Angel Hair Pasta with Shrimp and Lemon Cream Sauce

Some recipes are just so good I can’t wait to share them with you, and this is one of them. It’s simple. Just peeled shrimp, cooked just through in a sauce of cream and lemon juice, and tossed with herbs, angel hair pasta, and some freshly grated Parmesan cheese. My dad was over when we were making it and kept looking up from his bowl saying, “oh, this is a good one.” I’ve been poking into the fridge all afternoon sneaking more tastes from the leftovers, a small bowl of just a couple bites reheated in the microwave.

For those of you tempted to leave out the cream, yes, you can do that if you want. I’ve tried it without the cream and in my opinion, it’s not nearly as good. Personally I would just eat a smaller portion. Because of the cream it’s more filling and you don’t need as much pasta for a serving.

Angel Hair Pasta with Shrimp and Lemon Cream Sauce Recipe

  • Prep time: 15 minutes
  • Cook time: 15 minutes
  • Yield: Serves 4.

We used medium shrimp (41-50 per pound) for this recipe, but little cocktail shrimp would also work. Use heavy whipping cream to avoid curdling when mixed and heated with the lemon juice.

Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 1/4 cup chicken stock
  • 3 Tbsp lemon juice
  • 3/4 pound angel hair pasta (also called capellini)
  • Salt and black pepper
  • 1 pound raw medium shrimp, peeled and deveined*
  • 1/2 cup (loosely packed) chopped parsley
  • 1/4 cup (loosely packed) chopped chives
  • Zest of a lemon
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese

*To defrost frozen shrimp, place them in a bowl of ice water.

Method

1 Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.

2 In a smaller pot, heat the cream, chicken stock and lemon juice to a low simmer. Simmer gently for 5 minutes.

3 Add the angel hair pasta to the boiling water.

4 Add the shrimp to the simmering lemon cream sauce. Stir well and add a pinch of salt and black pepper. The shrimp should cook in about the same time as the angel hair pasta, about 4 to 5 minutes.

5 When the pasta is done, drain and put it in a large bowl. Add the herbs to the simmering lemon cream sauce and let them cook for about 1 minute. Pour the shrimp and lemon sauce into the pasta bowl and mix well. Add the lemon zest and most of the parmesan and mix again. Divide into servings, and top with the remaining parmesan.

Note, if the resulting mixture seems too dry, just add a little water or cream. If it seems too wet, don't worry, the pasta will absorb the sauce.

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Links:

Shrimp Scampi with Angel Hair - from The Pioneer Woman
Angel hair with Shrimp and Calamari - from TasteFood
Shrimp and Pasta with Tomato-Chile Cream Sauce - from Farmgirl's Dabbles

45 Comments

  1. Natalie

    This looks fantastic! I make a shrimp dish with Italian seasoning that’s similar, but lemon juice sounds good too. Thanks for the idea!

  2. Becki's Whole Life

    Oh, wow – making this. We have been on such a shrimp kick lately and there is just something about shrimp over angel hair pasta. The lemon cream sauce and yummy herbs and cheese just put this one over the top!

  3. Danny

    Are the shrimp in this recipe already cooked? frozen? raw?

    Raw. They cook in the sauce. ~Elise

  4. Framed Cooks

    This looks absolutely perfect…and I am totally with you on the cream! I’d rather have less with it then more without it…it just adds that certain special something! Thanks for another wonderful recipe. :)

  5. diane t.

    This is an inspiration, even to those of us who cannot tolerate dairy: how about coconut milk instead? Lime or lemongrass in place of the lemon & a little cilantro would be in keeping with Thai flavors…Thank you Elise!

    Great idea Diane! ~Elise

  6. Jim

    A throwdown against shrimp scampi, and this fine shrimp in lemon cream sauce won at my table. Please come forward, Elise, once again, and accept the winner’s trophy!

  7. T.Sims

    I love seafood, but often have guests who don’t. What about subbing chicken for those poor souls who know not the joys of shrimp?

    Sure! If you try it that way, please let us know how it turns out for you. ~Elise

  8. Sue

    I made this last night and substituted chicken for the shrimp. I sliced the chicken into very thin strips so that it would cook thoroughly in the same amount of time the shrimp would have. It was WONDERFUL!

