Spaghetti with prawns and arrabbiata sauce

I first ate this in Italy ten years ago. The waiter placed the parcels in front of us, cut them open and the escaping aroma filled the air; it was delicious… In the summer, you can replace canned tomatoes with fresh ones. – Lucy Boyd

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Serves: 4


400g spaghetti

2 tbsp olive oil

100g unsalted butter

4 garlic cloves, finely chopped

500g cooked Atlantic prawns, shelled, then rinsed and patted dry

4 tbsp dry white wine

2 tbsp finely chopped flat leaf parsley

1 lemon, cut into wedges



2 tbsp olive oil

3 garlic cloves, roughly chopped

1–2 tsp chilli flakes

400g can plum tomatoes


1. Preheat the oven to 200˚C, gas mark 6. To make the arrabbiata sauce, heat the olive oil in a pan over a medium heat, then add the garlic. Let it caramelise to a light brown colour (this will flavour the oil, which in turn will flavour the tomatoes). Add the chilli flakes and the tomatoes with their juice. Let the sauce simmer for about 20 minutes, stirring from time to time until the tomatoes have broken down into the sauce. Remove from the heat.

2. After 10 minutes, put a large pan of water on to boil for the pasta. Add 1 tsp salt, then add the spaghetti and cook for 8 minutes so that it is al dente (with a little bite). Drain the pasta and put it back in the saucepan. Drizzle 1 tbsp olive oil over and toss to stop it from sticking together.

3. Heat 80g butter in a frying pan and add the finely chopped garlic and 1 tbsp oil. When the butter starts to bubble and the oil is hot, add the prawns and cook for 1 or 2 minutes.

4. To make the parcels, tear off 4 rectangles of baking parchment, each about 50cm long. Put a quarter of the remaining butter in the centre of each piece, followed by a drizzle of the remaining oil, then season. Put a quarter of the spaghetti towards the centre of each piece, but not in the middle (as you are going to fold the parchment over to make an envelope). Top each pile of spaghetti with a quarter of the arrabbiata sauce, then a quarter of the prawns.

5. Fold the parchment over the spaghetti and prawns, then fold in the sides a couple of times, leaving the long edge open. Keep the parcel fairly flat but just tilt it slightly, and pour 1 tbsp wine in through the opening. Fold the parcel shut (a couple of folds should do) to stop any of the juices escaping. Repeat with the remaining parcels.

6. Place the parcels flat on a baking tray (don’t overlap them) and cook in the oven for 8 minutes. They will inflate as they cook and fill with steam, which signals they are ready.

7. To serve, place a parcel on each plate and, with a pair of scissors, cut open the parcel, being careful not to burn yourself from the escaping steam. Tip out the spaghetti and prawns, sprinkle over a little of the parsley, add a squeeze of lemon and eat.