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Shrimp Linguini

One of the Fish Taverna classics in Greece, or at least it used to be in the 80s, but sadly usually with over boiled pasta and hard to eat, as very few will bother peeling and deveining the shrimps. Almost every Greek cook will have a recipe for this. Mine is diligent in technique and simple but very specific in flavour.

Prepare the shrimps and stock

Peel and devein the shrimps. Place the heads in a pot with:

  • Bay leaves

  • Onion, cut in half, skin on,

and cover with water. Bring to a gentle simmer and boil gently for 15 minutes, skimming off impurities when necessary. Strain and use stock for the sauce and pasta.

Prepare the sauce

In a pan with some olive oil, over medium heat gently sweat:

  • Garlic, finely cut

and deglaze with

  • Sambuca or Ouzo


  • Tomatoes, grated

  • Sugar, just a bit

  • Salt, to taste

  • Pepper, to taste

  • Red pepper flakes, to taste

Let the water from the tomatoes evaporate for a few minutes, until you get a thick paste-like sauce. Add some of the stock to barely loosen it up, you don't want it watery, bring to a gentle simmer, and cook the shrimps for 2 minutes if relatively large, less if smaller (check by cutting a piece, the colour should have turned opaque throughout the flesh). Remove shrimps on a plate, cut them in smaller pieces, keeping a couple whole for garnish if you like. Turn heat off if not adding the linguini straight away.

For the linguini

Boil in a lot of salted water mixed with the remaining shrimp stock for 1 minute less than the point you want them cooked (for me that would be a clear al dente), and keep 1/4 cup of the boiling water before you strain. If not using straight away, wash under cold water and keep linguini submerged in water in the fridge until use.

To serve

Heat the sauce well in a pot or pan big enough for the amount of pasta you are using, add the cut shrimps, reserved pasta water, and linguini and stir to coat. Taste, adjust seasoning and off heat add:

  • Pine nuts, toasted

  • Parsley, thinly cut


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