Shrimp with Spicy Tomato Onion Butter Sauce

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It was after 5:00 and I was supposed to be at a friend’s house for dinner with a cooked sauce at 6:00. No worries. Once prepped, which takes five minutes, this spicy tomato sauce cooks in only 25 minutes. I could still make it.

I am not a red sauce person, nor am I a cream sauce person. I generally like my pasta clean and bright with olive oil and few herbs and Italian flavors. But, there are exceptions to this.

Marcella Hazan’s Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking is still my go to cookbook and you will find a ton of dishes here as proof. The two pasta sauces that stand out the most for me have always been the tomato onion and butter sauce and the Amatriciana sauce.

Spicy Shrimp Tomato Onion Butter Sauce from Spinach Tiger

I fell in love with L’Amatriciana Sauce in Rome, where it is frequently served.  It’s a quickly made sauce of tomato, red pepper flakes or red chili, and pancetta and it always tastes better than it looks. Marcella Hazan’s tomato butter sauce is legendary. I made it here years ago with gnocchi.

Spicy Shrimp with Tomato Onion Butter Sauce

Taking a bit of each recipe and putting my own spin to it with some added cream, I came up with a pot of deliciousness that I could have eaten with a spoon before the pasta was ever added, and I did.

This Easy Spicy Tomato Butter Sauce is Versatile

This sauce is versatile. I recommend making a big batch and freezing it for future meals.  You can eat it without the shrimp, or add vegetables.

Green beans, zucchini, or eggplant would be good choices. Add it to soups, a pot roast or pizza. This is what makes cooking so fun. Make it as spicy as you want or skip the red pepper and keep it mild. It’s the kind of sauce that is good either way.

Spicy Shrimp Marinara

Spicy Shrimp goes nicely on top of spaghetti squash, a low carb vegetable that shreds into tendrils and is used perfeclty as a pasta replacement.

How to Make Spaghetti Squash

How to Cook Spaghetti Squash

This is not the first time I’ve made hearty, comforting dinners with spaghetti squash.

Spaghetti Squash Three Cheese Lasagna Bake

Spaghetti Squash with Italian Sausage, Mushrooms

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Spicy Shrimp Marinara
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Shrimp with Spicy Tomato Butter Sauce

I had Pasta all'Amatriciana in Rome and it was the inspiration for this shrimp and tomato dish.
Prep Time10 minutes
Cook Time30 minutes
Total Time40 minutes
Cuisine: Italian
Keyword: shrimp, tomato sauce
Servings: 4
Author: Angela Roberts


  • 1 medium onion diced
  • 2 tablespoon butter
  • 3 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/4 inch slice pancetta cut into 1”strips (1/2”wide)
  • 1 1/2 cups Italian tomatoes diced,drained of juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes or to taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt or taste
  • 1 pound shrimp peeled, deveined
  • 1 cooked spaghetti squash Recipe Here
  • 3 tablespoons heavy cream


  • Saute onion in oil and butter on medium until it's pale softened, almost golden. Add pancetta, cooking for about 2-3 minutes.
  • Add tomatoes, chili pepper, salt and simmer for 25 minutes. Taste and correct for salt and pepper.
  • Add shrimp in tomato sauce, and cook for about 3 to 5 minutes.
  • Stir in heavy cream.
  • Serve over spaghetti squash, zoodles or pasta of your choice.

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