces, which is the small container that can be found in the cheese section of the grocery.
- Fresh baby spinach – try to use baby spinach which is more tender and sweet. I use about 8 cups, but you can adjust per your taste.
How do you make shrimp and spinach pasta
Step 1: Cook the pasta and drain. While the pasta is cooking, prepare the sauce.
Step 2: Start with a large skillet that will fit all of the pasta. Melt butter and add green onions and garlic.
Once softened add white wine and simmer until reduced.
Step 3: Stir in mascarpone until melted. Add the pasta and shrimp and toss until the pasta is coated.
If you have picky eaters who don’t like seafood, toss the pasta, take some out and then add the shrimp and spinach. The pasta and sauce is fabulous all by itself.
Step 4: Add fresh spinach and cook until it has wilted. It’ll look like you have too much spinach but once it’s cooked it will be just the right amount.
Step 5: Sprinkle with parmesan and serve.
What I love about this is that it’s quick to put together and pretty hard to mess up. Other than the pot for the pasta, you only have one pan to clean. If you have last minute friends for dinner, you can turn out a wonderful diner without any fear of failure, and in about 10 minutes. If you want a lighter shrimp and pasta recipe, try shrimp carbonara with fresh corn.
What can you serve with shrimp and spinach pasta
Since you already have veggies, carbs and protein, you don’t really need anything else. But when I have friends over, I’m always a little over the top. Try adding one of these salads:
- Spicy fruit salad
- Tequila lime fruit salad
- Corn and blueberry salad
- Peach and tomato salad
- Fruit salad with honey lime dressing
More quick and easy dinner ideas
FAQ’s and tips
Mascarpone has a higher fat content than cream cheese and is a little sweeter so it will not have the same texture or flavor. You can still substitute cream cheese it just won’t be quite as creamy. A better substitute would be creme fraiche.
Yes, you will need to cook them with the butter, onions and garlic before adding the wine and mascarpone.
The mascarpone sauce will coat a flat pasta like fettuccine the best.
What kind of spinach should you use for shrimp pasta?
Fresh baby spinach is more tender and has a sweeter taste than the more mature spinach. Do not use frozen spinach.
To make this dish an easy weeknight dinner, use frozen pre-cooked shrimp any size shrimp are fine.
Shrimp and Spinach Pasta
- 12 ounces fettuccine
- 4 tablespoons butter
- 8 green onions about ¼ cup chopped
- 3 cloves garlic minced
- ¾ cup white wine
- 8 ounces mascarpone
- 1 lb cooked shrimp
- 5 ounces fresh baby spinach about 8 cups
- parmesan cheese
- Add pasta to a pot of boiling salted water and cook until al dente. Drain.
- While the pasta is cooking, melt butter in a large skillet and add green onions and garlic. Cook over medium heat until softened, about 2 minutes. Add wine and simmer until it is reduced by half, about 2 minutes.
- Stir in mascarpone until melted. Salt and pepper to taste. Add cooked shrimp and pasta, tossing until completely coated.
- Stir in fresh spinach and cook until wilted. Season with salt and pepper and sprinkle with parmesan cheese.
Barbara’s Tips + Notes
- If using fresh shrimp, add it before you add the wine.
- Try adding mushrooms with the onions and garlic.
- You could substitute creme fraiche for the mascarpone.
- Make sure you use fresh spinach for the best flavor.