How to make spaghetti with prawns and garlic sauce

A delicious spaghetti dish with large shrimp in a tomato sauce.


Recipe Summary test


  • 20 large shrimp, deveined with shell and head left on
  • 4 tomatoes, or more to taste
  • 1 bunch flat-leaf parsley, divided
  • ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1 red bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 fresh red chile pepper, finely chopped
  • 4 large cloves garlic, sliced, or more to taste
  • ½ cup water
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 tablespoon dried oregano
  • salt and ground black pepper to taste
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 ⅝ pounds spaghetti (Optional)
  • Step 1

Peel shrimp and place skin, heads, and tails into a large saucepan. Fill pan with water and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and let simmer, about 45 minutes.

Combine tomatoes and 1/2 the parsley in a blender; puree until smooth.

Heat olive oil in a separate pan over medium heat. Add onion, bell pepper, and chile pepper; cook and stir until softened, about 5 minutes. Add garlic; cook until fragrant but not browned, 1 to 2 minutes.

Pour pureed tomato mixture into the pan with the peppers. Add water, tomato paste, oregano, salt, and black pepper. Stir well; add paprika. Let sauce simmer on low to medium heat until juices have reduced.

Strain shrimp shells from the water. Bring water back to a boil and add spaghetti. Cook spaghetti, stirring occasionally, until tender yet firm to the bite, about 12 minutes. Reserve 1 cup of the cooking water and drain the rest.

In the meantime, add shrimp to the tomato sauce. Add the reserved water, stir well, and cook until shrimp is pink, about 3 minutes. Plate spaghetti and spoon the sauce on top; garnish with the remaining parsley.

Cook's Notes:

Pick sweet and juicy tomatoes, if possible.

You can substitute 8 fluid ounces of tomato passata for the tomato paste and omit the water.

How to make spaghetti with prawns and garlic sauce

Creamy, creamier… creamiest! You will absolutely adore this super easy prawn spaghetti recipe with bisque sauce. Pasta and prawns, tell me what’s not to love about this one!

Do try this pasta treat at home, what a delicious prawn spaghetti dinner this is!

Lord, I am sure that you will definitely love this easy peasy peasy prawn spaghetti soaking in loads of that gooey creamy homemade bisque sauce!

You got that right: a homemade bisque!

Are you fond of that strong prawn flavor? That flavor that you can find in prawn heads for instance. Yes? Then I have some good news for you!

Prawn Bisque

Because today I will show you something very important: never throw away those fresh prawn heads! For this prawn spaghetti I will tell you how to make a delicious creamy prawn bisque sauce out of them.

Don’t let the thought of those prawns heads put you off.

It is very simple to prepare and so delicious. Those prawn heads contain loads of flavor so why would we get rid of them in the end?

So here is why I never throw away prawn heads: because you will be surprised how much flavor and juice there is still left in those heads.

Prawn Heads

Once you have sifted that orange prawn sauce, all you have to do is just simply poach the peeled prawns in it and then pour the whole lot on top of your al dente cooked spaghetti.

And there you have it: spaghetti with prawns in a creamy bisque sauce.

A delicious prawn spaghetti at its best!

It really is that simple.

How to make spaghetti with prawns and garlic sauce

Easy Prawn Spaghetti In Creamy Bisque Sauce

This bisque sauce is so powerful.

It packs a punch.

You will be amazing by how much flavor is in it. And again, the recipe to make it is so simple! It is just like making a good stock from scratch. But this time instead of using a chicken carcass or beef bones, we replace that with prawn heads that people usually throw out.

Other Recipes

I love to make other recipes with this homemade prawn bisque. Soups for instance. And my heavenly prawn croquettes.

Do you need more inspiration?

Then you should also check out my velvety fish chowder and my noodle and prawn head soup!

But in the meantime: here is my prawn spaghetti recipe to start with first! And I am absolutely sure that you will love it as much as we did.

How to make spaghetti with prawns and garlic sauce

Garlic butter prawns are such a classic bistro dish but they’re also delicious and take almost no time to cook! Pair it with some spaghetti or long pasta for a wonderful, quick meal that is delicious enough to serve guests! My secret? Brown butter to add some nuttiness!

A prawn pasta like this is the ultimate fast food. Takeaway is great but takes longer to arrive and if you plan ahead and have some prawns in the freezer, a lemon and some pasta, you’ll have the tastiest, quickest pasta dish ever in 1-15 minutes!

