Tomato Chilli Prawn Pasta

Tomato chilli prawn pasta is where comfort food meets nutritious tomato prawns. Prawns are baked in a flavorful spicy tomato sauce and added to pasta for a quick and healthy seafood dinner.

closeup view of tomato chilli prawn pasta on a white plate and a pan full of pasta in the background.

About the recipe

Honestly, I was never a fan of the tomato sauce, the tang is too much for me, especially the store-bought ones or even the restaurant ones. Coming from the land of spices, I love my spices.

I just cannot eat anything with tomatoes and garlic without spices. Not even pasta. (I hope now you’ll forgive me for adding chilies to my mint pesto, spinach pesto, and chilli pesto which I used for red pesto pasta!)

Unless it is a no-cream creamy pasta like mushroom and courgette pasta or veggie pasta with vegan garlic sauce.

That was until I figured out a way to balance the tangy flavor of the tomatoes with chilies, garlic, onions and herbs. I’m so thankful I did, this chilli and garlic prawn pasta has become one of the favorite seafood recipes for my family and friends.

close-up view of tomato chilli prawn pasta in a wide pan.

Angel hair is the easiest and quickest pasta to cook. The tomato and chilli sauce for pasta takes about 10 minutes to prepare, including the chopping and blending.

Prawns are then cooked in the sauce: you have the option to bake or simmer on stove-top. Either way, prawns in spicy tomato sauce wouldn’t take more than 15 minutes to cook.

That’s the reason I love prawns (apart from tasting awesome, of course!). They cook very fast, as we saw in recipes like tandoori prawns, prawn fry, and pan-fried prawns and peppers.

While the shrimps are simmering away in the sauce, you can cook angel hair pasta that takes 1 minute flat. Delicious, Easy and Healthy shrimp pasta recipe that helps you get dinner to the table in less than 30 minutes.

Hands down, this pasta tops my list of quick and easy dinner recipes. You’re going to LOVE this!

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How to make tomato chilli prawn pasta- step by step

(You can find the exact measurements and instructions in the printable recipe card at the end of this page.)

Tomato and chilli sauce for pasta

The tomato sauce is made by sauteing onions, garlic, tomatoes, basil, oregano, paprika, chili flakes and then blending to form a paste. Before blending, add my secret ingredient: parsley stems.

They give an amazing flavor to the sauce and balance out the zesty flavor of tomatoes. They may slightly change the bright red color of the tomatoes but that’s the compromise you make for a great-tasting pasta sauce.

How to prepare the prawns

If buying fresh prawns, remove the shells and tail and devein. If using frozen prawns, thaw them by washing a few times with tap water or soaking in tap water for about 10 minutes, until they reach room temperature.

Leaving frozen prawns to thaw naturally (on the kitchen counter) will make them go limp and mushy.

Prawns are very delicate and they have to be handled with care. Like the sauteed shrimp with peppers and prawns fry, they taste awesome with minimal seasoning and handling.

How to bake prawns in spicy tomato sauce

Grease a baking tray with butter and arrange the shrimps in a single layer. Spread the red sauce to completely cover the prawns. Bake in the oven for 15 minutes at 350°F/ 175°C.

Can you cook tomato prawns on stovetop?

Baking the sauce with shrimps locks in the flavor and gives a thick consistency. However, if you want to cook the sauce on stovetop, by all means, go ahead. It takes a bit longer if simmered on stove-top. Heat butter in a pan and add the shrimps and sauce. Mix and simmer until the prawns are cooked (become opaque).

How do you cook angel hair pasta?

I used to think that nobody needs to learn how to cook pasta because it is so straightforward. I’ve never been so WRONG! If you don’t cook it right, you will be left with a lump of pasta that is overcooked in some parts and undercooked in some. Or just clumpy overcooked pasta. Cooking angel hair pasta is trickier because it cooks so fast, you wouldn’t even have time to think about the damage!

So when cooking angel hair, I can’t stress “al dente” more. That means the pasta should be “firm to the bite” and not too soft.

To begin with, ensure that you’ve started cooking the shrimps with the sauce in the oven (or stovetop) BEFORE cooking the pasta because the sauce has to be hot and ready when the pasta is done.

Boil water (about 3 liters/ 12 cups for this recipe) in a large stockpot with 1 tablespoon of salt. There should be enough water and space for the pasta to move around. So choose a large pot to boil the pasta.

How long does angel hair pasta take to cook?

Angel hair pasta typically takes 2 to 4 minutes to cook depending on the brand. Cook 1 minute lesser than the time specified in the package. Mine said 2 minutes so I cooked for 1 minute. (quicker than instant noodles!) This is because you are going to mix the pasta with hot sauce where it again gets cooked in the residual heat.

chilli and garlic prawn pasta served from a pan on 2 white plates.

