Shrimp Pasta with Lemon Cream Sauce

shrimp pasta with lemon cream sauce | sunsets on the side

shrimp pasta with lemon cream sauce | sunsets on the side

I’m a pasta girl.  I always have been.

I am legitimately half Italian, so I guess I come by it honestly.  But, truly, if I didn’t think my husband would object, I’d have absolutely no problem eating pasta for dinner every single night.

And, this particular pasta?

It’s everything.

It’s rich and filling from the cream sauce yet bright and fresh from the lemon.  The shrimp and vegetables add pops of color and flavor and keep it from seeming too heavy.  (See, I had spinach with my heavy cream.  Antioxidants!  Iron!).

Oh, and did I mention it’s easy?  If you prep a little bit ahead of time – zest and juice the lemons and chop the vegetables, you can totally cook this baby in about 25 minutes flat.


Shrimp Pasta with Lemon Cream Sauce
Makes: 6-8 servings
  • 2 T. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 lb shrimp (31/35 count), peeled & deveined
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 2 lemons, zested and juiced
  • 1 tsp. kosher salt
  • ½ tsp. freshly-ground black pepper
  • 1 lb. penne (or any short pasta)
  • ½ cup halved grape tomatoes
  • 4 oz. baby spinach, roughly chopped
  • ½ cup grated parmesan cheese, plus more for garnish
  • ¼ cup chopped fresh basil
  1. In a large (12”) nonstick skillet, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the shrimp to the pan. Sear the first side for 3 minutes, flip, and cook for another 2-3 minutes on the other side until they are cooked through. Remove the cooked shrimp with a slotted spoon and set aside.
  2. Add the garlic to the remaining olive oil. Cook for one minute.
  3. Add the cream, lemon zest, lemon juice, salt, and pepper, and stir to combine. Bring the mixture to a boil and then reduce heat and let simmer for 15-20 minutes until it thickens.
  4. Meanwhile, bring a large pot of water with a handful of kosher salt to a boil, and cook the pasta according to the package directions. Drain and put back in the pot.
  5. Add the thickened lemon cream sauce to the pasta in the pot. Add tomatoes, spinach, and parmesan cheese. Stir together to coat with the sauce. Let the mixture cook on low for 3-5 minutes until the sauce is mostly absorbed into the pasta, and it coats the other ingredients.
  6. Turn off the heat, add the basil, and stir to combine.
  7. Serve hot with extra parmesan cheese, if desired.

Adapted from Ina Garten.

Scallops & Shrimp over Herbed Rice with Mustard Dill Vinaigrette

scallops shrimp and dill rice with lemon mustard vinaigrette | sunsets on the side

scallops and shrimp over herbed rice with mustard dill vinaigrette | sunsets on the side

I have always been a huge fan of Valentine’s Day.  I mean, what’s not to love about a day designed to celebrate love?

I’m lucky enough to have a lot of great Valentine memories to think back to.  My favorite has to be the year when Scott and I were still long-distance dating and he flew 1,000 miles just to surprise me at my office and take me out for a Valentine’s date.  He called and told me that I needed to go down to the lobby of my building to pick up his delivery for me, and it turned out that he was my delivery.

I’m not sure that one can be topped.  That’s just Scott, though.  Spontaneous, fun-loving, thoughtful, kind.  That long-distance dating thing wasn’t easy, but it sure had its share of high points.

I’m so lucky that he’s my Valentine…

…my Valentine that doesn’t live 1,000 miles away anymore!

When it comes to celebrating these days, though, we almost always stay in.  The crowds are larger here in St. Pete during the winter anyway, and the restaurants are positively spilling over on Valentine’s Day.  So, I usually make us a special dinner in.  And, my guy is a seafood dinner man all the way.

scallops and shrimp | sunsets on the side

This is a great meal for a night in when you want your dinner to feel a little fancy.  It looks and tastes like something you’d order in a restaurant, but it will be much easier on your wallet.  There are three different components to this meal, but all of them are easy, and the seafood cooks in a snap.  It’s a good portion for two (if your appetite is as big as ours), and I guarantee your date will feel spoiled and loved.

scallops and shrimp over herbed rice with mustard dill vinaigrette

scallops and shrimp over herbed rice with mustard dill vinaigrette | sunsets on the side