How to make spaghetti with prawns and garlic sauce

Brown butter is a wonderful ingredient and you can practically use it anywhere that you use butter. Here we also use the milk solids or the brown bits that separate from the butter (and you usually strain off) and this helps to season the pasta even further! The browned milk solid are intensely nutty and salty and give the pasta a lovely seasoning. Here is a step by step recipe on how to make brown butter. I keep a log of brown butter in my fridge all the time and it lasts for months.

Which prawns? Try to get larger raw prawns for this dish (cooked prawns won’t work well for this). Frozen prawns are also handy and come already shelled minimising your prep time. I always have some in my freezer for this easy chee cheong fun dish.

How to make spaghetti with prawns and garlic sauce

Prawns are super quick to cook! Cook prawns just until they turn pink which only takes a couple of minutes. Do not overcook; prawns get tough quickly.

Don’t over cook the garlic too: overcooking or burning garlic brings out the bitterness. If you’ve burnt the garlic, it’s best to throw the burn garlic out and start again.

How to make spaghetti with prawns and garlic sauce

How much pasta per person? Recipes usually give a weight of 125g/4ozs. of pasta per person. One 500g/1.1lb packet of pasta should feed 4 people.

Options: add some chilli, either fresh chilli or chilli flakes

How to make spaghetti with prawns and garlic sauce

We recently learnt that Teddy is a big fan of prawns but not necessarily to eat. I will confess that I am that dog mother that finds everything that her puppy does charming or funny. The other day in the park Teddy picked up a baby dummy from the ground and ran around the park with it correctly positioned in his mouth. This delighted everyone including strangers who pointed at Teddy prancing with his pink pacifier. Later that day I left a roti outside the door of Mr NQN’s office for his lunch and he stole it quietly. His new job title is “roti thief”.

Just this past weekend we found out how much Teddy loves prawns. Not eating them (well we haven’t offered him any). But instead using them for something else entirely!

How to make spaghetti with prawns and garlic sauce

We took him to a beach for a run around and on the sand there was a raw prawn (Discarded BBQ food? Washed up? No idea) that was getting rather stinky in the sun. Teddy decided that it would give him the perfect aroma so he rolled around in it for a good few minutes before we realised that it was a prawn he was so smitten with and pulled him off.

The drive home with a dog covered in prawn guts and juice was aromatic to say the least. But Teddy slept soundly perhaps proud at his new perfume scent. He looked up at me, his face the picture of perfect sleepy bliss. It was as if he was saying, “Aren’t prawns the best mummy?”

So tell me Dear Reader, what do you always have in your freezer on standby? Do you like browned butter?

How to make spaghetti with prawns and garlic sauce

DID YOU MAKE THIS RECIPE? Share your creations by tagging @notquitenigella on Instagram with the hashtag #notquitenigella

Garlic Butter Prawns Spaghetti

Rated 5.0 out of 5 by 4 readers

An Original Recipe by Lorraine Elliott

Preparation time: 5 minutes

Cooking time: 15 minutes

  • 500g/1.1lbs spaghetti or long pasta (I used bucatini)
  • 125g/4ozs. butter, cubed
  • 6 cloves garlic, peeled and finely chopped
  • 500g/1.1lbs peeled large raw prawns/shrimp (frozen is fine)
  • 1/2 – 1 cup pasta cooking water
  • 1 teaspoon chicken stock powder
  • 2 lemons, halved
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped parsley
  • Salt and pepper

Step 1 – First start cooking the pasta in one large pot with lots of salted water. It should take around 8-9 minutes.

Step 2 – While the pasta is cooking, start browning the butter. Add the butter to a large frypan or skillet and cook on medium high heat until it starts to smell nutty. Turn the heat down to medium and add the garlic and fry for around 30 seconds (you don’t want the garlic to burn). Then add the prawns and cook for a minute or two or until they start to turn pink.

Step 3 – By now the pasta should be ready (if not take the prawn pan off the heat). Scoop out a cup of pasta cooking water (you’ll only need 1/2 cup but take more just in case) and drain the pasta. Add 1/2 cup of pasta water, 1 teaspoon chicken stock powder and then squeeze the juice of 1 lemon to the pan to make a sauce and add salt and pepper and taste for seasoning. Add the pasta to the pan and swirl with tongs to coat the pasta and prawns. Taste again for seasoning and then sprinkle with parsley.