  9. Hillbilly Willy

    Willy likes this one. Willy does something similar but this sounds better.

    10-4 Willy

  10. Caitlin

    Made this last night. Very good :)

  11. Janet

    I made this last night, too, with thinly sliced chicken breast. Grilled it in a hot pan with olive oil, butter and garlic buds (tossed out the garlic – just wanted to infuse it in the chicken a bit).YUM! Came home at lunch time to eat the leftovers, but I was too late…my daughter beat me to it. Thanks Elise.

  12. Mango Mike

    I substituted fresh basil (chopped fine with parsley) for the chives…it was really good.

  13. Laurie

    I love pasta! This looks delicious. Thanks so much for sharing the recipe.

  14. Kelly

    I have left over salmon prepared with lemon. Do you think it would be good instead of shrimp? I love shrimp but I also love using up left overs. Let me know what you think. I will be making it tomorrow night. This looks really good. I am so impressed with all of your receipes. Always a hit.

    I think it would be great with salmon! ~Elise

  15. Brandon

    Made this just now. Threw a whole bag of frozen shrimp (350 g) in while the cream, lemon juice and stock were warmed up in the beginning. Added some broccoli to the pasta pot and just strained it with the pasta and some cayenne for a little spice.

    Really nice. Super easy, two pots, 25 min. Highly recommended.

  16. ron

    Why do you have to put parsley and chives on this recipe. That ruins it. Too many ingredients. It was a good recipe without those two.

    Parsley (and to some degree chives as well) is a bitter, which brightens the flavors of savory dishes to which it is added. You could easily put much less, or leave it out all together. But the green does play an important role in this dish. ~Elise

  17. Jan Walton

    I haven’t cooked shrimp before:( How can I tell when the shrimp are fully cooked? Or..if I use cocktail shrimp, are they already cooked?

    If you use the small pink cocktail shrimp, they are already cooked. If you use raw shrimp, they will be a bit translucent when raw, and opaque when cooked through. ~Elise

  18. Renee

    Planted stuff in the garden and then had this dish served with roasted asparagus and a glass of wine – a capper to a day that signifies spring/summer is reliably here in the NW! Really enjoyed…used basil instead of chives as one commenter suggested and used Trader Joe’s Lemon Pepper pappardelle….not too much lemon for us. Rated a do-over! Thanks.

  19. Susan

    Excellent! Added some dill from the garden, along with a little bit of chopped red pepper for color. Found squid ink pasta at a local store. All nice additions. Nice technique/will use again often.

  20. Max

    Took the pasta out earlier for a more al dente feel and they tasted great.

  21. Bob

    I’ve got some lemon curd that I used in a chicken recipe over the weekend. Any ideas how to make use of that in this recipe? How should I adjust the cream? or is lemon curd just too sweet?

    Hi Bob, my guess is that the lemon curd is going to be too sweet for this recipe. ~Elise

  22. Sonali Pradhan

    I made this recipe sometime back , instead of whipping cream I used heavy coconut milk , also I used rosemary instead of chives and parsley….it was just awesome !!!

  23. suzanne vadnais

    isn’t this missing garlic ? i cannot imagine shrimp and lemon without garlic – has anyone tried it with garlic ?

    Honestly? It doesn’t need garlic, but you are welcome to add some if you want. ~Elise

  24. Cheryl Burns

    This dish is super yummy and quite easy to make. My fiance and I both enjoyed it very much. I ended up using frozen shrimp that was already deviened; just had to defrost and peel them. I thought the sauce was an appropriate amount, of course, my fiance wanted it to be more saucy (he always wants more sauce!). Thanks for sharing this recipe!

  25. Lisa_S

    Wow! This must be how summer tastes! It’s so refreshing a dish. Hard to believe that Heavy Cream can be summer-y, but it must be lemon and zest. It’s just so good and easy to make. 3/4 of a box of angel hair was a bit too much for 1 person, I would use 1/2 a box next time. I like the idea of steamed broccoli or asparagus to go with it.

  26. BSJ

    I made this a couple of days ago and it was great! The only change I made was to use basil instead of chives, because that’s what I had on hand and it was suggested by another commenter. Will definitely make this again!

