posted in Cooking For Two

Angel Hair Pasta with Shrimp, Asparagus & Basil

When I was first married (16 years ago), I worked full-time as an elementary school teacher. I was up and out the door by 7am, and I didn’t get home until about 6. A pretty normal work schedule, I guess you could say. So I completely understand the stress of getting dinner ready quickly and/or the desire to order takeout over cooking it yourself for the busy, working population. As a new bride, I made pasta often. My go-to dish was garlic, basil and pine nuts sauteed in olive oil, then tossed with sundried tomatoes and angel hair pasta- topped with freshly grated Parmesan. It was quick and easy, it’s all I really knew how to make, and my husband thought it was great. I haven’t made that pasta dish in YEARS… because now I make things like this instead:

Here’s the how-to for making Angel Hair Pasta with Shrimp, Asparagus & Basil:

Here are all the ingredients you need- plus a little white wine & Parmesan.   It’s easy to do, especially if you prep everything ahead of time.

Heat up a little bit of olive oil in a large saute pan.

Add in the minced garlic that I love so much. Let it sizzle away and get fragrant & browned.

Chopped, fresh tomatoes will add some great color to this dish.

Asparagus ends are added next.

Add a few glugs of white wine.

A little salt too.

The vegetables are sauteed in the white wine to help soften then up and bring all of the flavors together.

The (softer) asparagus tips are then added in.

Shrimp! Use the already-cooked stuff (no need to buy fresh and de-vein and spend all that time messing with it).

Add a chunk of butter to the sauce. This will make it a little creamier & ready for your pasta.

You certainly can add any pasta you’d like, but I prefer to use the fresh angel hair type (find it near the fresh tortellini at your market). Toss it gently with the sauce.

Fresh basil is added just before serving.

A little freshly grated Parmesan is sprinkled on top, and you’ve got yourself a great, fresh pasta dish that is fairly easy to prepare.

I enjoyed this simplistic, fresh pasta dish. It’s a family friendly dinner too, though my little one picked around the “green stringy things” (basil). The husband loved it, as usual. It’s not all that far off from my pasta dish specialty of yesteryear, but the added vegetables and shrimp make it feel more like dinner and healthier for you too.  I really should make that old first-married-pasta-dish just for old times sake. I’d love to see if my husband remembers it from our days as newlyweds.  How could he possibly forget, right?  Something tells me he could forget.  I’ll have to let you know…

Yield: Serves 3 hungry people (or 4 smaller servings)

Prep Time: 30 min

Cook Time: 12 min

Angel Hair Pasta w/ Shrimp, Asparagus and Basil

Simple, fresh meal that is easy enough for tonight's dinner...


15 stalks thin fresh asparagus
1 Tablespoon olive oil
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
6 medium plum (Roma) tomatoes, seeded & chopped
1/2 cup dry white wine
1/4 teaspoon salt
12 ounces peeled & cooked shrimp
1 Tablespoon butter
9 ounces refrigerated fresh angel hair pasta, cooked & drained
1/4 cup shredded fresh basil
freshly shredded Parmesan cheese, for topping


1. Trim asparagus. Rinse in cold water; drain. Remove tips and set aside. Cut remaining stalks diagonally into 1-inch pieces.

2. Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium- heat. Add garlic and pepper and mix well. Cook for 1 minute, stirring constantly. Stir in tomatoes. Cook for 2 minutes, stirring frequently. Add the asparagus stalks, white wine and salt and mix well. Cook for 3 more minutes, stirring frequently. Stir in asparagus tips and shrimp. Cook for 1 minute, stirring constantly. Add the butter. Cook until butter melts, stirring constantly. Add the cooked pasta, tossing to mix. Stir in basil.

3. Divide into 3 to 4 bowls for serving; top with Parmesan cheese.


*Try substituting snow peas, sugar snap peas or broccoli for the asparagus.


42 Responses to “Angel Hair Pasta with Shrimp, Asparagus & Basil”

  1. postedMar 7, 2011 3:42 AM
    Lauren @ KeepItSweet

    What a delicious dinner. Not sure why I never think to put asparagus in pasta dishes!