Drain the pasta while you reserve 1/2 cup of pasta water. The spicy prawns in tomato sauce will be ready by now. Place the pasta in a wide pan and toss with the tomato prawns. Add the reserved pasta water as necessary, a few teaspoons at a time. Sprinkle with grated parmesan and parsley.

closeup view of tomato prawns with pasta in a white plate with a fork.

Pair this tomato chili prawn pasta with Italian potato croquettes for an indulgent dinner. Or serve with a simple side like sheet pan potatoes and broccoli.

Or make the beet orange salad for a healthier side.

Tips to make the best chilli prawn pasta

Cilantro can also be used instead of parsley, or replace half of parsley with cilantro. Do whatever mix-and-match suits you, but do not skip the stems while making the red sauce. It makes ALL the difference.

Toss the pasta with the sauce while it is still HOT. This helps pasta absorb the sauce better.

Hope I have answered all your questions about this shrimp pasta recipe. If you have more questions, please let me know in the comment section below. I’ll try my best to answer them!

Do you love seafood but are not sure where to start?

Try my beginner-friendly simple fish cakes without potato, or the fool-proof baked salmon kabobs.

More pasta recipes

More seafood recipes

closeup view of tomato chilli prawn pasta in a wide pan.

Tomato Chilli Prawn Pasta Recipe

Tomato chilli prawn pasta is where comfort food meets nutritious tomato prawns. Prawns are baked in a flavorful spicy tomato sauce and added to pasta for a quick and healthy seafood dinner.
Author: Sheeba
Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 20 mins
Total Time 30 mins
Course dinner, LUNCH, Main Course
Cuisine Italian
Servings 5
Calories 391 kcal

Ingredients
  

  • 10 ounces angel hair pasta (300 gms)
  • 1 pound prawns (500 grams) peeled and deveined
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 3 cloves garlic chopped
  • 2 onions medium, diced
  • 4 tomatoes large, diced
  • 1 teaspoon chili flakes
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt (plus 1 tablespoon for cooking pasta)
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 3 tablespoons freshly grated parmesan
  • parsley a bunch (stems and leaves separated)
  • pepper to taste

Instructions
 

  • Preheat the oven to 350°F/ 175°C.
    Heat olive oil in a pan and saute the onions and garlic for 2 to 3 minutes. Add tomatoes, chili flakes, paprika, basil, oregano, salt and pepper. Saute until the tomatoes turn mushy. Remove from heat and cool the mixture.
    Blend the mixture along with the parsley stems. You can keep the sauce chunky or blend it to a smooth consistency, according to your preference.
  • Grease a baking dish with butter. Place the prawns in a single layer and spread the sauce to cover the prawns. Bake in the oven for 15 minutes. (note 2)
  • While the prawns and sauce are cooking in the oven, bring 3 litres (12 cups) of water with 1 tablespoon salt to a rolling boil in a large pot. Add the angel hair pasta and cook for 1-3 minutes. (see note 1) Reserve 1/2 cup of pasta water and drain the pasta.
  • Once the sauce is ready, place the pasta in a wide pan and toss it with the prawns and sauce, adding the reserved pasta water as necessary, one tablespoon at a time (note 3). Top with grated parmesan cheese and parsley.

Video

Notes

  1. Angel hair pasta typically cooks in 2 to 4 minutes, depending on the brand. Cook 1 minute less than the time specified in the package. This is because it cooks again when tossed with the hot sauce.
  2. I used large prawns here that typically take 15 minutes to cook. Smaller prawns take 10 minutes.
  3. Toss in the pasta while the sauce is still hot. This ensures that the pasta absorbs the sauce well and the sauce clings on to each strand of pasta.
Cooking the sauce on stovetop:
The sauce can also be cooked on stovetop. Heat butter in a saute pan and add prawns and the blended onion tomato paste. Simmer on medium heat for about 5 to 10 minutes until the prawns are cooked. 
Make ahead option:
The cooked sauce with prawns can be sealed in an airtight container in the fridge.  In this case, cook the sauce for 5 minutes less, because the prawns get cooked again when being reheated. Reheat for 5 minutes in the microwave and toss in the pasta.
Variations: 
  1. Chicken breast can be used instead of shrimps.
  2. Vegetables like roasted or sauteed broccoli or cauliflower, boiled peas or spinach can be added. If using spinach, chop and add to the sauce as soon as you take it out of the oven.
  3. Other pasta like spaghetti or linguini can be used instead of angel hair. It would take about 5 to 10 minutes more to cook the pasta.
Tomato Chilli Prawn Pasta

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