Spaghetti Aglio e Olio with Prawns
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Yield: Serves 2
  • 10 medium prawns / 6 to 8 large prawns
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • Dash of cayenne pepper (optional)
  • 6 to 8 cloves garlic
  • 180 to 200 grams spaghetti (or other pasta of your preference)
  • 6 to 8 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • Dried chili flakes (as much as you want)
  • Freshly chopped flat-leaf parsley (as garnish)
Prep Work
  1. Remove the prawns' heads and shells (keep them to make stock). De-vein the prawns and place them in a small bowl. Rub in 1 teaspoon salt and set aside for 5 minutes.
  2. Rinse the prawns and pat-dry thoroughly with paper towels. Place them in a dry bowl and season with salt, freshly ground black pepper and, if using, cayenne pepper. Set aside.
  3. Peel and mince garlic - either with a garlic press or with a knife.
  4. Chop up the flat-leaf parsley, if using.
  1. Bring a large pot of water to boil. Season the water with 1 tablespoon salt for every litre of water. Meanwhile, have a large frying pan ready.
  2. When the water has come to a boil, add in the pasta, stirring occasionally to prevent the pasta from sticking to each other.
  3. Heat the frying pan over high heat and add in 1 tablespoon of oil. Add in the prawns in a single layer and sear, not touching the prawns at all, until one side is browned. Flip to the other side and sear until the prawns are cooked. It will take only about 2 to 3 minutes to cook the prawns. Remove the prawns from the frying pan into a bowl.
  4. Lower the heat down to low and add in remaining 5 or 7 tablespoons of oil. Add in the minced garlic and stir frequently so that they cook evenly. Let the garlic turn into a light golden-brown then add in the chili flakes. If your pasta is not ready, remove from heat as the garlic will continue to cook in the hot oil even though the pan has been removed from heat. If the pasta is ready, let the garlic cook until they turn slightly darker in colour.
  5. When the pasta is al dente, drain the pasta and, without rinsing the pasta, add them directly into the pan of garlic. There's no need to drain the pasta too thoroughly as you want to add some pasta water into the pan as well.
  6. If you have removed the frying pan from heat, return the frying pan back on high heat and toss everything together until the pasta is well-coated with oil.
  7. Divide the pasta between 2 serving plates and place the prawns on top. Garnish with flat-leaf parsley, if using, and serve immediately with extra chili flakes on the side.
Naggy Notes
- The best scenario is for the garlic and pasta to be ready at the same time but it's not always the case. Just make this dish more often and you will definitely get the hang of it!
- You can substitute dried chili flakes with bird's eye chili.
Recipe by Foodie Baker at