Bring the restaurant home with this Copycat Olive Garden Shrimp Primavera Pasta! Penne pasta is tossed in a light tomato sauce with bell peppers, mushrooms, red onion, and shrimp.
Table of Contents
Why You Will Love This Recipe
Copycat Olive Garden Shrimp Primavera Pasta is made with a very, very mild version of the classic Arrabbiata Pasta Sauce and then mixed with shrimp, bell peppers, mushrooms, and onions for a hearty yet light pasta dinner.
I fell in LOVE with Arrabbiata Pasta when I was living in Italy for college. It is such a simple combination of flavors, but not lacking in flavor.
This arrabbiata sauce is on the mild heat side. If you want it spicier like a true arrabbiata (unlike the Olive Garden version), add more red pepper flakes and/or minced garlic.
This shrimp dinner recipe is also ready in just 30 minutes! A great weeknight flavor with lots of vegetables for the entire family.
Without the cheese at the end, this is a great dairy free Olive Garden recipe for everyone to enjoy.
Full quantities and instructions can be found in the recipe card at the bottom of the post.
Let’s talk about the ingredients you need for this shrimp pasta!
Large Shrimp – you can use any size as desired, just make sure the shrimp is peeled and deveined before cooking
Penne Pasta – this is the pasta that the restaurant used, but you can use any shaped pasta as desired
Red Bell Pepper
Yellow Bell Pepper – while the restaurant uses three colors of bell peppers, you could choose to use just one full red pepper and no yellow, or vice versa, if desired
Green Bell Pepper
Crimini Mushrooms – white button mushrooms will also work
Diced Tomatoes – this is a very light tomato sauce recipe. See the Modifications and Substitutions section below if you want it saucier and/or thicker
Red Pepper Flakes
Parmesan Cheese – for finishing, optional if you want to keep it dairy free
Parsley – either fresh or dried parsley as and if desired for garnishing
Make your sauce by heating a medium pot over medium heat.
Add olive oil and cook the garlic and red pepper flakes until just fragrant.
Add the diced tomatoes and stir. Cook at a simmer, at least for 15 minutes to develop flavors.
Meanwhile, bring a large pot of water to a boil over high heat.
Cook the pasta as per package directions until al dente.
Reserve some pasta water to help loosen the sauce later before you drain it.
When ready to assemble and eat, use that same large pot and heat it over medium heat with a little more oil.
Add the vegetables and cook until just starting to soften but still very crisp, about 3 minutes.
Add the sauce and shrimp to the vegetables. Cook the shrimp in the sauce, approximately 2-3 minutes until the center cut is white and no longer a clear gray color.
Combine with the pasta and stir. Use the pasta water if needed to loosen the sauce up.
Garnish if desired with parsley and/or Parmesan cheese.
Modifications and Substitutions
The sauce for this Olive Garden pasta recipe is a very light and thin sauce. If you want it thicker or heavier, you can either (a) add a 15 ounce can of tomato sauce to this recipe or (b) use one 15 ounce can of diced tomatoes and one 15 ounce can of tomato sauce instead of the large 28 ounces of diced tomatoes.
While the restaurant uses three colors of peppers, you can easily swap out half of the red or yellow for the other. (Use 1 full red and no yellow, or vice versa).
This recipe is a VERY mild version of an Arrabbiata sauce. If you want more of a kick like a true Arrabbiata, increase the amount of garlic and/or red pepper flakes. Both are spicy and will add some heat.
Leftover pasta tends to dry out as sauce is absorbed while it sits in the refrigerator. To freshen up the pasta when reheating, add a splash of water or broth to loosen up the sauce again and bring some moisture back.
The name is representative of spring and using a lot of vegetables.
Pasta primavera refers to a spring-like dish with a lot of vegetables. The sauce can vary. In this recipe, the sauce is a rift on arrabbiata, made with diced tomatoes, garlic, and red pepper flakes.
This pasta would be great served with a salad, garlic bread, or soup. But it is hearty enough to stand on its own!
More Copycat Olive Garden Recipes
Copycat Olive Garden Shrimp Primavera Pasta
- 1 pound large shrimp deveined and peeled, see note 1
- 1 pound penne pasta or shape of choice
- ½ green bell pepper sliced
- ½ red bell pepper sliced, see note 2
- ½ yellow bell pepper sliced
- ½ cup red onion sliced
- 4 ounces crimini mushrooms cleaned and sliced
- 28 ounces diced tomatoes
- 2 Tablespoons olive oil divided
- ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 3 cloves garlic minced
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- parsley dried or fresh, for garnish, if desired
- Parmesan cheese for finishing, as desired
- In a medium pot, heat 1 Tablespoon oil over medium heat.2 Tablespoons olive oil
- When hot, add the garlic, red pepper flakes, and salt. Cook until fragrant, about 30-60 seconds.½ teaspoon red pepper flakes, 3 cloves garlic, ¼ teaspoon salt
- Add the diced tomatoes and stir to combine. Reduce heat to low and simmer for at least 15 minutes while completing the other steps. Stir occasionally. Add water if needed if sauce gets too thick.28 ounces diced tomatoes
- Meanwhile, heat a large pot of water over high heat and bring to a boil.
- When boiling, add a Tablespoon of salt and cook as per package direction to al dente. When done, reserve 1 cup of pasta water and drain. Set aside.1 pound penne pasta
- Prepare your vegetables. Trim and slice your peppers, mushrooms, and onion.½ green bell pepper, ½ red bell pepper, ½ yellow bell pepper, ½ cup red onion, 4 ounces crimini mushrooms
- Heat a large skillet (or wait and use the pasta pot after draining) with a Tablespoon of oil over medium heat.
- When hot, add the vegetables with a pinch of salt and cook to just soften, 2 minutes. You do not want to overcook the vegetables. They should be starting to soften but still crisp.
- At this time, add the tomato sauce to the vegetable mixture along with the raw shrimp. Cook the shrimp in the sauce, approximately 2-3 minutes.1 pound large shrimp
- Remove from heat. Add the pasta and stir to combine. Use the reserved pasta water if needed to loosen the sauce.
- Serve immediately with parsley garnish and Parmesan cheese as desired.
- You can use any size shrimp as desired. Ensure they are peeled and deveined before cooking.
- You can adjust pepper colors as desired – this is just the “classic” Olive Garden combination. For example, use one whole red bell pepper instead of 1/2 red and 1/2 yellow.
- This is not a heavy sauce pasta. It is a much lighter tomato sauce, just like they served it in the restaurant. If you want a heavier sauce, use one 15 ounce can of diced tomatoes and one 15 ounce can of tomato sauce. Or you can add a 15 ounce can of tomato sauce to this recipe.