Spicy Shrimp Pasta with Tomatoes and Garlic
A simple spicy shrimp pasta that’s perfect for the summertime! Similar to the shrimp fra diavolo you get at Italian restaurants, this recipe is made with lots of garlic and cherry tomatoes bursting with summer goodness. A simple pasta dinner that’s sure to please everyone!
Here’s the deal. This beautiful spicy shrimp pasta recipe has summer written all over it.
It’s saucy, garlicky, loaded with fresh seafood, and it’s delicious. And yes, it’s a close relative to the Shrimp Fra Diavolo you find at your favorite Italian restaurants, minus the anchovies.
This is that quick pasta dinner that’s fancy enough to serve to your guests but still quick enough to pull together on a weeknight when you’ve got 12 million things on your to-do list that you’ve been neglecting. Plus, how amazing are carbs? And if you’re obsessed with garlic the way we are, you may want a big hunk of garlic bread on the side. It’s feel-good food, y’all! ❤️❤️❤️
Like most of the pasta recipes you see on the blog, this one has just a few ingredients but a big punch of flavor. No need to go out for your spicy shrimp pasta fix! Make it at home, I promise you, it’s soo much better.
Spicy Shrimp Pasta Video (56 SEC.)
The trick to making the best spicy shrimp pasta:
It starts with simple homemade shrimp stock. And I know what you’re thinking — this is going to take forever! Oh, but friends, it’s a simple stock with whole cloves of garlic, a few sprigs of parsley, a couple of peppercorns, and those leftover shrimp peels that are absolutely useless otherwise. And it takes just 10 simple minutes <<clap hands>>. This a little teeny tiny restaurant technique to make the full use out of those shrimp peels. Indeed, you could use chicken broth. Indeed, homemade shrimp broth makes this spicy shrimp pasta so much for flavorful.
And now, for that garlic and tomato sauce situation. I’m using a total of 6 cloves of garlic in 1 dish. Friends, this is REAL LIFE pasta. It’s saucy; it’s filling, it’s garlicky, it’s LOVE. The garlic has a few minutes head start with the red pepper flakes to help infuse the olive oil, so the flavor heat and garlic flavor carry through the dish. And then hit it with that stock we just made. Once you add the fresh cherry tomatoes and allow them to simmer down into the most delicious sauce, you’ll know why spicy shrimp pasta is one of my favorite ways to eat shrimp.
Now that you’re all excited about that mind-blowing slow-simmered spicy tomato and garlic sauce, let me tell you how quick and easy this dinner really is.
While you’ve got the stock being made in the saucepan, get the pasta water going too. This will make your workflow easy and will get the dinner on the table FAST. Strain the stock and have it ready to go and get working on that spicy tomato sauce. Sizzle the garlic and red pepper flakes, add the stock and tomatoes, bring to a boil and let it simmer, covered for 10 minutes. When the 10 minutes are up your pasta water should be ready too! Toss the pasta into the pot of boiling water, continue to simmer the sauce for 5 minutes uncovered and then add the shrimp and cook it for another 3-4 minutes. Drain the pasta and into the spicy garlic tomato sauce, it goes. TOSS. TOSS. Add parmesan and parsley and serve! That’s it!
It’s fast, it’s practical, and there’s a boatload of garlic. Check, check and check. And let me also say that my spicy shrimp pasta has been tested, retested, and given 2 big thumbs up by one garlic-loving husband.
Skip the takeout, grab a pound of shrimp, a fistful of pasta, and a head of garlic.
Let’s do this!
If you like this recipe, you might also like:
- Garlicky Orzo Shrimp Scampi with Asparagus
- Blackened Shrimp Tacos with Smashed Avocado
- Crispy Coconut Shrimp (Air Fryer + Fried)
- Shrimp Enchiladas with Creamy Poblano Sauce
- Weeknight Salmon Sushi Bowls
Original recipe shared May 2016, updated with minor recipe edits and easier to follow directions April 2021.
- 1 pound raw shrimp, peeled and deveined (with peels reserved)
- 2 cups water
- a few sprigs of parsley, plus more for garnishing
- 6-8 whole peppercorns
- 12 cloves garlic
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 ½ cups grape or cherry tomatoes, halved
- 1 (14.5-ounce) can san Marzano style diced tomatoes
- ½ -1 teaspoon red pepper flakes (depending on spice preference)
- 2 tablespoons cold butter
- 8 ounces linguine, capellini, or spaghetti
- parmesan cheese, for serving
- SHRIMP STOCK: Combine the shrimp peels, water, parsley, peppercorns, and 6 whole cloves of garlic, a big pinch of salt in a stockpot. Allow the stock to come to a boil, then lower the heat and let simmer for 10 minutes. Strain the stock through a strainer, reserve 1 cup of the stock.
- PASTA: Bring a large pot of water to a boil, salt the water, and cook the pasta minus 1-2 minutes from the package directions, drain and set aside.
- SIMMER: In a saute pan, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Slice the remaining 4 cloves of garlic into slices. Add the garlic along with the red pepper flakes to the oil and allow the garlic to sizzle for about 1 minute. Add ¾ cup of shrimp stock and bring to a simmer before adding in all the tomatoes. Stir to combine and when the tomatoes start to simmer, season with salt and black pepper. Cover, lower the heat to low and cook for 10 minutes. Remove the lid, raise the heat back to medium, and continue to cook for 5 minutes until the sauce thickens.
- FINISH: Add the shrimp and let the shrimp cook for 2 minutes, then add the butter and stir it in so that it just melts into the sauce. Continue to cook until the shrimp is almost done, about another 30-60 seconds. Check for seasonings, season with additional salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes if desired. Add the prepared pasta and toss. If the sauce is too thick, you can add a little bit of the remaining shrimp stock to thin. Sprinkle with chopped parsley and parmesan cheese before serving.
- I sometimes like to squeeze some fresh lemon juice on top just before serving. The freshness really makes the flavor of the shrimp POP.