Spaghetti shrimps and chilli leaves

Spaghetti shrimps and chilli leaves

By Chris Diacono

Photo by Chris Diacono

Though we usually tend to eat the spicy fruit of the chilli plant, the leaves are also edible, giving off a much more subtle flavour. Popular in Thailand, these are usually used in stir fries with garlic, however they go perfectly well with an Italian plate of pasta, this time with shrimps.

Spaghetti gamberi and chili leaves 

Serves 2 


  • 300g local shrimps, peeled
  • 6 local king prawns (terza)
  • 170g cherry tomatoes, halved 
  • 20 tender chili leaves, whole
  • 3 large garlic cloves, finely chopped 
  • Extra virgin olive oil 
  • 1 tsp dry chili flakes
  • Salt & pepper 
  • 1 tbsp butter 
  • 200g spaghetti 


  1. Bring a pot of salted water to the boil. 
  2. Add 3 tbps extra virgin olive oil to heavy based pan on medium heat.
  3. Fry the king prawns (not the shrimps) for three mins on each side, then remove remaining oil.
  4. Place the halved cherry tomatoes in pan cut side down and fry this way for 3-5 mins until cooked.
  5. In meantime peel the remaining prawns.
  6. Press down on tomatoes to remove some of the juices 
  7. Add garlic, chili leaves, chili flakes pepper and salt and fry for a further 5 mins until the garlic is cooked through.
  8. Cook the pasta in boiled water as per instructions, till al dente
  9. Add peeled prawns to pan and fry for one minute. 
  10. Add back the king prawns and add butter.
  11. Add cooked spaghetti to pan and fry on high heat for two minutes adding hot water from the pasta pot as needed until all well amalgamated 
  12. Serve immediately. 

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