Prawn Arrabbiata (Spicy Prawn Pasta)

Known in Italian as sugo all’arrabbiata, this classic Prawn Arrabbiata – penne pasta coated in a spicy sauce made from tomatoes, garlic, onion and chilli – has been levelled up with the addition of prawns (shrimp).

Arrabbiata sauce originates from the city of Rome, which is in the Lazio region of Italy.

It quite literally translates to ‘angry’ sauce, primarily for the traditionally generous use of chilli. So I suppose my version can be called frustrated at best. 

I keep this version fairly tame, and by that I mean I use fresh chilli and offer dried chilli as an optional extra so that it’s suitable for kids too.

If you want to aim for the ‘angry’ sauce of its namesake, then use as much dried chilli as you dare!

Why I Love It

It’s low in fat and high in protein. Prawn Arrabbiata is a great dish if you’re cravings carbs but keen to keep your protein high and fat low.

Prawns are a fantastic low-fat protein source

It’s quick – the whole dish takes less than 30 minutes to make! So perfect weeknight meal option.

It’s Family Friendly so suitable for kids too (yep, even with the chilli…) 

How To Serve Prawn Arrabiatta To Make It Family Friendly (Suitable For Weaning)

Suitable from 6 months old (if appropriate preparation of prawns is followed – see below)

Prawns should be cut in half lengthwise (so they’re no longer round) and then chopped into little pieces.

Prawns can be a choking hazard for children under the age of 3. Please refer to Solid Starts guide section on ‘How To Serve’ shrimp in an age appropriate way.

I personally would serve this (for Baby Led Weaning – BLW) with either:

Large Rigatoni or Fusilli shaped pasta (less likely to gag with this option versus spaghetti etc.). 

I would only use the fresh chilli (seeds removed) i.e. do not add additional dried chilli, if serving to children. Unless you want their eyes to water… 

Season with salt (as it is required for adults) after you’ve separated the portions out for the kids.

Ingredients and Substitutions

Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Chilli: I use fresh chilli as I find it’s milder (with seeds removed) for serving to children as well. But if you want a punchy sauce then use the full whole chilli (seeds included) or more dried chilli flakes too. 

Onion: I use red onion, but you can use brown onion if that’s what you tend to buy (instead of solely specifically buying red onion for this recipe)

Garlic: fresh is always better, but 1 teaspoon garlic paste could be used instead of fresh garlic cloves if necessary 

Chopped Tomatoes: I love Mutti brand finely chopped tinned tomatoes, but if you can’t source those specifically I would recommend using tinned Peeled Plum Tomatoes instead. When adding to the pan, squeeze the peeled tomatoes and discard the white stringy parts so only the juice and soft flesh is added.

Fresh Parsley

Prawns: I use 21/25 (42-50 per bag 1kg) King Prawns from Bernard Corrigan.

Pasta: I use penne pasta, but any pasta shape would do – I would personally recommend The Yorkshire Pasta Company.

Sign up to my Newsletter for a discount code for both Bernard Corrigan and The Yorkshire Pasta Company.

Parmesan: or more specifically, Parmigiano Reggiano (which is the full, legally protected name of the true Italian cheese, which is what I use). Grand Padano is a suitable alternative.

Optional extras not included in my recipe: butter in addition to oil when frying the onion, dash balsamic vinegar or a pinch sugar – all can be added to your own personal taste.

How To Make Prawn Arrabbiata

Add 3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil to the pan with 1 chilli (+ 1/2 tsp dried chilli flakes if you want the addition spiciness) and 1/2 red onion (finely chopped) – cook until onion is softened.

Then add 3 cloves garlic and fry for further 1 minute

Pour in 400 g chopped tomatoes and simmer on medium heat for approx. 15 minutes

Boil 250 g penne pasta in salted boiling water until al dente. 

Pour in 100ml of pasta water to the sauce after it’s been simmering for 15 minutes

Add in 200 g prawns to arrabbiata sauce (after its been simmering for 15 minutes) and cook until they are no longer translucent – approx 3-4 minutes.

Finally, finely chop 5 g parsley and add to sauce

Then stir through cooked pasta

Season with salt & pepper to taste as required

Plate up and garnish with fresh parmesan

Only if you’re a cheese fiend like me, as cheese with seafood can be a contentious point for Italians…

How Long Do Prawns Take To Cook?