  27. Nishma

    This was amazing! And so easy. I chopped up too much of the parsley and chives, so I stirred them into some ricotta cheese and folded the mixture into scrambled eggs the next morning. A “twofer” one. :)

  28. Debra

    I made this for dinner, exactly as written. Delicious!!

  29. Inez

    Wow.. this was great. I was looking for a fast, easy and tasty dinner. Found it!

  30. Crystal

    This recipe was delicious. I will be adding it to my dinner menu in the future.

  31. Pam Fuller

    Am trying this for dinner tonight using frozen prawns,thawed first, but will heat thoroughly without further cooking,will also substitute mushrooms for my daughter who doesn’t like prawns.
    THIS SITE IS GREAT SO SIMPLE TO USE THANKYOU ELISE.

  32. Kacey

    I am trying this tonight, but I was also curious about adding a little garlic, or maybe cooking the shrimp in garlic and butter and then adding it to the sauce at the end…has anyone tried this?

  33. Destonistar

    Made this recipe during the week and found myself craving it all week. I didn’t have parsley but used cilantro instead. Going to my daughters tomorrow and am going to surprize her with my new found culinary talent. Tried strawberry crepes last week. Kind of a culinary fail. Note to self: put lid on blender before starting blender. Anyone have a good remedy for getting strawberry stains off ceiling?

  34. April

    I made this dish for my in-laws and it came out fantastic!! My mother-in-law asked me for the recipe when she was getting ready to leave. It is not hard to make but you do have to be careful with the fresh seafood so as not to over cook it. I used fresh jumbo shrimp and fresh bay scallops and cooked them in a pan with garlic and olive oil separately and added to pasta and sauce just before serving. I would highly recommend this recipe!!

  35. Ennealogic

    A fine alternative to scampi (I love garlic)… the cream and lemon juice plus the fresh herbs make this pasta with shrimp a dish to remember. Gratefully I had parsley and chives ready in the garden.

    The only modification I made was to finish it with a couple pats of butter just before serving. A small portion fully satisfied my dinner appetite!

  36. Karen

    Oh my goodness!! I made this for the first time tonight, and it was AMAZING!! I just used a whole 1 cup carton if heavy cream because I didn’t want to waste any. I also used about a half cup of parsley as I did not have any chives at home. Lastly, I used chicken broth instead of chicken stock because that’s all I had. It turned out wonderfully! Thank you for such a simple, delicious recipe!! I’m sure I will be making this many times in the future :)

  37. Karen

    Sorry, I forgot to ask this in my post yesterday. Is it okay to reheat this? I’m a bit of a novice at cooking, and ths is the first time I’ve used lemon zest. Will it be bitter when I reheat over the stove or in the microwave?

    Sure you can reheat it. The sauce may not be as smooth, but it will be fine to eat. ~Elise

  38. Evelyn

    I made this last night for dinner, exactly according to the recipe. It was dead easy and delicious, and it looked great too! I would serve this to guests.

  39. Jeani Coleman

    This was really good. The lemon was a very nice touch which is what drew me to the recipe. I doubled the recipe and used only half the amount of cream and the other half and half to cut a few calories. The sauce was probably thinner this way. Next time I may use Fettuccine because the Angel Hair pasta broke up when I mixed it with the sauce. But it was really delicious and I served it to company and they really liked it as well.

  40. Lynne

    Great dish and super easy! Added a little red pepper (we add red pepper to just about everything). Left out chives because my husband doesn’t like them. Really like that there are many variations I can create with this. Looking forward to trying it with chicken.

  41. Lesley Hunn

    This was amazing and so easy. I made this for a family dinner for my son’s 19th birthday and it was a huge hit. Shrimp are known as prawns here in Australia. :)

  42. Tameha Nazim

    Made this for dinner today. I didnt have angel hair pasta so I used penne pasta. I also added saffron and butter to the lemon cream sauce and the result was simply delicious! Thank you!

  43. S. Dent

    OMG! Done and Done! And will definitely do again!!! Deeeelicious!

  44. Sarah

    Tried it yesterday. My husband and I just loved it! Thanks!

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