This Spicy Shrimp Pasta is a comforting bowl of pasta with a fiery kick that'll wake up your taste buds. It's easy to make and can be ready in under 45 minutes!
Who can resist the irresistible combo of succulent shrimp, perfectly cooked pasta, a rich tomato ragu, and a fiery kick of spice? This dish is a flavor explosion that'll have your taste buds dancing.
Add a side salad and crusty bread, for a perfect date night meal. Whether you're a spice lover or just someone looking to add a little zing to your pasta routine, this Spicy Shrimp Pasta is a winner.
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These notes are here to help make this recipe a success; they cover some but not all ingredients. For a complete ingredient list, check out the recipe card below.
Shrimp: For this recipe, buy shrimp that still have the shells and heads on; once you have peeled the shrimp, you use the shells and heads to make a quick shrimp stock; this adds so much extra flavor to the pasta sauce.
Celery: Adds extra flavor to the broth, but leave it out if you don't have any. If you have bought a head of celery and have extra, try this braised celery recipe.
Vegetable broth: This is used to make the shrimp base. If you have it, you can replace this with fish stock or even use water with some salt added.
Pasta: A long pasta works best with this sauce, so go with spaghetti, linguine, or fettuccine. If you prefer a shape, go for something chunky like rigatoni.
Garlic: The recipe calls for six cloves of garlic. But as I always say, we measure garlic with our hearts, so add more or less if you want.
Red pepper flakes: Also called chilli flakes, these add the spice to the spicy sauce. As written, it is spicy but not overly so. Feel free to reduce or increase the amount to taste.
Anchovy paste: You can buy this in most larger grocery stores. It is also readily available online. I like the Amore brand. You can also substitute the paste for 4 whole anchovies roughly chopped.
White wine: Use any white wine on hand; I like a pinot grigio or a sauvignon. If you don't consume alcohol, you can replace it with broth.
Canned crushed tomatoes: Buy the best quality canned tomatoes within your price range. The sauce is based around them, so they make the difference. I like canned crushed Italian tomatoes best. Mutti is my favorite brand.
Sugar: This balances the acidity in the tomatoes and wine. You can use regular white, castor, or brown sugar.
We've tested this recipe at least 3 times to ensure it works well for you. Have a look at our tips for getting the best dish you can!
- Use the shrimp heads and shell to make a flavorful base for the sauce. It adds so much flavor. But if you have already shelled shrimp, you can use a store-bought fish/shrimp stock and reduce it by half.
- The red pepper flakes get added to the oil at the beginning of the sauce. This helps soften them and flavors the oil so the heat runs through the finished sauce.
- Remember to salt the water generously before adding your pasta; the recipe suggests 1 tablespoon of salt.
- Read the packet instructions on your pasta and cook it for 1 minute less than the packet suggests. Once drained, it is tossed with the sauce and continues to cook.
- To help get a perfect sauce consistency and allow it to coat the pasta, reserve 1½ cups of the pasta cooking water. Around ¼-½ cup of pasta cooking water is added to the sauce, but it is a good idea to reserve extra in case the sauce thickens too much.
Why You'll Love This Spicy Shrimp Pasta
These are all just suggestions and things that have worked in our test kitchen, but it is your dinner, so adapt it to suit your family. That is the beauty of cooking; we can all create our own delicious meals.
- This dish is delicious with crab instead of shrimp, or if it is that time of year when lobster is cheap, you can substitute lobster chunks.
- Instead of shrimp, add some leftover cooked chicken or steak to the sauce.
- Add sauteed onions and bell peppers before adding the garlic for a more substantial sauce.
- Add blanched broccoli, baby spinach, or kale at the end of cooking for extra veg.
- Make it creamy by adding ½ cup of cream to the finished sauce.
