Garlicky Calabrian Chili Pasta with Shrimp is an easy pasta recipe that you can make in around 30 minutes! It starts with a homemade Calabrian chili butter that we’ll sear the shrimp in then toss with pasta! So easy and so delicious!

Calabrian chili pasta with shrimp in skillet

Fiery and so flavorful in the best way!

Calabrian chili pasta is seriously one of the easiest pasta dinner recipes. 

It starts with an easy homemade Calabrian chili butter. The best part about making the chili butter is that you’re in the driver’s seat, and you get to control how spicy you make this. We like to use a generous amount of chili paste; however, you could easily sub with a little more tomato paste and a little less chili to make this milder. It starts with Calabrian chili paste, a squeeze of tomato paste, and a few other pantry staple ingredients. Then, we’ll sear the shrimp in this incredibly flavorful butter and toss it all together with pasta!

Voila! It couldn’t be easier!

close up of Calabrian chili pasta with shrimp

Ingredients for Calabrian Chili Pasta:

  • Butter: Softened butter is the main ingredient in homemade Calabrian chili butter. I prefer to use salted butter for this recipe because we’ll eliminate the need for salting the shrimp altogether that way. 
  • Seasonings: big pinch of black pepper and hot paprika are used to flavor the chili butter.
  • Garlic cloves: This is a garlic lovers dream! Use as much or as little garlic as you’d like. Our sweet spot was 5 cloves, which gave it really delicious flavor.
  • Pastes: You’ll need two kinds: tomato paste and Calabrian chili paste. I found Calabrian chili paste as Trader Joes, and a lot of grocery stores carry it too now in the international aisle. You can also purchase it online.
  • Herbs + Lemon: You’ll need a bit of fresh parsley, lemon zest, and a tablespoon of lemon juice. These ingredients all add freshness to the chili butter.
  • Shrimp: I use a pound of peeled and deveined shrimp. I suggest patting the shrimp completely dry before cooking them in the chili butter. I find they sear much better that way!
  • Pasta: I prefer to use linguine for this recipe, however, fettuccine, spaghetti, or even bucatini would be delicious here if you happen to have those on hand.
  • Parmesan Cheese: Grated or shaved parm make this cheesy and delicious!
whipped calabrian chili butter in glass container with spoon

How to Make Calabrian Chili Pasta:

  1. Make Calabrian chili butter: Start by adding the butter, garlic cloves, tomato paste, chili paste, parsley, lemon zest, lemon juice, pepper, and paprika to the bowl of a food processor. You want to pulse the ingredients until the garlic breaks down and the butter is whipped and combined. Remove the whipped butter to a bowl and set aside for now. If you’re making the pasta later, cover the butter and refrigerate until needed. You want to start boiling a large pot of water for the pasta while you get the shrimp going.
  2. Sear the shrimp. Grab a deep skillet and heat it over medium-high heat. Once hot, add two tablespoons of the chili butter and immediately add the shrimp in a single layer. Sear the shrimp on one side before flipping and cooking the other side. Remove the shrimp to plate and keep warm for now.
  3. Cook the pasta, save the water. When the water is boiling, salt it generously and cook the pasta according to package directions. Remove 1 cup of pasta water before you drain. Immediately add the pasta to the skillet that you cooked the shrimp in over medium-low heat. Add three tablespoons of the prepared butter along with a splash of pasta water. Toss the pasta to combine. Taste and add more chili butter to taste. We like it with about 4 tablespoons. Add the shrimp, toss together, and serve warm topped with shaved parmesan.
skillet with cooked chili butter shrimp

FAQs about Calabrian Chili Pasta

Is the pasta really spicy?

It can be depending on the amount of chili paste you use! If you prefer low to medium spice, I suggest 1 tablespoon of chili paste and subbing it a bit more tomato paste to make sure there’s still plenty of flavor. 2 tablespoons for medium-hot food, and the full 3 tablespoons will make this extra spicy. We prefer this with two leveled tablespoons.

What are your suggestions for leftover chili butter?

I use it to make scrambled eggs; it gives it the most delicious flavor! You could also use it to flavor grilled cheese sandwiches or rub the butter over a salmon filet and roast it in the oven! So many ways to use it!

How long will leftover chili butter last?

About 1 week or so. I suggest covering and storing it in the refrigerator.

close up of shrimp with chili butter

If you like this recipe, you might also like:

bowl with pasta topped with shrimp and arugula on the side
Yield: serves 4-5

Garlicky Calabrian Chili Pasta with Shrimp

Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes

Garlicky Calabrian Chili Pasta with Shrimp is an easy pasta recipe that you can make in around 30 minutes! It starts with a homemade Calabrian chili butter that we'll sear the shrimp in then toss with pasta! So easy and so delicious!

Garlicky Calabrian Chili Pasta with Shrimp

Ingredients

Calabrian Chili Butter:

  • 6 tablespoons salted butter, softened
  • 4-5 cloves garlic
  • 2 teaspoons tomato paste
  • 1-3 tablespoons Calabrian pepper paste (see notes)
  • 2 tablespoons parsley
  • Zest of 1 lemon
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • ¼ teaspoon EACH: black pepper AND hot paprika

Everything else:

  • 1 lb shrimp, peeled + deveined
  • 10 ounces linguine or fettuccine
  • Shaved parmesan, for serving

Instructions

    1. PREP: Add the ingredients listed for the butter to a food processor bowl and pulse until combined into whipped butter. Remove to a bowl; set aside for now. You can refrigerate for later. Bring a large pot of water to boil while you start preparing the shrimp.
    2. SHRIMP: Heat a large, deep skillet over medium-high heat. Add 2 tablespoons of the prepared butter to the skillet and let it melt. Add the shrimp cooking and stirring as needed until they curl up into a ‘c’ shape. Remove the shrimp to a plate; keep warm. Don’t rinse the skillet; we’ll use it for cooking the pasta.
    3. PASTA: Salt the water generously when the water is boiling; cook pasta according to package directions to al dente. Set aside 1 cup of pasta water before draining pasta. Heat the skillet that you cooked the shrimp in over medium-low heat. Add the pasta, 3 tablespoons of prepared chili butter, along with a small splash of pasta water, and toss the pasta to combine and heat through. Add more pasta water as needed to make a sauce. Taste and adjust with more butter or pasta water as needed. Toss in the shrimp, serve warm topped with shaved parm!

Notes

  • Chili paste: If you prefer low to medium spice, I suggest 1 tablespoon of chili paste and subbing it a bit more tomato paste to make sure there's still plenty of flavor. 2 tablespoons for medium-hot food, and the full 3 tablespoons will make this extra spicy. We prefer this with two leveled tablespoons.

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