This quick and easy Spicy Shrimp Pasta is a simple dish that packs a punch. Perfect for date night or entertaining.
The simple sauce is loaded with garlic and chili and uses fresh cherry tomatoes as well as canned tomatoes to get an intense flavor. Ready in just 20 minutes this spicy pasta is a must for chili lovers!
The succulent fresh shrimp and crunchy, crispy pangrattato topping adds a level of wow factor to this fabulous dish!
Is this really Spicy Pasta?
This is a rich tomato sauce that is packed with spice. You have long red chili, red pepper flakes, and black pepper in the sauce. They all add different flavors and heat levels to make this a true spicy pasta!
Most recipes here on Sprinkles and Sprouts are family-friendly, but this is one pasta that I make when it is just adults. The spice level is too high for my boys. If your kids love spice, then go for it, but the long red chili, red pepper flakes, and black pepper make this one too fiery for mine.
You can tame down the spice by adding less, but so much of this dish is about the punch of heat. So I recommend keeping this one up your ‘I want a spicy dinner sleeve.’
What pasta to use?
I like to use spaghetti or linguine for this recipe. The long strands work well with the tomato sauce and the spicy spaghetti is perfect for swirling around your fork.
But you could use a small shape like penne, rigatoni or spirals.
What is Pangrattato?
Pangrattato is a crunchy topping. It is breadcrumbs that have been fried until crispy, then seasoned and used in place of parmesan.
It is said that the farmworkers were too poor to buy parmesan but they would use leftover stale bread to make a delicious pasta garnish instead.
If you have them, make your own breadcrumbs, they will have a better texture. You can do this with any stale bread you have leftover. Or pop a couple of slices in the oven for 5 minutes to dry them out.
If you haven’t got stale bread available then panko breadcrumbs will work well too. Just don’t use the sawdust style breadcrumbs, they will leave your dinner powdery rather than crunchy.
Once the breadcrumbs have been fried until crispy, remove them from the pan, as they do keep cooking and can over color easily!
Mix the hot breadcrumbs with some crushed garlic and dried basil and then set to once side to infuse while you make the pasta. A great addition! And now you don’t need parmesan!
What to serve with Spicy Shrimp Pasta
Serve a side of bread and a nice side salad and you have dinner ready within 20 minutes. For a cooked side try some sauteed kale.
Or swerve the side and instead serve a crisp cool fruit salad for dessert.
What wine to serve
The spice and the tomato in this sauce mean this can take an off-dry wine like a Riesling, Moscato, or Vinho Verde. If you aren’t a fan of off-dry wines, then you could pick a very crisp sharp Sauvignon Blanc it will pair beautifully with the spice.
For red lovers, you want a lower alcohol light red wine, like a Zinfandel or a Beaujolais.
And as I always suggest with spicy foods an ice-cold glass of Lambrusco is amazing! (Forget the awful super sweet cheap Lambrusco of your student days a decent bottle is fabulous with spicy foods!)
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Spicy Shrimp Pasta
For the Pangrattato
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- ½ cup breadcrumbs – see note 1
- 2 cloves garlic
- ¼ tsp dried basil
For the Pasta
- 4 cloves garlic
- 12 oz pasta
- 1 tbsp salt
- ¼ cup olive oil
- 1 red chili
- ½ cup shrimp stock – see note 2 for alternatives
- 1 can crushed tomatoes (14.5 oz/400g can)
- 1 ½ cup cherry tomatoes
- 1 tsp sugar
- ½-1 tsp red pepper flakes – adjust to taste
- ½ tsp salt
- ½ tsp black pepper
- ½ tbsp dried oregano
- 1 lb raw shrimp (peeled and deveined)
- fresh basil, optional garnish
For the Pangrattato
- Heat the oil in a heavy based skillet/frying pan.
1 tbsp olive oil
- Add the breadcrumbs and fry over medium heat until crispy and golden brown.
½ cup breadcrumbs
- Remove the breadcrumbs from the pan and mix with the crushed garlic and dried basil. Set to one side until needed.
2 crushed garlic cloves
¼ tsp dried basil
To make the pasta and sauce
- Peel and thinly slice the garlic, then cut the red chili in half, remove the seeds and mebrane then finely slice.
4 garlic cloves
1 long red chili
- Bring a large pan of water to the boil, once boiling add the pasta and salt and cook the pasta as per the packet instructions. Once cooked reserve 2 cups of the pasta cooking water and then drain the pasta.
1 tbsp salt
While the pasta is cooking make the sauce
- Heat the olive oil in a large skillet/frying pan.
¼ cup olive oil
- Add the sliced garlic and chopped red chili, then cook over medium heat for a minute until fragrant but not colored.
- Turn up the heat and pour in the broth. Bring to a boil and allow to reduce for a minute.
½ cup broth
- Add the canned tomatoes, cherry tomatoes, suagr, red pepper flakes, salt, pepper, and oregano.
1 can crushed tomatoes
1 cup cherry tomatoes
1 tsp sugar
½-1 tsp red pepper flakes
½ tsp salt
½ tsp black pepper
½ tsp dried oregano
- Stir well and bring to a simmer. Add in the shrimp and cook for 4 minutes until the shrimp have just cooked through.
1 lb raw shrimp
- Add the drained pasta and ¼ cup of the reserved pasta cooking water. Stir to combine, adding more cooking water as needed.
- Serve the pasta sprinkled with the prepared pangrattato and fresh basil garnish.
- If you have them, make your own breadcrumbs, they will have a better texture. You can do this with any stale bread you have leftover. Or pop a couple of slices in the oven for 5 minutes to dry them out. If you haven’t got stale bread available then panko breadcrumbs will work well too. Just don’t use the sawdust style breadcrumbs, they will leave your dinner powdery rather than crunchy.
- You can replace the shrimp stock/broth with fish broth or vegetable broth.
Homemade Peri Peri Seasoning
- 2 tbsp sugar
- 2 tbsp paprika
- 2 tbsp onion powder
- 2 tbsp garlic powder
- 2 tbsp ground coriander
- 1 tbsp salt
- 1 tbsp dried oregano
- 1 tbsp dried parsley
- 2 tsp ground ginger
- 2 tsp ground cardamon
- 1 tsp smoked paprika
- 1 tsp cayenne pepper – see note 1
- Mix everything together well and store in an airtight jar.
- Depending on how spicy you like your food, you can change the level of cayenne pepper. As the recipe is written it is a mild seasoning. But you can increase the cayenne up to 1 tbsp if you like it spicy.