Step 4 – Cut up the remaining lemon and serve each plate with a quarter of a lemon.

Simple Garlic and Butter Shrimp Spaghetti is a perfect weeknight meal that breaks the boredom of “the same old thing” for dinner! This shrimp spaghetti dish can be on the table in less than half an hour and clean up is easy, too.

How to make spaghetti with prawns and garlic sauce

First of all, I have to tell you that this shrimp spaghetti recipe was not handed down from my Nonna.

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It wasn’t even handed down from my mother; in fact, I highly doubt this is an Italian recipe at all, mostly given it’s made using butter, and quite a bit of garlic. Lots of garlic is more American than Italian–shocker, I know. (Learn more about authentic Italian cuisine with my friend Ale Gambini’s book, No Ketchup on Spaghetti.)

I sometimes throw this together for dinner when I have nothing prepared because it’s quick and easy, and it tastes really good. Just know, this is not an authentic Italian dish.

How to make spaghetti with prawns and garlic sauce

I started writing my blog to encourage people to get into the kitchen and cook, so what you see is my family’s dinner. It’s never something I make and trash, it’s the actual food on our plates.

An example of a poor photo, but delicious recipe: Steak au Poivre.

How to make spaghetti with prawns and garlic sauce

I’d rather post honest food with not-so-great photos, than have some shellacked, perfectly photographed fake meal to present to you, which is nothing anyone could ever eat. Here’s another super quick and easy seafood recipe you might enjoy: seafood pasta with shrimp and scallops!

How to make spaghetti with prawns and garlic sauce

This simple garlic and butter shrimp spaghetti is an example of “fast food” that isn’t picked up from a window while you’re in your car. Be sure to use really good quality ingredients: good oil, fresh garlic, great pasta and top quality shrimp are imperative for a fabulous tasting dish because there aren’t tons of spices to cover up the flavor.

How to make spaghetti with prawns and garlic sauce

On that note, if you can pick up some fresh shrimp or have some really good frozen shrimp in your freezer, you should have everything else you need in your pantry. I never measure anything, but I’m giving you guidelines so you have a baseline. Feel free to add more or less of whatever you fancy!

How to make spaghetti with prawns and garlic sauce

How do I Thaw Frozen Shrimp?

In case you’re like me and have frozen shrimp in your freezer, you don’t want to leave frozen shrimp to defrost in your fridge, so just put the frozen shrimp in a bowl with cold water. Rinse the shrimp from time to time. You can even put it in a colander and run water over it (if you’re not in a water restrictive place like LA). Shrimp will thaw quite quickly.

Simple Garlic and Butter Shrimp Spaghetti
(Shrimp Scampi)

Recipe by Christina Conte serves 4 to 6


Directions to make the shrimp spaghetti.

Cook the spaghetti as directed on the box. While it’s cooking, make the sauce and cook the shrimp.

Rinse, then dry the shrimp in paper towel.

Place the olive oil and 1 tbsp of the butter in a sauté pan over medium high heat. Add the minced garlic and cook for about 2 minutes, then add the parsley.

How to make spaghetti with prawns and garlic sauce

Turn the heat up, then add the shrimp.

How to make spaghetti with prawns and garlic sauce

The shrimp will only need to cook for about 4 or 5 minutes, so as soon as they turn pink, turn them over and make sure they are evenly cooked. Season with a little salt and pepper.

How to make spaghetti with prawns and garlic sauce

Add a little white wine (or water from the pasta that’s cooking), and the other 2 tablespoons of butter.

How to make spaghetti with prawns and garlic sauce

Stir well, and remove from heat. Cover to keep warm until the pasta is ready.

How to make spaghetti with prawns and garlic sauce

Drain the pasta and place in a bowl with the shrimp and sauce added on top. Stir to coat the pasta.

How to make spaghetti with prawns and garlic sauce

Serve your simple garlic and butter shrimp spaghetti immediately. Or as soon as you’re finished taking photos of your masterpiece! ?

How to make spaghetti with prawns and garlic sauce

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With the cold weather upon us, it’s all about staying in with your sweatpants and cooking up some major comfort food. Although I should mention it’s pushing 80 degrees F out here in Southern California and I’m still walking around in shorts and flip flops.

