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Spicy Shrimp Pasta from the Low Country

Our contributor from the coast of Carolina shares her regionally-inspired pasta that fuses the cuisine of Italy and the Low Country.

10:57 AM EST on January 18, 2024

Spicy Shrimp Pasta from Low Country Bella.

Spicy Shrimp Pasta from Low Country Bella.

Think of Spicy Shrimp Pasta as Amatriciana meets Fra Diavolo. It is one of my most requested recipes, and I love making it for several reasons.

Being a Low Country Bella, I have access to the freshest shrimp here in South Carolina. There is nothing better than picking up a pound of sweet shrimp that was swimming a few hours earlier. However, if you can't get fresh shrimp, frozen is just fine. Please just use wild-caught shrimp. 

I've tweaked this spicy shrimp pasta recipe over the years, adding some pork fat, preferably guanciale. The first time I tasted guanciale in Italy, the angels sang, and I knew this ingredient would be a part of my life forever. When I added it to my shrimp and pasta dish, the pork fat just gave it a silky, luxurious flavor. Guanciale is becoming a little easier to find in the United States, but mostly in specialty stores. However, do not despair if you can't find guanciale, you can use pancetta instead.

The best part about this dish is you can make it as spicy as you want. I usually choose medium spice just to ensure my guests enjoy it. 

I hope you love this recipe as much as we do in my family! 

Spicy Shrimp Pasta

Spicy Shrimp Pasta

5 from 1 vote
Recipe by Low Country Bella


Prep time


Cooking time




  • 1 lb 1 peeled and deveined shrimp

  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil

  • 4 cloves 4 garlic, minced

  • 1/4 1/4 small, sweet onion, finely chopped

  • Red pepper flakes according to your spice level

  • 1/3 cup 1/3 diced guanciale or pancetta

  • 1/4 cup 1/4 white wine

  • 4 cups 4 diced tomatoes (off-season, like Campari tomatoes)

  • 2 tbsp 2 tomato paste

  • 2 tbsp 2 Italian parsley minced

  • Kosher salt

  • 1/2 lb 1/2 linguini

  • grated Pecorino Romano (to taste)


  • In a large pan, coat bottom with olive oil just to cover.¬†¬†
  • Once oil is hot, add garlic and cook until golden.¬†¬†
  • Add red pepper flakes and Guanciale, cooking for 5 minutes.
  • Add onion, cooking another 5¬†minutes until translucent.¬†¬†
  • Stir in the tomato paste and wine.
  • Once simmering, add tomatoes.
  • Let simmer for 30 minutes, gently pressing tomatoes with spoon as they soften.¬†¬†
  • Salt to taste.¬†¬†
  • Taste then salt again (if necessary).
  • Start water for pasta, ensuring to salt the pasta water once it boils. ¬†¬†
  • Cook pasta according to directions (al dente).
  • When pasta is five minutes before al dente, add shrimp to tomatoes.¬†¬†
  • Cook for 5 minutes, stirring often to ensure even cooking.¬†¬†
  • Turn off burner, add cooked pasta to shrimp and tomatoes, using tongs to toss (add a little pasta water, if needed).¬†¬†¬†
  • Mix in parsley and toss a bit more.¬†¬†
  • Serve in pasta bowls, top with fresh grated cheese (to taste) and a little more parsley for garnish.¬†¬†

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