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Quick Garlic Chilli Prawn Linguine

Spicy chilli prawn (shrimp) linguine with a hearty punch of garlic, fried capers and chopped basil is the perfect seafood pasta dinner.

Preparing this recipe takes a leisurely 10 minutes and once you are ready to cook then another 10-12 minutes.

Close-up garlic chilli prawn (shrimp) linguine being picked up with a fork.

Spicy Chilli, Garlic and Prawn Pasta

Prawn pasta is my idea of the perfect quick and easy dinner, both are quick to cook and I think that shellfish always feels a little special.

My site is littered with examples that range from squid in spaghetti with prawns & fennel and prawn & pea pasta to prawn pesto pasta and prawn & chorizo pasta.

My latest offering is a delicious garlic, chilli and caper linguine and it is superb.

Just like most of the examples above it does not come in a thick or heavy sauce and relies on infusing flavours in oil which then just coats the pasta in those delicious flavours.

Naturally, chilli provides heat, but I use a combination of chillies, which also adds a smokiness to the recipe.

Garlic, and loads of it, gives the dish a big bold flaovur guaranteed to ward off vampires.

Finally, we get capers, which lends the recipe a wonderful floral acidity that is perfect with the prawns.

And you get all of this loveliness in less than 30 minutes, and that includes defrosting your prawns!

Garlic chilli prawn (shrimp) linguine with fried capers and basil.

Frequently Asked Questions

What’s the difference between prawn and shrimp?

Biologically they are different, however, from a cooking point of view, the terms prawn and shrimp are interchangeable.

If you are in the Continental US you are likely to use the words shrimp, if you are from the UK or Australia you will likely use the term prawn.

What size prawns do you use?

Generally speaking, I use whatever I have in my freezer, and that for me means big old king prawns.

These were 16-20 in size (which relates to the number of prawns you get per pound in weight). I like to cut these up so that you get some sweet seafood in every bite.

Do I need to defrost the prawns before cooking them?

Yes, this recipe needs defrosted prawns.

Don’t worry though they are quick and easy to defrost, place them in a sieve or colander and run some cold water over them. They will be ready to go in 5 minutes or so.

Why do you use different types of chilli?

The simple answer is flavour, Ancho chillies give a smokey sweetness, Chipotle Chillies give more smokiness and a little more heat, and regular dried chillies provide raw heat.

Finally, fresh chilli adds a roundness of heat to the dish thanks to the oils infusing with the olive oil.

Can I use different types of pasta?

Yes, absolutely! I am not particularly hung up on the “rules” of pasta pairing, however, I think that this dish works better with longer types of pasta.

But you could use everything from spaghetti to fettuccine and tagliatelle to pappadelle.

Overhead garlic chilli prawn (shrimp) linguine with fried capers and basil.

Serving Suggestions

For me, pasta dishes are simple, light one-plate meals and this chilli and prawn linguine recipe is no different.

If I am serving them with anything it is usually some form of bread, if I am feeling like putting some effort in my favourite side at the moment is this soft potato focaccia bread recipe. It is delicious and they freeze really well.

However, this pasta recipe is designed to be a quick dinner, as a result, I would usually rustle up a garlic baguette. Mainly because it is quick, easy and… well, it’s garlic bread!

Close-up garlic chilli prawn (shrimp) linguine with fried capers and basil.

Equipment Used

I only name-check brands of equipment if I think that they make a material difference to a recipe. But, if you have any questions feel free to ask them in the comments section below the recipe.

  • Hob/stovetop.
  • 30cm or 12″ frying pan.
  • 20cm or 8″ saucepan.
  • Colander.
  • Chopping board.
  • Kicthen knife.
  • A combination of weighing scales, measuring cups and spoons.
Garlic and chilli prawn linguine with fried capers and basil.
Yield: 2 Servings

Garlic Chilli Prawn Linguine Recipe with Capers

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 12 minutes
Total Time: 22 minutes

You can't beat pasta and seafood for a quick meal and this wonderful garlic, chilli and prawn pasta with capers is both delicious and quick, it will go from your freezer/fridge to your table in well under 30 minutes.


  • 350g (12oz) Raw Shell Off Prawns
  • 175g (6oz) Pasta, I use Linguini
  • ¼ Tsp Salt (Plus Extra for Boiling Pasta)
  • 3 Tbsp Olive Oil
  • 1 Medium Hot Red Chilli Pepper
  • ½ Tsp Dried Chilli Flakes
  • 3 Garlic Cloves
  • 50g (⅓ Cup) Capers
  • 24 Basil Leaves


  1. If you are using frozen prawns defrost them by placing them in a sieve or colander and run cold water over them for 3-5 minutes.
  2. Bring a 20cm (8") pan of well-salted water to a boil, I use 1½ teaspoons of salt in a pan this size.
  3. Deseed the chilli pepper and cut it into a fine dice.
  4. Peel the garlic cloves and dice them as finely as you can.
  5. Drain the capers, place them on a chopping board and give them a bash with the side of a knife. You are not looking to mash them, just crush them a little.
  6. Finely shred (chifonade) the basil.
  7. I like to use a mix of Chipotle, Ancho and Regular chilli flakes in this dish, so I place them in a small bowl before I start cooking to make measuring them out easier.
  8. If you have king or jumbo prawns set 3 per portion aside and then cut the rest into bite-sized pieces so that they distribute nicely through the dish.
  9. By now the water for the pasta should be boiling, add the pasta and cook until al dente, this should take 8-10 minutes.
  10. A minute or two after you have added the pasta, heat the olive oil in a 30cm or 12" frying pan over a high heat, and when the oil is hot add the capers and fry them for a minute or two, be careful they will spit and spatter.
  11. Turnt he heat to very low and add the garlic, fresh and dried chilli and stir for 1 minute. If you are using a ceramic electric hob/stovetop it is better to remove the pan from the heat for this phase.
  12. Turn the heat up to high again (you should have 3 or 4 minutes left on the pasta), and when things begin to sizzle add the prawns and salt, then cook for 3-4 minutes.
  13. Drain the pasta, reserving 75ml (⅓ Cup) of the cooking water, then add the pasta to the pan along with the shredded basil, toss to coat adding as much of the cooking water required to form a nice sauce.
  14. Serve with a little reserved shredded basil.

Nutrition Information:



Serving Size:


Amount Per Serving: Calories: 736Total Fat: 25gSaturated Fat: 4gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 19gCholesterol: 370mgSodium: 2549mgCarbohydrates: 73gFiber: 4gSugar: 4gProtein: 53g

Calorific details are provided by a third-party application and are to be used as indicative figures only.

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