Prawns cook really quickly.

For this size of prawn (medium) it’s only around 3-4 minutes.

Smaller prawns from the supermarket can cook in as little as 2-3 minutes.

And larger prawns can take up to 5-6 minutes.

Prawns can really easily become quite rubbery and tough if heated for too long. So be very careful not to overcook.

FAQs

Can I serve this dish to my kids?

See ‘How To Serve Prawn Arrabiatta To Make It Family Friendly (Suitable For Weaning)’ section above.

Can I use cooked prawns?

Yes you can – but add them in right at the end with just enough time to heat through as they will overcook otherwise. 

Can I make this with chicken?

You can make it with any protein or without. If using chicken, cook the chicken in some oil/butter first, remove from the pan, then add back to the sauce at the same stage you would add the prawns. 

Can this be made vegetarian?

Simply omit the prawns and you have a classic arrabbiata sauce, which is a great batch cook option. 

Storage and Re-Heating

This dish will store in the fridge for 3 days.

You can reheat them as long as they’re piping hot, have been stored in the fridge correctly and if they haven’t previously been heated up (apart from the initial cook). 

For more details, read this Food Standards Agency advice on foods you need to take extra care with, as shellfish is one of them.

If you’re planning to make the sauce in advance, don’t add the prawns. Add them just before you plan to serve. As re-heating is essentially cooking the item more and prawns can easily overcook. 

You can freeze the sauce for up to 3 months, but I wouldn’t recommend freezing with the prawns cooked as they will become quite rubbery when defrosted and re-heated. You could make the sauce, freeze, then add the prawns once defrosted and ready to make and serve. 

And finally …

If you have any questions, or want to tell me what you think of my recipe, then leave a comment below!

If you like this recipe and are looking for more prawn pasta recipes, then why not try my One Pan Prawn Alfredo or my Creamy Prawn Tomato Pasta?

Prawn Arrabbiata (Spicy Prawn Pasta)

A simple sauce made all the better with the addition of prawns, but could be equally tasty with chicken or on its own – enjoy!
No ratings yet
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
5 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Course Dinner
Cuisine Italian
Servings 2
Calories 623 kcal

Ingredients
  

  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 chilli with seeds
  • ½ tsp dried chilli flakes optional extra if you like it extra spicy
  • ½ red onion finely chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 400 g chopped tomatoes
  • 5 g parsley
  • 200 g prawns de-shelled and de-veined
  • 100 ml pasta water
  • 180 g penne pasta
  • salt & pepper
  • parmesan or grand padano, or pecorino (optional)

Instructions
 

  • Add 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil to the pan with 1 chilli (+ 1/2 tsp dried chilli flakes if you want the addition spiciness) and 1/2 red onion (finely chopped) – cook until onion is softened
  • Add 3 cloves garlic and fry for further 1 minute
  • Add 400 g chopped tomatoes and simmer on medium heat for approx. 15 minutes
  • Boil 180 g penne pasta in salted boiling water until al dente
  • Add in 200 g prawns to arrabbiata sauce with 100 ml pasta water (after the sauce has been simmering for 15 minutes) and cook until they are no longer translucent – approx 3-4 minutes
  • Finally, finely chop 5 g parsley and stir through dish before adding in cooked pasta
  • Season with salt & pepper to taste as required
  • Plate up and garnish with fresh parmesan (if you like it … as cheese with seafood can be a contentious point for Italians)

Notes

Please see ‘Ingredients’ section for substitutes and FAQ section if you have any questions.
Otherwise, leave me a comment. Thank you!
If you like this prawn pasta dish, then why not try my Creamy Prawn Pasta?

Nutrition

Calories: 623kcalCarbohydrates: 89gProtein: 30gFat: 17gSaturated Fat: 2gPolyunsaturated Fat: 2gMonounsaturated Fat: 11gTrans Fat: 0.01gCholesterol: 126mgSodium: 852mgPotassium: 1054mgFiber: 8gSugar: 14gVitamin A: 1186IUVitamin C: 58mgCalcium: 165mgIron: 5mg
Keyword alla’arrabbiata sauce, arrabbiata pasta recipe, arrabbiata sauce, arrabbiata sauce recipe, how to make arrabiata sauce, spicy tomato pasta
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