Still, that’s not stopping me from indulging in the ultimate kind of comfort food and throwing a shrimp and pasta party with Eat Shrimp and Calphalon. And with the help of Calphalon’s Contemporary Nonstick 3.5 qt. Pour and Strain Sauce Pan and Stainless Steel Utensils Silicone Tipped Tongs, this dish will come together in just 20 minutes from start to finish.

All you have to do is boil up some pasta and saute your shrimp in a pool of garlic-butter-herb goodness. Once that’s ready, just toss in your pasta and some fresh greens. That’s it. It’s easy, quick, and comforting in any kind of weather!

You can follow Eat Shrimp on Facebook and Pinterest for more shrimp recipe inspiration!

How to make spaghetti with prawns and garlic sauce

Garlic Butter Shrimp Pasta

Yield: 4 servings

prep time: 10 minutes

cook time: 10 minutes

total time: 20 minutes

An easy peasy pasta dish that’s simple, flavorful and incredibly hearty. And all you need is 20 min to whip this up!

How to make spaghetti with prawns and garlic sauce

I don’t know if anyone has ever told you the secret ingredient to delicious Italian food, but the secret to my Amazing Garlic Butter Spaghetti is something you’d probably never guess. I’ll spill the beans. It’s Parmesan! Parmesan makes bland Italian food turn into amazing Italian food. I’m guessing it’s the combination of salt and fat flavoring of the cheese.

How to make spaghetti with prawns and garlic sauce

Honestly, it’s also the secret to my Extra Cheesy Lasagna. I sprinkle it in the ground beef as I’m cooking it and to my world famous meatballs. It’s the secret to the Italian salad I make with any of our pasta dishes. There are so many Italian dishes I make that use this secret ingredient. It just gives your food that extra “oomph” you need.

The SECRET to Amazing Garlic Butter Spaghetti and more

When people eat my Italian food, they devour it, but they can never quite tell what the secret is to making it so amazing. Sometimes I like to keep that secret to myself, as if it’s a big family secret handed down for generations, and sometimes I just tell people right off the bat. You just never know. I gotta keep you on your toes.

How to make spaghetti with prawns and garlic sauce

Parmesan cheese is also the secret to my world famous Garlic Butter Spaghetti. (It’s also the secret to Garlic Butter anything.) When I first got married and left home, I used a lot of cookbooks and recipes in teaching myself how to cook, but I also experimented. It was in one of those experiments that I learned Parmesan was that special something that made garlic butter and so much else simply amazing.

Garlic Butter vs. Garlic Butter Sauce

Have you ever made garlic butter for bread or just to keep in the fridge? There is nothing like a warmed piece of crusty Italian bread slathered in garlic butter. My garlic butter and my garlic butter sauce are two different things. When I make garlic butter I use softened butter so even after it’s mixed it’s spreadable. It’s perfect to keep in the fridge because spreadable garlic butter can be used for many things from slathering a hoagie roll for a toasted meatball grinder to basting shrimp going on the grill.

On the other hand, my garlic butter sauce is made with melted butter, and it’s mixed with olive oil. This makes it easy to mix into pasta, and it also will go a little further using olive oil without having to use so much butter. When making the garlic butter sauce it should be made right when you’re going to use it. It doesn’t store well in the fridge because the melted butter solidifies and the ingredients separate after awhile.

Chunky with capers and olives, this quick tomato sauce tastes much like the familiar puttanesca sauce that is usually served on pasta. We use it to coat shrimp sautéed with garlic and hot pepper. Slideshow: More Shrimp Recipes


Recipe Summary test


  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 pounds large shrimp, shelled
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 large pinch dried red-pepper flakes
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon fresh-ground black pepper
  • 2 medium tomatoes (about 3/4 pound), peeled and chopped
  • 1 cup canned crushed tomatoes in thick puree
  • 1 teaspoon chopped fresh rosemary, or 1/4 teaspoon dried rosemary
  • 2 tablespoons drained capers
  • 1/3 cup halved and pitted black olives
  • Step 1

In a large nonstick frying pan, heat the oil over moderate heat. Add the shrimp, garlic, red-pepper flakes, salt, and black pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, until the shrimp are just done, about 5 minutes. Remove the shrimp with a slotted spoon.

