Creamy Shrimp Pasta with Mushrooms has a lot going for it. A hearty pasta dish with deliciously seasoned shrimp cooked with creole seasonings and tomatoes in a mushroom cream sauce. Sweet Daddy D’s Creamy Shrimp Pasta with Mushrooms is another no-angst recipe featuring plump Gulf Shrimp and a Creole character.
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[Publishers Note: I originally published this recipe (under the title Bow-tie Shrimp) in June 2017 and republished it in June 2020. This recipe is very popular, so this revision provides some clarifications with step-by-step instructions and photographs of each step. Let me know what you think.]
Shrimp and Pasta?
Creole and Cajun cooks have forever excelled with the natural bounty provided by South Louisiana waterways and the Gulf of Mexico. This recipe is a great opportunity to showcase plump, fresh Gulf Shrimp, one of the jewels in the culinary crown. Sicilian immigrants introduced pasta to South Louisiana in the early 1900s, so the combination of shrimp and pasta was inevitable for Creole chefs. The touch of tomatoes and Creole-style seasonings make this dish a hit.
Here Is What You Need
Here are some of the key ingredients for this recipe:
The shrimp should be between Medium and Large sizes and can be fresh or frozen. Check out my article What Size Shrimp Do I Need? to learn more about shrimp sizes
I use Bow-tie, or farfalle pasta because I think the size matches the shrimp and mushrooms perfectly and the shape cries out for a creamy sauce. You can substitute your favorite pasta. Make sure it is a pasta made to cling to the sauce. Check out the Hints and Tips section below for substitutes
Here is some of the equipment I used to prepare this recipe:
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Here Is What You Do
First...you have a beer. This recipe cooks quickly so it’s easier if you are prepared and have all the ingredients ready to go. That starts with reading the recipe all the way through to make sure you have everything you need and you know what you are doing with each ingredient. So, pop the top off of a beer and read the recipe while you sip. If you do your mise en place and properly prepare each ingredient beforehand, you eliminate surprises so all you have to do is assemble the recipe. Ingredients that go in the pan at the same time can usually be put in the same bowl.
Mise en Place
Cook the pasta to al dente as directed on the package and drain it in a colander. Don’t rinse the pasta but reserve about ¼ cup of the pasta cooking liquid. Place it back in the pot you cooked it in and set it aside until needed.
Peel and devein the shrimp, if necessary. Rinse them thoroughly in cold water, pat dry with paper towels and place them in a bowl. Mix a couple of teaspoons of creole seasoning into the shrimp and set them aside.
Slice the onion into crescents, slice the mushrooms and chop the garlic. Make sure that these ingredients are set aside separately because they go in the pan separately.
Drain the tomatoes (if using canned). If you are using fresh tomatoes, peel and de-seed them. My article on the best way to peel a tomato shows you how to do that. Place the Creole seasoning, kosher salt and ground pepper in a prep bowl. Cut the butter into tablespoons and measure the olive oil into a prep bowl and the heavy cream into a measuring cup. Now you are ready to go, how is your beer?
Saute the vegetables
In a large skillet, heat the oil and 2 tablespoons of butter over medium-high heat until the butter bubbles. Add the sliced onions and sauté for a couple of minutes until softening and starting to clear.
Throw in the mushrooms and continue to sauté until the mushrooms start to brown, which should be 5 to 8 minutes.
To this add the garlic, Creole seasoning, kosher salt and black pepper and continue to sauté until you smell the aromatics of the garlic and seasoning, about 2 minutes. Besides the amazing aroma, you just added some amazing color to this dish.
Next, add the drained diced tomatoes, mix together well and saute until the liquid mostly evaporates. Stir constantly for about 3 minutes.
Saute the shrimp
Increase the heat to high and add the shrimp. Toss and sauté until the shrimp just start to turn pink which will only be about 2 minutes.
Add the cream
The remaining 2 tablespoons of butter go in next. Shake the pan back and forth while it begins to melt, then stir in the heavy cream and bring it all to a heavy simmer. Reduce the heat to a low simmer for about 3 minutes as the sauce thickens. Be careful not to thicken the sauce so much that it won't be enough to coat all the pasta. You want it pretty juicy.
Add the pasta
While the sauce is simmering, add the reserved ¼ cup of pasta cooking liquid to the pasta and mix well to loosen. Add the pasta to the sauce, starting with about half of the pasta; mix it all together well, then add more pasta until it is the consistency you want.
It should be creamy with all the pasta well coated. Don’t add so much pasta that it's not all coated. Remove the pan from the heat. Taste for salt and seasonings and add as needed. It is ready to serve with a sprinkle of grated Parmesan or Romano cheese on top if you want.
Hints and Tips (FAQs)
This is a simple and quick recipe. However, I have managed to screw it up in the past by 1) overcooking the shrimp and 2) overcooking the pasta.
The shrimp will be cooked in about 8 minutes and very tender. Cooking the shrimp too long will make them rubbery and tough, which is not the optimal condition. Be mindful of the time when you add the shrimp.
