How Do I Make Shrimp Marinara?

Angela Farrer

To correctly prepare and cook shrimp marinara, the first steps are generally to select quality shrimp and to cook the shrimp only for the recommended amount of time. This recipe can require the shrimp to be either steeped in boiling water or sautéed in a skillet with some cooking oil; many cooks recommend the use of fresh raw shrimp rather than precooked shrimp for the best flavors. The sauce for shrimp marinara can be made from scratch or from a prepared red sauce depending on individual preference as well as time constraints. Most recipe instructions dictate that the cooked shrimp should be removed from the pot or skillet and immediately combined with the marinara sauce before pouring the entire mixture over freshly drained pasta.


Cooking with seafood is often considered one of the best ways to add protein to an Italian dish while keeping it lighter than it would be with other meats such as beef or veal. Peeling and deveining raw shrimp can take additional time as well as a bit of practice at first, but most experienced cooks report that the resulting flavor in the shrimp marinara is well worth the extra effort. Cooking with shrimp in boiling water is often considered a healthier choice over sautéing it in oil, and the most important part of this method is to cook each shrimp for only about three to five minutes. The shrimp can otherwise overcook and gain a rubbery texture.

Marinara is a meatless sauce used in shrimp marinara.
Marinara is a meatless sauce used in shrimp marinara.

The type of pasta used in shrimp marinara is often up to the individual cook; some like to use linguine pasta while others prefer angel hair or spaghetti noodles. Since the pasta will be added to the rest of the ingredients and heated a bit further, it should be cooked until tender but not too soft. A trick to prevent the drained noodles from sticking together is to mix in one or two tablespoons of olive oil, butter or margarine while the drained pasta is still quite hot.

Shrimp marinara sauce recipes usually have some room for creativity as far as ingredients for this flavorful seafood dish. For added vegetable nutrients, many cooks like to add chopped and cooked green peppers, onions, and mushrooms. Many sauce recipes involve mixtures of stewed tomatoes, tomato paste, and a measured amount of either water or vegetable stock. Popular seasonings for these kinds of shrimp dishes include oregano, basil, black pepper, garlic salt, and ground parsley.

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