Shrimp Pasta Putanesca

Okay okay. This is not authentic pasta putanesca. It hints at it with the olives & capers but has much less tomatoes and definitely spruced up with shrimp. I wanted to make use of those really nice, large shrimp in my freezer but in a pasta format. I guess I can call this scampi but then it didn’t have enough spices to qualify as one.

Ever got trapped in a semantic merry-go-round? Heh.

Either way, this was really zippy. I mean, you do need 2-3 minutes extra to extract some shrimp liquor from the shells but other than that, it barely takes any time at all!

For this pasta, we’ll need Fusilli, Shrimp, Butter, Ham Strips, Shallots, Garlic, Anchovy Paste, Capers, Olives, Tomato, Ground Paprika, Scallions & Lemon Juice.
Shrimp Pasta Putanesca 1

I quite like buying shrimp with shell on just so I can make some shrimp stock for whatever dishes I’m using the shrimp in. It ups the shrimpiness (Is that a word? It is now!) in the dish. If you can’t get shell on shrimp, chicken stock works. 🙂 Authentic putanesca uses white wine but since I don’t cook with alcohol, this is fabulous!
Shrimp Pasta Putanesca 3

Everything nicely and finely chopped. Pasta cooked. Shrimp stock done did.
Shrimp Pasta Putanesca 4

Saute with butter… cos everything is good cooked in butter.
Shrimp Pasta Putanesca 5

You know those cheap packs of ham odds & ends at delis? Those that sometimes consist of ham ends, corners etc? Love them! They are good thrown in fried rice, pasta dishes, frittata, soup or whatever you want to bulk up. Ham flavour for barely half the price.
Shrimp Pasta Putanesca 6

Sizzle them up.
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You can definitely go with more tomatoes. Canned tomatoes are good. I happen to like fresh tomatoes A LOT in pasta.
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A sprinkle of paprika powder to add smokiness & colour.
Shrimp Pasta Putanesca 9

Silky silky pasta. I might or might not have sneak a few while making the sauce. Key word = Might.
Shrimp Pasta Putanesca 10

Shrimps can’t take too much cooking so this is perfect!
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Looking good?
Shrimp Pasta Putanesca 12

A nice squeeze of lemon juice for more brightness!
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Pasta + Seafood = Marriage Made In Heaven (#MMIH)
Shrimp Pasta Putanesca 14

So unassuming.. till you take a bite.
Shrimp Pasta Putanesca 15

Sweet shrimp with zingy capers sit well in my tummy.
How would you make this differently?


“These things I have spoken unto you, that in Me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.” {John 16:33}

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Shrimp Pasta Putanesca
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Recipe type: Main
Cuisine: Italian
Serves: 4-5
  • 6 oz (200 gm) Fusilli Pasta
  • 10 large Shrimp, shell on
  • 1 cup Water, from cooking pasta
  • 2 tbsp Butter
  • 4 cloves Garlic, peeled & minced
  • 3 Shallots, peeled & sliced thinly
  • 1 tsp Anchovy Paste
  • 1 Tomato, chop finely
  • 8 pitted Black Olives, chopped
  • 2 tbsp Capers, chopped
  • ½ tsp Ground Paprika
  • 3 oz (85 gm) Ham, sliced into strips
  • 2 stalks Scallions, chopped
  • Lemon Juice, to taste
  1. Cook pasta in plenty of well salted water.
  2. Meanwhile, peel shrimp & toss shells into small sauce pan. Add 1 cup pasta-cooking water into pan & simmer for 10 minutes. Drain & retain stock.
  3. In a large pot, melt butter. Saute garlic & shallots for 1 minutes until shallots are translucent.
  4. Add ham & anchovy paste & stir until anchovy dissolves completely.
  5. Pour in shrimp stock, tomatoes, paprika, olives & capers. Simmer for 2-3 minutes.
  6. Toss in shrimp.
  7. Add drained al dente fusilli into sauce. Stir until well mixed & shrimp is just cooked. Taste to adjust seasoning with lemon juice.
  8. Sprinkle in chopped scallions & stir briefly.
  9. Serve immediately.

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