This Creamy Prawn Linguine will become a regular addition to your pasta repertoire. You can prepare this meal quickly and easily, making it suitable for busy weeknights but sufficiently elegant to serve when entertaining. The delicately flavoured prawns are bathed in a creamy garlic sauce which is highlighted by the tang of lemon juice and zest. It is so delicious!
Why we love this recipe:
This dish is simple, but elegant and is not limited to one season, it is suitable to serve year-round. Garlic and prawns are a classic flavour combination and we have added cream and lemon to make them even more delicious. Put simply, this Creamy Prawn Linguine is a crowd-pleaser.
You will love this recipe because:
- It is simple but elegant.
- Although it is creamy, the lemon zest and juice add bright, fresh flavour to the sauce.
- It’s fast, it’s easy and it tastes great.
- There is a perfect blend of flavours.
Ingredients in this recipe:
Please see the recipe card further along in the post for exact quantities of ingredients and the full method.
Linguine – a long pasta, which may be either dried or fresh. You could also use spaghetti or fettuccine.
Prawns – you can also use shrimp. The names are sometimes used interchangeably but they are not the same creatures. For cooking purposes, you can use either. We use raw, shelled, de-veined prawns, also known as green prawns.
Extra Virgin Olive Oil – from the first pressing of the olives, this is the best quality olive oil with the best flavour and nutritional benefit.
Butter – either salted or unsalted.
Garlic – I use finely chopped fresh garlic.
Lemon zest and juice – adds bright flavour and a gentle tang to balance the creaminess. It also helps to thicken the sauce slightly.
Thickened cream – also known as heavy cream or whipping cream. It has a minimum milk fat content of 35%.
Parsley – fresh parsley adds flavour and colour. For the best flavour, use the flat-leaf, continental variety.
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper – to taste. My preference is for sea salt flakes and freshly ground black pepper.
Step by step instructions:
Cook your pasta in a large pot of salted boiling water until just al dente. Before draining, reserve 1 cup of pasta water.
- Pat the prepared prawns dry with paper towel.
- Meanwhile, in a large frying pan over medium-high heat, add the oil and butter. Once the butter has melted, add the prawns and cook for 1-2 minutes on each side or until they are almost cooked through. Remove from the pan and set aside.
- Add the garlic to the pan and cook for 1 minute. Then, add the lemon juice and zest and scrape the bottom of the pan to get all the flavour.
- Add in the cream. Cook for 2 minutes.
- Return the prawns to the pan and add the pasta. Add a little pasta water and stir well to combine. (About 1-2 minutes)
- Season to taste, adding sea salt and freshly ground black pepper. If the sauce is too thick, add a little extra pasta water. Garnish with parsley and serve immediately as the sauce will thicken more as it stands.
Tips for success and FAQS:
Prawns are fantastic to keep on hand in the freezer. They are really convenient for impromptu meals as there are so many ways to enjoy them, either as a simple starter or main course.
As the sauce will thicken as the dish stands, we recommend serving the Creamy Prawn Linguine immediately.
I defrost mine in an iced-water brine. Use a bowl large enough to accommodate all your prawns. Add some ice to cold water and add coarse kitchen salt, about 1 ½ tablespoons of salt per 1 litre (4 cups) of water. Add to the bowl of prawns. There should be sufficient brined water to submerge the prawns. Stir them occasionally until they defrost. Remove them immediately, pat them dry with paper towel and store in the refrigerator in an airtight container until you are ready to use them. They are best prepared on the day you intend to use them. Alternatively, you can defrost them in the refrigerator. Sit them in a colander over a bowl. Do not let them sit in their own juices. When defrosted, pat them dry with paper towel and store in the refrigerator in an airtight container. It is best to do this on the day that you intend to use them. Do not defrost prawns at room temperature or in the microwave.
Sometimes you will notice a thin, dark line down the back of the prawn/shrimp and for aesthetics and taste, it is best to remove it. You may find the prawns/shrimp that you purchase will already be de-veined. If not, I find that the easiest way is to run a small, sharp knife down the back of the prawn, being careful to not cut too far and cut it in half. With the tip of the knife, or a toothpick, lift the digestive tract away from the prawn flesh. Sometimes it pulls away, all in one piece, but not always so it may take several tries to remove it.
Raw prawns are preferred. However, you can use cooked, but you must be careful to only just warm them through or they will become tough. Add them when you return the pasta to the pan.
No, please don’t rinse the pasta. You will wash away all the starch and it’s the starch which helps the sauce adhere to the linguine. You will also wash away the pasta flavour.
The pasta water may look slightly cloudy and uninspiring, but it is liquid gold. It contains salt and starch from the cooked pasta. When you add the cooked pasta to the sauce, along with some of the reserved pasta water, it acts as a thickening agent and emulsifies with the cream, creating a silky, luxurious sauce which clings to the linguine. This is how it’s done in Italy.
This Creamy Prawn Linguine is a complete meal on its own, but works so well alongside a fresh salad, such as our:
Or serve with our Easy Spelt Focaccia.