You want the pasta to be al dente so that it does not overcook in the sauce. Al dente will have a little bite to it when you eat it. Mushy pasta is no fun.
When buying fresh shrimp with shells on, you will need to buy more than the quantity needed for the recipe to account for the weight of the shells. For shrimp with shells and heads on, buy about 1 ¾ to 2 pounds to net 1 pound of meat. If you find shrimp without the heads, buy about 1 ½ pounds to account for the shells. Save the shells and heads to make Homemade Shrimp Stock for use in other recipes. The shells and heads can be frozen in airtight containers until you have enough to make stock.
Sure, you can substitute white meat chicken or crawfish for the shrimp. If you use crawfish tails, cook this recipe according to these same instructions. Chicken should be diced into pieces and sauteed for about 10 minutes before adding the cream for the sauce, then simmer an additional 10 minutes in the sauce. Add more cream if the sauce reduces too much.
I use Bow-tie Pasta (commonly referred to as farfalle) because of the broad noodles. It seems to be a perfect match for the size of the shrimp and mushrooms. Feel free to use your favorite shape but I recommend something broad or with ridges that will collect sauce. Fusilli, penne and fettuccine are good choices but there are many others. Cook it al dente.
Leftovers can be stored in the fridge for 3 to 4 days in an airtight container. You can reheat it in the microwave or in a saucepan on top of the stove. If using the microwave, reheat it slowly so the pasta and shrimp do not overcook. (Depending on the strength of the microwave, cook 30 seconds, stir, then heat for another 30-plus seconds until warmed through.) Make sure to stir it a couple of times while reheating (microwave or stovetop) so that the sauce does not separate.
This can also be kept in the freezer. If it’s in an airtight container, it should maintain its quality for up to 6 months. Cooked pasta is usually not happy being frozen, but mixed with the sauce it should be fine. Let it thaw in the refrigerator overnight, then reheat in the microwave or stovetop, stirring a few times so the sauce doesn’t separate.
Looking for something to have on the "side"? Check out these ideas from Sweet Daddy D:
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Yeah You Right!
Creamy Shrimp Pasta with Mushrooms
Here's What You Need
- 12 ounces Bow-tie pasta Cooked as directed on box
- 1 pound medium to large shrimp
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 4 tablespoons Butter in-all
- 2 cups yellow onion 1 medium onion-sliced in half moons
- 11/2 cups Baby bella or white mushrooms Sliced
- 1 ½ tablespoon garlic About 3 cloves-chopped
- 1 ½ cups diced tomatoes 1 10.5 ounce can-drained
- 1 ½ cups Heavy Cream
- 1 tablespoon Creole seasoning plus some for the shrimp
- 1 ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
- ¼ cup parmesan cheese grated
Here's What You Do
- Cook the pasta al dente as directed on the box; drain well but don't rinse; reserve about ¼ cup of the pasta cooking liquid; place the drained pasta back in the pot you cooked it in; set it aside.
- Peel and devein the shrimp if necessary. Rinse the shrimp in cold water. Pat dry with a paper towel; place them in a bowl and mix in a couple of teaspoons of creole seasoning. Set aside.
- Chop the onion into crescents; chop the garlic, slice the mushrooms, put the creole seasoning, kosher salt and ground black pepper in a little bowl, cut the butter and measure the cream. Open the can of diced tomatoes and let them drain through a large strainer. See Notes for fresh tomatoes.
- Heat the oil and 2 tablespoons of butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat. When the oil/butter mixture is bubbling, add the sliced onions and sauté for a couple of minutes.
- Add the mushrooms and continue to sauté until the mushrooms start to brown-about 5 minutes.
- When the mushrooms are starting to brown and the onions are starting to caramelize, add in the garlic, Creole seasoning, kosher salt and black pepper. Continue to sauté until you can start to smell the aromatics of the garlic-about a minute or two.
- Stir in the drained diced tomatoes and mix together well. Sauté another 2 or 3 minutes, stirring often.
- Increase the heat to high and add the shrimp. Toss and stir together and sauté until the shrimp just start to turn pink-about 2 minutes.
- Maintaining a high heat, add the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter to the pan.
- Add the heavy cream, mix well and bring to a heavy simmer. Turn the heat down to a low simmer and let it thicken for about 3 minutes. (Keep an eye on it at this point-you don't want it to cook down and thicken so much that it won't be enough left to coat all the pasta, so you want it pretty juicy).
- While the sauce is simmering, add the reserved ¼ cup of pasta cooking liquid to the cooked pasta and mix well.
- Mix the pasta into the sauce, starting with about half. Once that is fully incorporated, add more pasta until it's the consistency you want. It should be creamy with all the pasta well coated with sauce.
- Remove the skillet from the heat. Taste for seasoning and add more if desired.
- Serve it with a sprinkle of grated Parmesan or Romano cheese on top.