  2. postedMar 7, 2011 3:42 AM

    I’m loving fresh basil right now, taking me right into summer. This looks so good Lori.

  3. postedMar 7, 2011 3:52 AM

    I love pasta with cream sauces, but my weight does not. You have lots of flavor here, but not as many bad calories, I like that a lot!

  4. postedMar 7, 2011 5:40 AM

    Great dinner recipe. This looks awesome.

  5. postedMar 7, 2011 6:45 AM

    Such a great dinner! I would love this on my dinner table tonight 🙂 Happy Monday!

  6. postedMar 7, 2011 6:50 AM

    I love light pasta dishes like this one.

  7. postedMar 7, 2011 7:19 AM

    YUM!! This look so light and colorful!! Perfect spring recipe 🙂

  8. postedMar 7, 2011 7:22 AM

    Simple wine sauces are one of my favorite ways to make pasta (something I didn’t do when I was first married either). This looks like such a fresh, tasty pasta dish.

  9. postedMar 7, 2011 7:32 AM
    Erin A.

    This looks amazing and I think it could be something I could adapt into a healthy version too! (we are TRYING to eat healthy, despite eating your cinnamon roll pancakes on Saturday lol). I think by ommitting the butter and subsituting light margarine or perhaps just omitting it all together and using “smart pasta” or whole wheat pasta…it could be a health conscious dinner too!
    I make a simple thai peanut sauce shrimp or chicken noodle bowl this way. Granted I use my fave bottle sauce, but with shrimp/chicken, whole wheat pasta and some other veggies etc….excellent for WW or healthy recipe followers!

  10. postedMar 7, 2011 7:32 AM
    Erin A.

    I’ll have to post that quick recipe on my site soon AND my version of this (linking to you of course) YUMM!

  11. postedMar 7, 2011 9:17 AM

    Wow, Lori! This looks incredible! And, I usually have all the ingredients on-hand. Will have to try it soon!

  12. postedMar 7, 2011 10:30 AM

    You started out way better than I did, my poor husband ate a lot of oatmeal in the beginning 😉 Thanks for sharing, this recipe looks easy and delicious!

  13. postedMar 7, 2011 6:02 PM

    I love this! I’m a teacher, so I really appreciate quick and tasty! Sometimes it hard to think after ten to twelve hours in the elementary world. 🙂

  14. postedMar 7, 2011 6:22 PM

    This looks so light and lovely!

  15. postedMar 7, 2011 6:40 PM
    Amanda L. (Tales fro

    This looks very refreshing! And so simple too!

  16. postedMar 7, 2011 7:15 PM

    What a fabulous quick and easy dinner recipe! I appreciate quick and easy as a busy mommy and a full-time worker! 🙂 Can’t wait to try this Lori! Thanks for sharing.

  17. postedMar 7, 2011 8:47 PM
    Erin A.

    I’m making this, this week! Can’t wait. Tonight I made a lighter version of Jambalaya with Andouille Sausage and Shrimp! ONly 11 WW pointsplus points for 1 1/2 cups! So good I had to post it on my blog for Fat Tuesday! 🙂 What are you going to make for Mardi Gras? Can’t wait to see! Again, as always thank you for all the great recipes!!!!

  18. postedMar 7, 2011 8:57 PM

    Gorgeous! I’ve never used fresh angel hair before. I’ll have to try soon.

  19. postedMar 8, 2011 7:36 AM

    This is a great spring pasta, Lori!

  20. postedMar 8, 2011 8:59 AM

    Delicious! Love Asparagus recipes this time of year!

  21. postedMar 8, 2011 12:15 PM

    Such a pretty use of our fresh veggies right now – I love the shrimp addition. I always order seafood pastas when we go out (especially love one at Viva Italia in Encinitas) but I never think to do it at home.

  22. postedMar 8, 2011 12:58 PM

    Such a quick, easy dinner! I especially love the addition of asparagus in there.

  23. postedMar 8, 2011 6:56 PM

    Pasta is my favorite weeknight meal. This looks yummy!

  24. postedMar 9, 2011 8:32 AM

    Thanks for the great recipe . . . I made this for dinner last night — delicious! I made two changes – one was raw shrimp (it was in the freezer) and the other was eliminating the wine (we don’t use alcohol in our home). A great dinner (and wonderful leftovers for lunch today! Thank you for this simple, quick meal.