Serving Suggestions for Spicy Shrimp Pasta
Wine: Alcohol can enhance the burn from the red pepper flakes, so choose wines with lower alcohol content. A Crisp dry Sauvignon Blanc or Pinot Grigio would be great with the Spicy Shrimp Pasta. As would a sparkling wine like Prosecco. If you fancy a red, avoid anything with high tannins. A light Valpolicella or Gamey would be ideal; you could even try them chilled!
If you make this Spicy Shrimp Pasta, please come back and comment. You can also tag me on social media.
Any questions about the recipe? Use the comments section below.
Other pasta recipes to try:
Get the Recipe
Spicy Shrimp Pasta
For the stock base (see note 1)
- shrimp shells (see note 1)
- 2 cloves garlic peeled
- 1 teaspoon peppercorns
- 1 stalk celery roughly chopped
- 1 ½ cups vegetable broth low sodium
For the pasta
- 12 oz long pasta
- 1 tablespoon salt
For the sauce
- 3 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes (see note 2)
- 6 cloves garlic sliced
- ¼ cup white wine (see note 4)
- ½ cup stock (see note 1)
- 1 teaspoon anchovy paste (see note 3)
- 1 can crushed tomatoes (14.5oz/400g can)
- ½ teaspoon sugar
- 1 lb shrimp peeled and deveined (keep the shells)
- 2 tablespoon fresh parsley finely chopped
Start by making the stock.
- Add the shrimp shells, whole garlic cloves, chopped celery, peppercorns, and vegetable broth to a pan and bring to a simmer. Cook on low for 15 minutes.shrimp shells2 cloves garlic1 teaspoon peppercorns1 stalk celery1 ½ cups vegetable broth
For the sauce
- Pour the extra virgin olive oil into a large skillet, add the red pepper flakes, and place over medium-low heat. Cook gently for 3 minutes.3 tablespoon olive oil1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- Remove the pan from the heat and add the sliced garlic. Stir in the oil for 20 seconds, then add the wine. Return the pan to the heat and bring the wine to a boil.6 cloves garlic¼ cup white wine
- Add the reserved stock and the anchovy pasta. Stir to dissolve the paste, and add the crushed tomatoes and sugar.½ cup stock1 teaspoon anchovy paste1 can crushed tomatoes½ teaspoon sugar
- Return the pan to the heat, cover, and cook the sauce on low heat for 15 minutes. (For the best workflow, start boiling the water and cooking the pasta during this time.)
- Check the sauce and add salt and/or red pepper flakes to taste. If the pasta hasn't finished cooking turn the heat to low and leave the sauce to stay warm.
For the pasta
- Bring a large pan of water to a boil and add your salt. Add the pasta and cook for 1 minute less than the packet suggests.1 tablespoon salt12 oz long pasta
- Reserve a cup of the pasta cooking water, then drain the pasta.
- Add the shrimp to the sauce and cook for 2 minutes.1 lb shrimp
- Add the drained pasta and ¼ cup of the reserved pasta water. Stir well to coat the pasta in the sauce and cook for 1-2 minutes, until the shrimp are cooked and the pasta is to your liking.
- Add most of the chopped parsley and stir well.2 tablespoon fresh parsley
- Serve immediately with the additional parsley.
- For this recipe, buy shrimp that still have the shells and heads on; once you have peeled the shrimp, you use the shells and heads to make a quick shrimp stock; this adds so much extra flavor to the pasta sauce. If you have already shelled shrimp, skip the shrimp stock section and use a store-bought fish/shrimp stock; reduce it by half for optimum flavor.
- Red pepper flakes are also called chilli flakes. As written, the recipe is spicy but not overly so. Feel free to reduce or increase the amount to taste.
- You can buy anchovy paste in most larger grocery stores. It is also readily available online. I like the Amore brand. You can also substitute the paste for 4 whole anchovies roughly chopped.
- Use any white wine you have available; I like a Pinot Grigio or a Sauvignon. If you don't consume alcohol, you can replace it with broth.
Nutrition is per serving