This Easy Shrimp and Bacon Pasta Recipe is absolutely delicious! It is perfect for an easy dinner with friends but quick enough for a busy weeknight meal!
I guarantee it will be a crowd-pleaser! It tastes like something you would get in a family run Italian restaurant, but you can make it at home in under 25 minutes! (or even quicker if you have an electric kettle!)
With just a handful of ingredients that most people have in the fridge and freezer, you can quickly and easily whip up this shrimp pasta for dinner!
Simple yet sophisticated
I don’t know about you, but shrimp pasta always feels just a little bit special!
Which is why I love this recipe! It is special and elegant, but so simple to make!
Making Shrimp and Bacon Pasta
You start by cooking the bacon. And this is the key to the flavor! As the bacon cooks, it gives off all those wonderful bacon drippings! Those drippings are packed with bacony flavor! This is used to make the sauce and also cook the shrimps. It adds a beautiful smoky bacon flavor, which mixed with the sweetness of the shrimp is just A-MAZING!
Once the bacon has cooked, we remove it from the pan (so it stays crisp) leaving behind the drippings then you add butter, white wine, and garlic!!! All the things that are going to make this taste incredible. A little lemon zest and some optional red pepper flakes and then the sauce just simmers gently before the shrimp are added.
Cooking the shrimp in the butter sauce, means they soak up flavor and also add extra flavor to the sauce. Win Win!
Which shrimp to buy for pasta
The choice of shrimp these days is fabulous, but it can be overwhelming.
I like to buy Frozen raw shrimp! It means I can keep them in the freezer and know I always have something quick for dinner. Ideally, go for 20-25 or 26-30 count, which gives a good serving of shrimp per person – between 8-12.
You want to buy raw shrimps for this dish so that you can avoid overcooked shrimp! Overcooked shrimp is a waste of shrimp 🙁
What to serve with Shrimp Bacon Pasta
Sides: Some crusty bread is always worth having alongside! There has to be something to soak up every last bit of the delicious sauce. But for the hit of something green and healthy, I also like a side of garlic green beans or some sautéed kale.
Wine: Shrimp, garlic, and bacon screams sauvignon blanc at me. Sauvignon blanc is a beautiful wine for pairing with anything garlicky, and here it works with the sweetness of the shrimp and the smokiness of the bacon.
For red lovers, a light Merlot will balance the dish without overpowering the sweet shrimp.
Or grab a bottle of bubbly, shrimp loves bubbles!
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Shrimp and Bacon Pasta
- 2 garlic cloves
- 1 lemon
- 6 slices bacon
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 8 oz spaghetti – see note 1
- 1 tbsp salt
- 4 tbsp butter
- 1/2 cup dry white wine – see note 2
- 1 lb raw shrimp, peeled and deveined – see note 3
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/4 tsp black pepper
- 2 tbsp finely chopped fresh parsley leaves
Start with the pasta water
- Place a large pan of water on to boil. (it will boil faster with a lid on, or use the electric kettle to make this dish even quicker)
While the water is coming to a boil, prep the ingredients:
- Zest and juice one lemon and set them both to one side.
- Peel and thinly slice 2 garlic cloves ready for the sauce.
- Chop the 6 slices of bacon into smallish dice.
Once you are prepped start the sauce
- Add 1 tablespoon of the olive oil to a frying pan or skillet and cook the bacon over medium-high for 4-5 minutes until crispy. Use a slotted spoon to remove the bacon from the pan, leaving behind the drippings.
- Once the water is at a boil, add one tablespoon of salt and put in the pasta, set your timer as per the packet instructions.
- Place the bacon drippings back over low heat. Add 2 tablespoons of butter, and once melted, add the sliced garlic and 1 teaspoon of lemon zest. Cook for 2-3 minutes, but don’t let the garlic color.
- Add 1/2 cup of wine to the skillet along with 1 tablespoon of lemon juice. Bring to a boil. Scoop 1/4 cup of the water from the pasta pan and add it to the sauce. Season with 1/2 teaspoon of salt and 1/4 teaspoon of black pepper. Simmer the sauce for 2-3 minutes until reduced.
- Slowly whisk in the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter and whisk well until the sauce has thickened.
- Add 1 pound of peeled raw shrimp to sauce and cook for 3 minutes, stirring regularly.
- Remove the pan from the heat and scrape the cooked bacon (and any collected juices) into your sauce.
- Scoop 1 cup of the pasta water out, then drain the pasta and transfer the pasta to the sauce.
- Use tongs to lift and toss the pasta with the sauce over low heat. The pasta should soak up the sauce. Add pasta cooking water if needed.
- Serve with parsley and extra lemon zest.
- Any long pasta will work here — spaghetti, linguine, fettuccine or tagliatelle.
- A sauvignon blanc would be the perfect wine here. And it drinks well with the dish! Or add a1/2 cup of bubbles if you have chosen to drink them with your pasta. For those who can’t or prefer not to drink wine, you can replace the wine with broth (vegetable, seafood or chicken will work)
- Go for 20-25 count or 26-30 count raw shrimp and ensure they are fully defrosted if frozen.