  25. postedMar 11, 2011 4:12 AM

    I love pasta…pretty much any of it 🙂 This recipe looks awesome and your pictures are so pretty!!

  26. postedMar 15, 2011 8:15 AM

    Can’t get any easier!

  27. postedMar 16, 2011 11:34 AM
    Gina B

    Made this last night, it was delicious!

  28. postedMar 17, 2011 9:35 AM
    Erin A.

    I tried this last week and honestly we found it to be lacking in flavor. Not sure if I did something wrong as I followed the directions/recipe to the letter….

    • postedMay 3, 2011 11:40 AM

      When all else fails w/ pasta… add more Parmesan Cheese 🙂

  29. postedMay 22, 2011 4:27 PM

    I’ve got a 3rd date next week and wanted to impress so I tested the recipe this weekend. I don’t cook much and when I do, I cook well but not great. This will knock him out for sure. Stick to all fresh ingredients. Light and very satisfying.

  30. postedNov 16, 2011 4:31 PM

    This is pretty good. But if you are a food critic like me, the only shrimp worth putting in your mouth are the real ones. Ingredients: Shrimp. The only ones at grocery stores are typically farm raised in a substandard environment, then are doused in sodium tripolyphosphate which effects the composition and flavor. It is adulterated food. If you have ever had wild caught shrimp, you would taste the difference, like night and day. Cooking style is another subject of course. Good recipe.

    • postedNov 16, 2011 5:36 PM

      I wholeheartedly agree!

  31. postedDec 8, 2011 6:41 PM

    Unfortunately the final product from this recipe lacks significant flavor. It really looks fantastic and the garlic smells wonderful when cooking; sadly the final product is not very good. A few suggestions to anyone would be to season the asparagus with salt and pepper before cooking, add a lot more pepper, butter, wine, and basil than the recipe calls for to allow the sauce to gain flavor.

    • postedDec 8, 2011 8:46 PM

      Bummer. I actually liked the simple flavor of it all.

  32. postedJan 12, 2012 7:31 PM
    nat f

    Great pasta dish! I just added more salt, pepper, garlic & white wine than the original recipe. Since I didn’t have fresh basil I substituted it for the dry basil leaves.

  33. postedJan 26, 2012 1:52 AM

    I made this recipe for dinner tonight, amended the recipe bit using fresh shrimp (put them in first) zucchini, onion, and a little bit of lemon juice. I also dished out the pasta first and then put the in extras and poured the sauce on top. Worked great- really fresh and a good summer dish! Thanks for posting.

  34. postedMar 26, 2012 4:27 PM
    Deborah Joan

    I made this tonight and LOVED it! I had no plans for dinner so I’m walking around the store and remembered I had asparagus, I had a large “big ugly” tomato, some mushrooms. I picked up some shrimp (cooked) as it was on sale. I read the comments and thought that for those who don’t use alcohol they could use the same amount of chicken broth.

    I also thought the flavor was incredibly light and delicious. I will def make this again as my husband told me to “Bookmark” it. Oh, I had added mushrooms, & onions as I had to use them. Oh, and I found this by searching on my iPad for “asparagus & shrimp” I LOVE Google! Thank you for sharing this lovely recipe and for the great pictures!

  35. postedApr 15, 2012 5:19 PM

    i just love this website,im learning to cook. i clicked some other ones but yours is so easy to follow and the pictures make it easier to understand, once again thank you. on my way to becoming a good cook, awesome!!! (:

  36. postedNov 8, 2012 7:14 PM

    i made this tonight and it was a hit. rave reviews and everyone enjoyed it. so quick abd easy.

  37. postedMay 22, 2013 7:03 PM

    Tried this tonight, I grow asparagus and just had to try, wish my tomatoes & basil were in season. Delish!!! Also sprinkled some dried hot peppers on it. A keeper for sure!

  38. postedJul 23, 2013 1:54 PM

    Do you have to use white wine in this recipe?

    • postedJul 26, 2013 5:46 AM

      You can sub chicken broth for the white wine, if you’d like.

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