More delicious recipes for you to try:
A comforting dish of pasta is a favourite for any night of the week! Here are some more of our favourite recipes for you to try:
- Spinach and Ricotta Pasta Shells
- Creamy Tuna Pasta
- Roasted Cherry Tomato Pasta
- Pumpkin, Ricotta and Sage Pasta Shells
- Chicken and Broccoli Pasta Bake
- Bacon Mac and Cheese
- Creamy Sun-Dried Tomato Chicken Pasta
Creamy Prawn Linguine is one of my favourite pasta meals, and I hope that it becomes one of yours too. Serve it weeknights for a quick, easy meal or more formally for an impressive meal when entertaining. There is a perfect balance of flavours in this dish; it is creamy, with the tang of lemon offsetting the cream and the prawns adding a luxurious element. I hope that you enjoy this meal very soon.
Creamy Prawn Linguine
- 320 g (11 oz) dried linguine pasta See Note 1
- 400 g (14 oz) raw frozen prawns – peeled and de-veined See Notes 2 and 3
- 1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil
- 2 tablespoon butter See Note 4
- 2 cloves garlic – finely chopped
- 2 teaspoon lemon zest See Note 5
- 4 tablespoon lemon juice See Note 4
- 310 ml (1 ¼ cups) heavy/thickened cream See Note 6
- 4 tablespoon flat-leaf parsley – finely chopped
- sea salt and freshly ground black pepper – to taste
- 1 cup pasta water – reserve before draining pasta – you may not need to use it all
For accuracy, we recommend weighing your ingredients. This will produce the best results.
- Cook your pasta in a large pot of salted boiling water until just al dente. Before draining into a colander, reserve 1 cup of pasta water.
- Whilst the pasta is cooking, pat the prawns dry.
- In a large frying pan over medium-high heat, add the oil and butter.Once the butter has melted, add the prawns and cook for 1-2 minutes on each side or until they are almost cooked through.
- Remove the prawns from the pan and set them aside. It is important to take the prawns out of the frying pan before they are properly cooked as they will be going back into the pan later. Overcooking the prawns will result in them being tough and rubbery.
- Add the garlic to the same pan, and cook for 1 minute, being careful not to burn.
- Add the lemon zest and juice and scrape the bottom of the pan to get all of the flavour.
- Add in the cream. Cook, stirring for 2 minutes. Return the prawns and add the pasta.
- Add a little pasta water and stir well to combine for 1-2 minutes. You may not need all of the pasta water you reserved – add a little at a time until the desired consistency is achieved. Season to taste with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper.
- If the sauce is too thick, add a little extra pasta water. Garnish with parsley and serve immediately as the sauce will thicken more as it stands.To prevent the pasta from cooling quickly, serve the pasta in warmed bowls.
- I prefer long pasta, such as spaghetti, tagliatelle or fettuccine, but you can use another type if you prefer.
- I buy frozen, peeled prawns and use small-medium. If using large prawns, you may wish to cut them into smaller pieces.
- I defrost prawns in an iced-water brine. Use a bowl large enough to accommodate all your prawns. Cover the prawns with cold water. Add some ice, about ½ cup, and coarse kitchen salt, about 1 ½ tablespoons per 1 litre (4 cups) of water. Stir them together and repeat occasionally until the prawns defrost. Remove them immediately, pat dry with paper towel and store in the refrigerator in an airtight container until you are ready to use them. They are best prepared on the day you intend to use them. Alternatively, you can defrost them in the refrigerator. Sit them in a colander over a bowl. Do not let them sit in their own juices. When defrosted, pat them dry with paper towel and store in the refrigerator in an airtight container. It is best to do this on the day that you intend to use them. Do not defrost prawns at room temperature or in the microwave.
- In Australia, the tablespoon is 20 ml or 4 teaspoons. In many other countries, it is 15 ml or 3 teaspoons. Please adjust the measurement if necessary.
- Remove the zest before juicing the lemon.
- Also known as heavy cream or whipping cream, it has a minimum milk fat content of 35%.
- Before draining the pasta, reserve 1 cup of the cooking water. The starch in the liquid emulsifies with the creamy sauce, making it silky and luxurious and helping it cling to the pasta.
The nutritional information is an estimate only, and is derived from online calculators. For accurate results, we recommend calculating the nutritional information based on the ingredients and brands you use.
This was seriously delicious! I didn’t have any linguine but did have rigatoni so used that instead. I usually thaw my shrimp in the bag overnight in the fridge but this time followed your tip to use a colander over a bowl. That made a huge difference in the dish. The flavor with the hint of lemon – so good!
Hi Katy, thank you for your lovely comments on the Creamy Prawn Linguine. I am so pleased that you enjoyed it. 🙂
My son devoured this!!! He was craving prawns and I knew I could rely on you for an amazing recipe
Hi Jan, I am delighted to hear that your son enjoyed the Creamy Prawn Linguine. Thank you for letting me know. 🙂
i love this prawn pasta! the sauce and balance was perfect. Would recommend
Hi Nancy, thank you for your lovely comments on the Creamy Prawn Linguine, I am so pleased that you enjoy it. 🙂
I made this for dinner tonight and it was so delicious! The prawn was outstanding with the creamy sauce. I followed the steps and used about 3/4 cup of pasta water. It was perfect!
Hi Jamie, I am so happy to hear that you enjoyed the Creamy Prawn Linguine, thank you for letting me know. 🙂