You can make this without the shrimp. Sauté garlic in the skillet as directed, and add the pasta water and parsley, omitting shrimp. If you omit the shrimp, also toss in 1/2 cup grated Parmesan or pecorino cheese. Roasting cherry tomatoes intensifies their flavor without a lot of fuss to make this spaghetti easy and full of flavor.
3 pt. cherry tomatoes, halved
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil, divided
3 tablespoons chopped garlic, divided
4 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt, divided
1 pound uncooked spaghetti
1 pound medium-size raw shrimp, peeled and deveined
2 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1 cup loosely packed basil leaves, torn
How to Make It
Preheat oven to 325°F. Toss together tomatoes, crushed red pepper, 4 tablespoons of the oil, 2 tablespoons of the garlic, and 1 teaspoon of the salt in a 13- x 9-inch baking dish. Bake in preheated oven until tomatoes soften and release their juices, about 45 minutes. (You can do this step a few hours ahead of time. Let tomatoes stand at room temperature until ready to use.)
Bring a large pot of water and 1 tablespoon of the salt to a boil over high. Add spaghetti, and cook until al dente, 9 to 11 minutes. Drain spaghetti, reserving 1 cup cooking water.
Meanwhile, heat 2 tablespoons of the oil in a large skillet over medium. Add remaining 1 tablespoon garlic, and cook, stirring constantly, until just beginning to brown, about 1 minute. Add shrimp, and cook, stirring constantly, until shrimp begin to turn pink and are cooked through, about 2 minutes. Add reserved cooking water to shrimp mixture; reduce heat, and cook, stirring occasionally, 2 minutes. Stir in parsley.
Transfer drained pasta to a large serving bowl. Add shrimp mixture, tomatoes, basil, and remaining 2 tablespoons oil and 1/2 teaspoon salt, and gently toss. Serve immediately.