Add the fresh tomatoes, canned tomatoes, rosemary, capers, and olives to the pan. Reduce the heat and simmer, covered, for 15 minutes. Stir in the shrimp and simmer until just heated through, about 1 minute.


Variation Substitute four boneless, skinless chicken breasts for the shrimp. Make the sauce separately by sautéing the garlic for a minute, adding the red-pepper flakes, salt, and black pepper, and then proceeding with Step 2. In a medium frying pan, heat just one tablespoon of oil over moderate heat. Season the chicken breasts with a quarter teaspoon salt and an eighth teaspoon pepper and put them in the pan. Cook the chicken until brown, about five minutes. Turn and cook until almost done, about three minutes longer. Cover the pan, remove from the heat, and let steam five minutes. Top the chicken with the sauce.

Suggested Pairing

A smooth, medium-bodied red from southern Italy, such as a Cirò or Regaleali Rosso, will stand up to the gutsy sauce without overpowering the shrimp.

How to make spaghetti with prawns and garlic sauce

Garlic Shrimp Pasta in Red Wine Tomato Sauce comes together quickly in under 30 minutes! This pasta is quick, easy, and delicious. Restaurant style spaghetti sauce is made with Chianti wine, fresh basil, lots of garlic and Italian seasoning. Perfect for busy weeknights or date nights!

When I think comfort food the first thing that comes to mind is pasta. Pasta is my ultimate comfort food. It’s hearty, easy to make, and is always perfect for dinner. Whether you’re a huge fan of tomato wine sauce or not, you’ll love the amazing flavor it adds to this pasta dish. This garlic shrimp pasta is guaranteed to become a favorite!

Why make garlic shrimp pasta in red wine tomato sauce?

  • This is an incredibly flavorful dish that presents itself well: cook it for the family or for the company.
  • It makes a perfect satisfying dinner at home or double for a large group with half a pound more shrimp
  • Red wine and pasta are a perfect pairing, but when you infuse the wine into the sauce itself – it’s something out of this world!
  • It takes about 30 minutes to make the entire thing
  • Shrimp is healthy! This will become one of your go-to favorites.

Health benefits of eating shrimp and garlic

Did you know that eating shrimp is great for your brain? Shrimp is abundant in Omega-3 and Omega-6 essential fatty acids that are essential for your brain and immune system.

Shrimp is also a good source in selenium (a powerful antioxidant) and iodine, both which are essential for thyroid health. It also provides zinc, potassium, calcium, phosphorous and magnesium, which are essential for a healthy cardiovascular system and bone health.

Garlic is a natural antibiotic and antiviral, it kills candida and helps support healthy immune system.

Why make red wine tomato pasta sauce

When you make this amazing and quick red wine tomato spaghetti sauce once, you’ll never go back to those inauthentic, sugar-filled jar sauces.

  • Tomatoes. I used diced tomatoes for the sauce, but the sauce can also be made smooth by using puréed tomatoes. Pureed tomatoes fall somewhere between crushed and tomato paste — they are smoother, thicker and deeper in flavor than crushed.
  • Salt. Always taste the sauce, if it doesn’t taste delicious, add a little more salt.
  • Basil. I used fresh basil, but if you can’t find it, use dried basil instead!

What kind of wine to use in restaurant Style Spaghetti Sauce?

The best wine to use in spaghetti sauce is Chianti. It has full range of flavors, from cherry and fruit to earthy and rusty. I love cooking with Chianti – it will add great depth of flavor to any red sauce.

You can also use other red grape variety such as Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot or Syrah.

By the way, both red and white wine work extremely well for adding flavor to basil tomato sauce. Red wine gives the tomato sauce added richness and robustness, while white wine imparts a fruity flavor.

How to make spaghetti with prawns and garlic sauce

Very easy garlic shrimp pasta recipe and with great flavor! Shrimp, pasta and red wine make a perfect combination with garlic, basil and tomatoes.Garlic Shrimp Pasta in Red Wine Tomato Sauce quickly became one of the favorites in our house thanks to the dish’s simplicity and perfect balance of nutrients, calories and taste.

If you enjoy browsing tasty pasta dishes, you might want to take a look at these:

And if you enjoy eating fresh seafood as much as we do, you might also like this Roasted Cajun Salmon.

Categorized as IT