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Spaghetti with Shrimps

Photo: Claudia Concas

Spaghetti with Shrimps

The original recipe for spaghetti with shrimps explained step by step.

14 December, 2020
Average: 4.3 (7 votes)


serves for


total time

0 HR 55 MIN


Spaghetti pasta
320 g
10 leaves plus one sprig
Cherry tomatoes
Chili pepper
1 small
White wine
150 ml
Extra virgin olive oil
To taste
Black pepper
To taste


Spaghetti with shrimps, along with spaghetti and clams, is one of the fish pasta classics of Italian cuisine.  To make a perfect dish of spaghetti with shrimps, you only need to follow two important rules: the shrimps have to be super fresh and must never be overcooked, which would spoil their delicate flesh. But what other secrets lie behind a successful dish of spaghetti and shrimps? Let’s find out together, step by step. 

Wine pairing: Curtefranca Convento SS. Annunciata

Step 01

Cleaning the Shrimps for spaghetti with shrimps

Photo: Claudia Concas

Clean the shrimps by removing the head, shell and intestinal vein. To remove the intestinal vein, make a small cut along the back of the shrimps and extract it or, alternatively, remove it with the aid of a wooden toothpick.

Step 02

garlic and pepper for spaghetti with shrimps

Photo: Claudia Concas

Peel the garlic and place it in the pan. Add the chilli pepper cut into small rounds, a sprig of parsley and a trickle of oil. Gently fry for a few minutes.

Step 03

shrimps and cherry tomatoes for spaghetti with shrimps

Photo: Claudia Concas

When the garlic starts turn golden brown, add the shrimps heads and the cherry tomatoes cut in half. Flash-fry all the ingredients while stirring frequently to prevent them from burning. After a few minutes, throw in the white wine.

Step 04

salt on shrimps and tomatoes for spaghetti with shrimps

Photo: Claudia Concas

When the alcohol content has evaporated completely, season to taste with salt and pepper and remove the shrimp's heads, shells, garlic and parsley. Now add the shrimps and turn off the heat. 


Step 05

how to cook spaghetti with shrimps

Photo: Claudia Concas

Fill a saucepan with plenty of water and bring to the boil. Add salt and when the water has returned to boiling point, drop the spaghetti into the pan. 

Step 06

lemon zest and parsley for spaghetti with shrimps

Photo: Claudia Concas

In the meantime, chop the parsley and grate the lemon zest. 

Step 07

spaghetti and shrimps sauce for spaghetti with shrimps

Photo: Claudia Concas

Strain the spaghetti when al dente and add them to the shrimps sauce. Mix all the ingredients thoroughly.

Step 08

spaghetti with shrimps easy recipe

Photo: Claudia Concas

Plate up the spaghetti and garnish with the chopped parsley and a sprinkling of grated lemon zest.

Useful tips and interesting facts

Salt is a natural flavour enhancer; if you put a pinch of salt on the garlic cloves, to be subsequently removed, you will enhance their aroma and flavour. The concept of cooking waste is an extremely topical issue and this recipe brings it home to us very well. The parts of the prawns which would normally be thrown away, particularly the heads, are actually useful for adding maximum flavour to this recipe.  For this reason, we advise you to press them with a spoon during the flash-frying phase to release an extremely tasty juice that contains their briny essence. When you combine the pasta with the prawn sauce, it is important to toss it briskly, while adding, if required, a spoonful of the pasta cooking water and a drizzle of oil. These ingredients, together with the energetic movement of ladle and pan, will create a sort of emulsion with the pasta starch, thus forming a delicious cream that will bind the pasta and sauce to perfection. The addition of lemon to this dish, and not only, confers a note of freshness and a pleasing hint of acidity, which are the perfect elements of a well balanced recipe. Take care only to grate the yellow part of the lemon zest because the white pith underneath would leave a bitter taste on the palate. Choose an unwaxed lemon and wash it thoroughly before use. Finally, always remember to add parsley at the very end to confer a note of freshness. Cooked parsley, as well as turning black, also loses all of its nutritional properties. You may also use the parsley stalks for their pleasant crispness, further helping to reduce food waste. Do you know why prawns, and shellfish in general, turn red when cooked? It is because their flesh contains various pigments including astaxanthin. When the prawns are alive, this pigment is concealed by the colour of their shells.  At high temperatures, the heat destroys the protein layer and all the pigments, apart from astaxanthin, causing the appearance of the typical shade of red we are all familiar with.  



There are hundreds of variations to the recipe for spaghetti in prawn sauce, starting from the choice of prawns. You may use red prawns or the more expensive and rare violet-coloured prawn. To avoid over-cooking the prawn, you may turn the flesh into a tartare and add it in the shape of a quenelle before serving. Bacon and prawns are a perfect combo: to add an extra kick to this dish, cut some smoked bacon into thin strips and pan fry until crisp. Add the bacon to the final dish, crumbled into small pieces, and you will amaze yourself, as well as your guests. 


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