This easy bucatini pasta recipe tossed with garlic shrimp and cherry tomatoes is made in under 30 minutes making it a great weeknight meal.
I grew up eating a lot of pasta.
Weirdly though, bucatini was never a pasta shape my mom made. Farfalle and linguine were definitely her go-to favorites.
I can’t say there’s a pasta shape I don’t like but I do have my favorites.
Wide, flat noodles like papardelle are probably at the top of my list but the hollow centered bucatini is definitely in the top 5.
I love its chewy round shape and the hole that goes all the way through the pasta strand making it like a straw is just plain old fun.
Speaking of fun, this red wine garlic bucatini recipe I made a few years ago was beyond fun.
Dying the pasta red with wine and serving each bowl with a soft boiled egg on top was (and is) a stunner of a dish.
It’s not, however, the kind of meal you make when you’re rushing to get a satisfying and healthy meal on the dinner table.
That’s what this garlic shrimp bucatini recipe is for. This bucatini cacio e pepe is another great option for a quick easy dinner.
This recipe comes together in under 30 minutes, uses that bag of frozen shrimp you probably have in the freezer, some pantry staples and cherry tomatoes (something most of us have on hand all summer long).
Top the kids’ bowls with lots of parmesan cheese and yours with lots of fresh basil — everyone will be happy.
How To Make Bucatini with Garlic Shrimp
There’s nothing complicated about this bucatini recipe.
First, you’ll need to boil water in a large pot for the pasta. While the pasta cooks, grab a skillet and pour in some olive oil over medium heat.
Sauté the garlic and red pepper flakes in the oil until fragrant (don’t burn the garlic!) and then add the cherry tomatoes.
Cook the cherry tomatoes until they start to turn brown on all sides (I like to shake the pan as they cook a few times to toss them around) and their skin starts to wrinkle.
The fresh tomatoes take the place of a traditional tomato sauce and I love how much lighter they keep the dish!
Add a splash of red wine vinegar (you could also use white wine instead) and then throw the shrimp into the pan.
Cook until the shrimp are done, about 5 minutes. You’ll know they’re done when they turn opaque, curl up and have a pink hue to them.
At this point, the pasta should be done cooking. Drain the cooked bucatini then add to the skillet and toss everything together.
Grate some fresh parmesan on top and throw some chopped basil (or whatever fresh herbs you have on hand) in the pan before serving.
It’s that easy!
Can I Use Fresh Shrimp?
If you use fresh shrimp in this pasta recipe, it will just cook a bit faster than frozen so keep an eye on it because no one like overcooked rubbery shrimp!
Can I Use Canned Tomatoes?
Any tomatoes are fine in this.
You can use a can or two of diced tomatoes in place of the cherry tomatoes if you don’t have fresh.
If you don’t drain the liquid from the cans however, the pasta will be a bit more “saucy”.
I would drain but reserve the liquid then add a little at a time to get the desired sauce consistency.
If you have regular tomatoes but not cherry or grape, just chop them up and use them like that.
Can I Use Another Type of Pasta?
Any pasta shape will do here so just grab whatever is in your pantry and convenient.
While I do love bucatini, any longer pasta shape (linguine, spaghetti, angel hair, pappardelle are all great options) for the lovely “twirling” effect while eating, a short pasta will work just as well.
Where Do I Buy Bucatini?
Bucatini can be one of the rarer shapes to find in the grocery store but the brand I find has it most frequently is Barilla.
They make it as part of their Collezione line which is sold in a slightly darker blue box than their normal pasta.
If your grocery store has a specialty pasta section, check there too as it’s frequently considered a “special shape”.
Gluten free brands are also starting to make bucatini. I’ve seen Banza, a chickpea pasta, carry it as well.
Garlic shrimp pasta is comfort food with a summery healthy twist.
Most of us don’t want heavy comfort foods this time of year (if you do though, this easy shrimp stew is a great choice) but sometimes you just crave a meal not from the grill, ya know?
I love the grill just as much as the next person for its easy clean up but this quick pasta dinner is just as easy. A one pot, one pan meal that takes just about 25 minutes can’t be beat.
If you want to check out more easy pasta recipes like this one, try creamy tomato farfalle (a replication of my favorite restaurant order as a kid) or my lightened up spaghetti alfredo (so creamy and good!).
Lemon spinach feta pasta is also a quick meal that epitomizes summer flavor.
Bucatini Pasta with Garlic Shrimp
- 1/2 pound bucatini pasta
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- 3 cloves garlic, chopped
- dash red pepper flakes
- 1 pound cherry tomatoes
- splash red wine vinegar
- 25-30 large frozen shrimp, if using fresh shrimp, see note below
- freshly grated parmesan cheese
- chopped basil for garnish
- Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.
- Once boiling, add bucatini pasta and cook according to package directions until al dente (about 1 minute before done).
- While pasta cooks, add olive oil to a large skillet over medium heat.
- Add garlic and red pepper flakes and cook for 1 minute until fragrant.
- Add cherry tomatoes to the skillet and cook until browned on all sides and skin starts to shrivel.
- Add a splash of red wine vinegar to the pan, cook another 30 seconds.
- Add the shrimp the pan, stir to combine and cook until shrimp curl and turn pink, about 5 minutes if using frozen shrimp.
- Drain the pasta, add it to the skillet and toss until well combined with the shrimp and tomato mixture.
- Top with parmesan cheese and garnish with fresh basil right before serving.
Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.
Gina Matsoukas is an AP syndicated writer. She is the founder, photographer and recipe developer of Running to the Kitchen — a food website focused on providing healthy, wholesome recipes using fresh and seasonal ingredients. Her work has been featured in numerous media outlets both digital and print, including MSN, Huffington post, Buzzfeed, Women’s Health and Food Network.