The Washington Post

Creamy Shrimp Pasta Salad

Creamy Shrimp Pasta Salad 6.000

Photo by Justin Tsucalas for The Washington Post; styling by Nicola Justine Davis for The Post

Dinner in Minutes Oct 11, 2022

The success of this dish “depends entirely on cooking the pasta the way Sicilians do, al dente," Liz Williams said in her cookbook, “Nana’s Creole Italian Table." Use real semolina pasta, such as De Cecco brand, to avoid a mushy pasta salad.” The salad can be made with shrimp, as directed, but is also great with crabmeat, crawfish tails or any combination. Be sure to lightly salt the pasta. The anchovies, the cheese and, depending on how it is prepared, the seafood are already salty.

Total time: 35 mins

Make Ahead: The dressing can be made up to 2 days in advance.

Storage Notes: Refrigerate leftovers for up to 3 days.

6 - 8

When you scale a recipe, keep in mind that cooking times and temperatures, pan sizes and seasonings may be affected, so adjust accordingly. Also, amounts listed in the directions will not reflect the changes made to ingredient amounts.

Tested size: 6-8 servings; makes about 8 cups

  • The dressing
  • 3/4 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/2 cup (2 ounces) finely grated parmesan cheese
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced, finely grated or pressed
  • Juice of 1 lemon, or more as needed
  • 2 oil-packed anchovies
  • The salad
  • 1 1/2 pounds large shrimp (26/30), cooked, peeled and deveined
  • 1 pound pasta, such as farfalle or other pasta, cooked al dente
  • 1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1 orange bell pepper (7 ounces), coarsely chopped
  • 1 yellow bell pepper (7 ounces), coarsely chopped
  • 1 cup (4 ounces) tightly packed fresh Italian parsley leaves, coarsely chopped
  • 1/2 cup fresh basil leaves, coarsely chopped, plus more for garnish
  • Fine salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper


Make the dressing: In a small bowl, whisk together the mayonnaise, parmesan, garlic and lemon juice until combined. Mash the anchovies with the side of a knife, and stir them into the dressing. If the mixture is too stiff, add more lemon juice.

Make the salad: In a large bowl, combine the shrimp, pasta, tomatoes, bell peppers, parsley and basil. Pour the dressing over and toss to coat. Taste, and season with salt and pepper, as needed. Top with a few basil leaves and serve, family-style.

NOTE: To cook the shrimp, bring a medium pot of generously salted water to a boil. Add the shrimp and return to a boil. Lower the heat to medium-low and poach the shrimp until pink and curled, 2 to 3 minutes. Test a shrimp to see that it is done and opaque throughout, then drain. Cooking time may vary with the size of the shrimp.

Recipe Source

Adapted from “Nana’s Creole Italian Table” by Liz Williams (Louisiana State University Press, 2022).

Tested by Ann Maloney.

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Nutritional Facts

Calories per serving (generous 1 cup): 482

% Daily Values*

Total Fat: 20g 31%

Saturated Fat: 3g 15%

Cholesterol: 136mg 45%

Sodium: 764mg 32%

Total Carbohydrates: 50g 17%

Dietary Fiber: 4g 16%

Sugar: 4g

Protein: 23g

*Percent Daily Value based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

Total Fat: Less than 65g

Saturated Fat: Less than 20g

Cholesterol: Less than 300mg

Sodium: Less than 2,400mg

Total Carbohydrates: 300g

Dietary Fiber: 25g

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