Capellini and Shrimp Alla Rosa

Prep Time
Cook Time
1h 10m
Ready In

Recipe: #11035

November 06, 2013

"This is probably my favorite pasta recipe of all time. Originally from Food & Wine's "Pasta" cookbook, I've tweaked it over the years to my taste. Here's their description: "Slender capellini soak up sauce like a blotter. So, toss the pasta first with butter and then ladle the basil-infused sauce over each portion." Their wine recommendation is a Vinho Verde from Portugal. Yum, one of my favorites too! This recipe doubles and triples very well - I've served it many times for dinner parties and everyone loves it."

Original is 4 servings


  • Serving Size: 1 (427.9 g)
  • Calories 558.4
  • Total Fat - 18.8 g
  • Saturated Fat - 10.3 g
  • Cholesterol - 153 mg
  • Sodium - 1182.4 mg
  • Total Carbohydrate - 80.3 g
  • Dietary Fiber - 12.4 g
  • Sugars - 6.5 g
  • Protein - 20.6 g
  • Calcium - 94.7 mg
  • Iron - 1.7 mg
  • Vitamin C - 30.6 mg
  • Thiamin - 0.3 mg

Step by Step Method

Step 1

In a large saucepan, melt 3 tablespoons of the butter over moderately low heat. Add the onion, garlic, red pepper flakes and salt and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion is translucent, about 5 minutes.

Step 2

Add the tomatoes and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer, partially covered, until thick, about 45 minutes. Stir occasionally during cooking.

Step 3

During the last 10 minutes of cooking, put a large pot of water on the stove and bring to a boil, getting ready for the pasta.

Step 4

Mash the tomatoes with a potato masher until all large pieces are broken up. (Original recipe says to run through a food mill, but I don't think it's necessary)

Step 5

Add the heavy cream and bring the sauce to a boil over moderate heat.

Step 6

Add the shrimp and basil and cook just until the shrimp are pink, about 4 minutes.

Step 7

Add salt to the pot of boiling water, then add the pasta. Cook until the pasta is just done, about 3 minutes. Drain.

Step 8

Toss the pasta with the remaining 1 tablespoon butter.

Step 9

The original recipe says to serve the pasta topped with the sauce, but we like to just mix it all together in the pot and serve already coated.

Step 10

You can pass freshly grated parmesan at the table, if desired.


No special items needed.

Editorial Notes

The ingredient tips, suggestions, variations, facts, questions and answers below are not edits to the original author's recipe. They are not meant to imply any change would improve the recipe. They're offered for convenience, alternative ideas, and points of interest. If you have any comments about them, please post in the Help & Ideas forum.

  • When selecting shrimp, make sure to buy shrimp that has already been shelled and deveined for easy preparation.
  • For best flavor, use fresh basil instead of dried. If using dried, reduce the amount to 1 teaspoon.

  • Substitute the shrimp with chicken or tofu for a vegetarian option. The benefit of this substitution is that it provides an alternative protein for those who don't eat shrimp.
  • Substitute the capellini with linguine or spaghetti for a heartier dish. The benefit of this substitution is that it provides a more filling dish for those who prefer a more substantial pasta.

Capellini and Shrimp Alla Verde Replace the tomatoes with 2 cups of fresh spinach and add 1/4 cup of white wine to the sauce. Omit the heavy cream and reduce the cooking time to 25 minutes.

Garlic Bread - A perfect accompaniment to Capellini and Shrimp Alla Rosa, garlic bread adds a delicious crunch and flavor to the meal. It's an easy and tasty way to round out the dish.

Sauteed Green Beans: Sauteed green beans are a great way to add a healthy, crunchy side dish to this meal. The garlic-infused flavor will pair nicely with the garlic bread, and the bright green color will add a nice visual contrast to the plate. Plus, green beans are a great source of vitamins and minerals.


Q: How do I know when the pasta is done?

A: To know when the pasta is done, use a fork to test it. When the pasta is cooked, it should be tender and slightly chewy. If it is still too hard, cook it for a few more minutes. Once it’s done, drain the pasta and toss with the remaining butter.

Q: How do I store cooked pasta?

A: Cooked pasta should be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to five days. To keep the pasta from sticking together, toss it with a bit of olive oil before storing. Reheat the pasta in a pot of boiling water or in the microwave before serving.

11 Reviews


I scaled back for one serve and made as per recipe with the exception of the pasta choice which in my case was Ramen Noodles but if I was dining with others the only sound, I am sure would have been UMMMMM's so totally delicious and though I got through all the prawns I could not the sauce and noodles but the hubby enjoyed them in a toastie adding some defrosted seafood which cooked with the toastie, winner all round. Thank you Chef Potpie for the recommendation and JostLori for the recipe. made for Best Of '22 tag game at FF&F.


review by:
(16 Feb 2023)

Chef Potpie

We really loved this sauce! Very tasty after reducing on the stove and the added creaminess put it over the top. I roasted the shrimp for more flavor and added them when the sauce was done. This is a keeper, and so easy, too! Hubs is in love with it. This one's going into my Best File! Thanks, Lori!


review by:
(17 Feb 2022)


We really enjoyed this dish...the only change I made was not only to cut the recipe in half for the two of us...but to use only 2 ounces of noodles per person...and it still made a lot of noodles...I used angel hair pasta...I did the potato mashing of the tomatoes...but I've been wondering if you just used a can of crushed might be able to skip the mashing...I wish I would have used the fresh would have added a nice touch of nutty time...made for "Best of 2021" tag game...


review by:
(14 Feb 2022)


Couldn't wait to try this and it was fabulous! Loved the simplicity and the flavors even more. What a luscious entree!


(28 Mar 2021)


Oh….Y-U-M-Mmmmm! We enjoyed every mouthful of this succulent tasting dish. It’s pretty simple to make and tastes like it’s something that your best friend’s off-the-boat Italian mom or grandma would make. Each ingredient stands on its own and the flavors are not obscured with the extra this-and-that. I upped the garlic and a bit more of the onion and added an extra 15 oz can of tomato sauce (too make sure we had enough for 5-6 servings). Because if my son knew there was onions, he would not have a single bite, so ran it through the blender, but felt like it sure didn’t need it, as I like it a bit chunky. So Good! Thank you, JostLori, for sharing this keeper! Made it for FYC.


review by:
(28 Mar 2021)


This was amazing!!!! I had all of the ingredients in my freezer and pantry except for the fresh basil. I ended up subbing 1 T of dried basil instead, which worked in a pinch. Even without that lovely fresh basil, this recipe makes it into my Best of 2020 file. It's sooooo good! I LOVED the garlic notes against the tomato background. The buttering of the noodles before adding sauce was a new technique for me, and I adored it. It really made a difference! Thank you!


review by:
(16 Apr 2020)

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Fun facts:

This recipe was inspired by the classic Italian dish, Spaghetti alla Puttanesca, which translates to 'spaghetti of the whore' and is believed to have originated in Naples in the mid-20th century.

Vinho Verde is a white wine from Portugal that is popular in the US and has been served to celebrities such as Beyonce and Jay-Z, as well as to former US President Barack Obama.