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Greek Spicy Spaghetti with Shrimp
5 from 1 vote

Greek Spicy Spaghetti with Shrimp

A wish list of Mediterranean diet ingredients goes into this Greek recipe for garlicky shrimp pasta! Seafood is an important component of the Greek diet, and shrimp is always a favorite. Indeed, there are even a fewnative species of Greek shrimp. This dish would not be the same without both the herbs and the extra virgin Greek olive oil, and, of course, without the heat! You can use as much or as little chili pepper flakes, chili pepper and cayenne as you wish. The Mediterranean diet likes heat, in measured doses, of course!


  • 2 pounds fresh or frozen and defrosted whole shrimp with heads
  • 6 tablespoons extra virgin Greek olive oil
  • 1 large red onion finely chopped
  • 4 regular or brined Greek garlic cloves minced
  • Pinch of cayenne or smoked chili powder optional
  • 1 small fresh or dried chili pepper or ½ teaspoon dried chili pepper flakes or more, to taste
  • 4 cups fresh or good quality canned chopped tomatoes
  • ½ cup dry white wine
  • 6 thyme sprigs
  • 4 fresh oregano sprigs or 1 teaspoon dried Greek oregano
  • 1 knob of ginger about an inch thick and wide, peeled and chopped
  • Fresh parsley for garnish
  • 1 pound spaghetti
  • Sea salt and black pepper to taste


  1. Clean the shrimp: Under cold running water, separate the heads from the body of the shrimp and set aside. Peel and devein the shrimp. Save the shells. Place the shrimp in the fridge until ready to use.
  2. In a medium, wide pot, add 6 cups of cold water together with the shrimp heads and shells.. Bring to a boil and simmer until the liquid is reduced by half. Strain and set aside.
  3. Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a large, deep frying pan or wide pot over medium heat and cook the onion until soft and translucent, about 8 minutes, stirring from time to time. Add half the garlic, the chili pepper flakes and chili pepper and stir to coat in the oil and soften.
  4. Add the tomatoes and bring to a boil. Add the wine and one cup of the shrimp stock. Season to taste with salt and pepper, add the thyme and oregano sprigs or dried oregano, and simmer, partially covered, until the sauce is reduced by about a third and thick and luscious, about one hour.
  5. About ten minutes before the sauce is ready, prepare the shrimp: Heat two more tablespoons of olive oil in a separate skillet. Add the remaining garlic and the chopped ginger, swirl around for a minute, careful not to let it burn, and remove it with a spoon. Add the shrimp to the oil and cook over medium high heat until they start to turn bright pink. Transfer the shrimp and all pan juices to the tomato sauce and cook together for a few minutes. Remove the herb sprigs.
  6. While the sauce is simmering, prepare the pasta according to package directions, but add any remaining shrimp stock to the pasta boiling water. Prepare the pasta so that it is ready right around the time the sauce is also ready. Reserve one cup of the pasta boiling liquid before draining it.
  7. Drain the pasta and add it to the shrimp and tomato sauce, loosening up the mixture a little with some of the pasta liquid and the remaining olive oil. Toss gently and serve hot, garnished with fresh chopped parsley.