Scallops & Shrimp over Herbed Rice with Mustard Dill Vinaigrette
Makes: 2-3 servings
  • ½ cup + 1 T. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 ½ T. Dijon mustard
  • 2 T. red wine vinegar
  • 2 T. freshly-squeezed lemon juice
  • Zest from 1 lemon
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 small shallot, minced
  • 2 T. minced fresh dill, divided
  • 1 tsp. kosher salt, divided (plus more for seasoning)
  • ½ tsp. freshly-ground black pepper, divided (plus more for seasoning)
  • 1 cup basmati rice
  • 1 ¾ cup chicken stock
  • 2 T. chopped fresh parsley
  • ½ lb. shrimp (I used 31-35 count), peeled & deveined
  • ½ lb. scallops (I used 20-30 count)
  • 1 T. unsalted butter
  1. For the vinaigrette: Pour ½ cup of the olive oil into a glass measuring cup or small bowl. Add the mustard, vinegar, lemon juice, lemon zest, garlic, shallot, 1 T. dill, ½ tsp. salt, and ¼ tsp. pepper. Whisk together vigorously until the vinaigrette combines and thickens.
  2. For the rice: Stir the rice, chicken stock, and remaining salt and pepper together in a medium saucepan. Bring the mixture to a boil, cover, reduce heat, and let simmer – stirring occasionally – for 15-20 minutes until all the liquid is absorbed. Remove the rice from the heat, let it stand for 5 minutes, and then stir in the parsley, remaining dill, and ½ cup of the prepared vinaigrette.
  3. For the seafood: Pat the shrimp and scallops dry with paper towels, and season with salt and pepper. Heat the butter and remaining 1 T. olive oil in a large sauté pan over medium heat. Add the scallops to the hot pan. Sear the first side for 3 minutes, flip, and cook for another 2 minutes on the other side. Remove the scallops with a slotted spoon and place on a plate.
  4. Add the shrimp to the pan and cook the same way (sear the first side for 3 minutes, flip, and cook for another 2 minutes on the other side). Add the scallops and their juices back into the pan with the shrimp, pour in 1 T. of the vinaigrette, and cook for just 1 minute longer to coat the seafood in the sauce.
  5. To serve, place the rice on a plate, top with scallops and shrimp. Garnish with lemon slices and drizzle more vinaigrette on top, if desired.

Honey Dijon Prosciutto-Wrapped Shrimp

honey dijon prosciutto wrapped shrimp | sunsets on the side

honey dijon prosciutto wrapped shrimp | sunsets on the side

Happy New Year’s Eve, friends!  Are you ready for the ball to drop, counting down to 2014?

I thought I’d drop (sorry) one more appetizer on you guys in case your night tonight calls for such a thing.  These prosciutto-wrapped shrimp are simple, delicious, and pretty enough for a fancy cocktail party.  The honey-Dijon sauce is both sweet and smoky, thanks to the smoked paprika, and the salty prosciutto takes it over the top.

Whatever your New Year’s plans, I hope you have a safe and memorable night!

Honey Dijon Prosciutto-Wrapped Shrimp
Makes: 6-8 appetizer servings
  • 3 T. Dijon mustard
  • 1 T. honey
  • 1½ tsp. smoked paprika
  • 4 oz. package thinly-sliced prosciutto
  • 1 lb. large shrimp (21/25 count), peeled and deveined
  • Salt & pepper for seasoning
  • 2 T. sliced green onions for garnish
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.
  2. In a small bowl, mix together the mustard, honey, and smoked paprika. Cut the prosciutto slices into thirds, lengthwise. (This doesn’t need to be exact; just make sure you have enough pieces to wrap each shrimp).
  3. Pat the shrimp dry with a paper towel, place on the baking sheet, and season lightly with salt and pepper. Brush shrimp with a thick coat of the honey-mustard mixture.
  4. Wrap each shrimp with one of the prosciutto pieces. Brush prosciutto again with honey-mustard mixture, and place on the baking sheet.
  5. Roast for 9-10 minutes until shrimp are firm to the touch and the prosciutto is slightly crispy around the edges. Garnish with sliced green onions, if desired.