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This flavorful pasta dinner is ‘shrimp-ly’ delicious!

America's Test Kitchen on

Shrimp is the most popular seafood in the United States. These slightly sweet, mild-flavored crustaceans are full of interesting science. Take a deep dive into these shrimp-ly fascinating facts.

They change color when they cook

Most raw shrimp are a gray-black color. But when you cook them, they turn pink! Why the color change? Shrimp contain a pigment called astaxanthin that is released when the shrimp reach about 120 degrees. Bonus fishy fact: Salmon have pink flesh because they eat shrimp and krill, a shrimp relative that contains the same pigment.

They come in lots of sizes

There are about 2,000 species of shrimp around the world, and humans eat around 300 of them — from common whiteleg shrimp to beautiful royal red shrimp. Some species are harvested when they’re super tiny, dried, and used in all sorts of dishes, including soups, salads, and stir-fries. On the other hand, black tiger shrimp can grow as long as 13 inches!

The shell is full of flavor

 

Shrimp shells contain proteins, sugars and compounds called glutamates and nucleotides, which have a savory umami taste. If you cook shrimp shells, their proteins and sugars undergo a special chemical reaction that gives them even more flavor. But peeling shrimp is a LOT of work! In this recipe, we use peeled shrimp and add another ocean ingredient — clam juice — to boost this dish’s salty seafood flavor.

One-Pot Garlicky Shrimp Pasta

Serves 4

1 pound frozen peeled and deveined extra-large shrimp (21 to 25 per pound), thawed and tails removed

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