A Summer Twist on an Italian Classic – Grilled Shrimp Alfredo

While delicious, Fettuccine Alfredo, is often a heavy affair. Cream, butter, and pasta may be the perfect way to warm up during a cold fall or winter season, but in the heat of summer all these rich ingredients can weigh you down. Well, I’m here to tell you that you don’t have to go all summer long without this quick, cheap and soul satisfying meal.

The trick is grilled shrimp. The smokey char on marinated shrimp will elevate this dish to a slightly lighter, fresher taste that you can enjoy mid – July.

While I’m not going to win any health awards, with this recipe, as long as you enjoy it in moderation, it can be a great way to treat yourself or the family without spending all day cooking or breaking the bank.

Grilled Shrimp Alfredo

1/2 pound shrimp (buy whatever size is on sale. My store recently had 20 to 30 count shrimp on sale $5.00 for a pound. The ‘count’ simply refers to how many shrimp make up a pound. The higher the number the smaller the shrimp.) 

1 bottle vinaigrette (for marinating. I prefer to use a cheap bottle of Italian dressing. While I’d never use it on a salad, those cheap dressings can make great marinades for less than buying the raw ingredients.)

Pasta of your choice (Obviously fettuccine is most common with Alfredo sauce, but I prefer a pappardalle or another wider pasta) cooked according to the package.

Alfredo Sauce

1/4 cup butter

2 garlic cloves, pressed or minced

1 cup heavy cream

1 to 1 1/2 cups freshly grated Parmesan cheese (while the powdery Parmesan is great as a garnish, it won’t work right in this recipe. You really need shredded or freshly grated parm)

1 tsp nutmeg

Salt and pepper to taste

Alright, it’s important to note that while this recipe is quick and inexpensive, it does take a certain level of concentration and coordination. Once prepped, the pasta, shrimp, and sauce all cook in about 5 to minutes. So make sure the shrimp is marinated, the grill is preheated, and the water is almost boiling before you start to cook anything.

  1. Clean the shrimp and remove any shells. Devein if necessary. Skewer the shrimp. (To properly skewer shrimp for grilling, it is best to alternate the direction of each shrimp, allowing nor space between each shrimp.) Marinate the shrimp by placing the skewers in a shallow pan and pouring the bottle of vinaigrette over the shrimp. Allow to marinate for 30 minutes.
  2. Preheat the grill. (Now would also be a good time to boil the water for your pasta.)
  3. Brush the grate with olive oil. (Use an oil soaked paper towel held by grill tongs to oil the hot grate.) Place the shrimp on the grill and cook uncovered about 2 to 5 minutes per side.
  4. Meanwhile, make the Alfredo sauce. Melt the butter in a saucepan. After it has melted add the pressed garlic. Cook for 30 seconds until fragrant. Do NOT overcook. (You do not want browned butter or garlic in an Alfredo sauce.)
  5. Whisk in cream. Then begin to whisk in the cheese in large handfuls until the desired consistency is almost reached. (Keep in mind that the sauce will thicken slightly.) Season with nutmeg, salt and pepper to taste.
  6. Stir the cooked pasta into the saucepan with the Alfredo sauce. Mix well to coat all the noodles with sauce. Serve the pasta, topped with the grilled shrimp and extra parmesan immediately. (Also great with a little parsley garnish.)
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