Shrimp Pasta and Spicy Fresh Tomato Sauce with Saffron
Recipe Type: Pasta
Cuisine: Italian
Serves: 3 servings
This shrimp pasta is topped with a spicy and sweet fresh tomato sauce with saffron and succulent shrimp, making it irresistibly slurpable.
  • 8oz spaghetti alla chitarra or regular spaghetti
  • 8oz shrimp, cleaned, bottom shell intact
  • ¼ cup plus 3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil, divided
  • 8oz spring onions (2 large, 4-5 small) or 1 medium white onion, finely chopped
  • 30 cocktail tomatoes or 2 ¼ lbs of other ripe tomatoes
  • ¼ – ½ tsp crushed hot red pepper flakes (I actually used two very small whole dried peppers which I crushed)
  • 1 large pinch saffron threads
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • Kosher salt and fresh cracked pepper
  • Basil leaves, for garnish
  1. Cook onions: Heat a sauce pan over medium heat. Add ¼ cup of oil and onions. Season with salt and hot pepper flakes. Cook slowly, reducing heat to medium-low when needed to prevent browning. Cook a total of about 25-30 minutes or until softened and very sweet.
  2. Blanch and peel tomatoes: While onions cook, bring a large pot of water to a boil. Using a paring knife score tomatoes by cutting a small ‘x’ through the skin on the bottom of the tomatoes. This will make them easier to peel. Fill a large bowl with cold water and ice. Add tomatoes to boiling water in batches for about 15-30 seconds. Use a spider or slotted spoon to transfer to ice water bath. When cooled, drain tomatoes and pat dry. Peel and discard skin. Chop in ½ inch pieces. Keep water in pot warm to later use for pasta.
  3. Cook tomatoes: Add tomatoes, saffron, salt and 2 tablespoons of oil to cooked onions. Bring to a simmer and cook for about 1 – 1 ½ hours or until sauce is flavorful and thickened.
  4. Cook pasta and shrimp: Bring water back to a boil for the pasta. Season very generously with salt and cook pasta until al dente. Drain. While pasta cooks, heat a large pan over medium-high heat. Add remaining tablespoon of oil followed by the shrimp. Cook a total of about 3 minutes or until mostly cooked through, flipping half way through. Remove from pan and lower heat to medium. Add cooked pasta to pan with enough tomato sauce to coat. Add butter and toss until melted and emulsified. Stir in shrimp. Transfer to serving bowls and top with a spoonful of additional salt, a drizzle of olive oil and basil. Enjoy.
Recipe by Honest Cooking at