This is a simple yet tasty pasta dish, reminiscent of those found all along the coast of Italy. The chilli gives the pasta a gentle kick and the zest freshens up the excellent oiliness of this dish. These ingredients combine to give a classic, simple and heart-warming combination.






Skill level

Average: 3.6 (11 votes)


  • 4 medium cloves of garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 long red chilli, finely chopped
  • 120 g green prawn meat, cut into 1.5 cm pieces
  • 600 g vongole
  • 100 ml white wine
  • 40 g butter
  • 400 g dried spaghetti
  • 2 lemons, finely zested
  • 2 tbsp chopped parsley
  • olive oil
  • river salt and black pepper

Cook's notes

Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.


Place a wide-based pot on a medium heat. Throw in a good splash of olive oil and gently start cooking the garlic and chilli. Once it starts to sizzle, add the prawns, vongole and a little salt, then give it a good stir.

Meanwhile, have a pot of boiling salted water on the go, in which you'd better start cooking your pasta.

Once you see the prawns start to change colour a little, turn the heat up, add the wine and butter and cover with a lid. At this stage, I like to give the whole pot a little jiggle and a shake, which I don’t think really achieves anything, but does make a nice sound.

Give the vongole a few minutes to open and then remove the lid, add some butter and have a little taste for seasoning. At this stage, your pasta should be very nearly ready.
Once your pasta is cooked, drain and add it to your prawn mix.

Toss in the lemon zest and parsley and give everything a nice mix. Serve immediately, making sure you have a nice bowl for your friends to throw their shells in. Best served with a nice, bitter leaf salad and some bread to mop up all the juicy bits.


• If you're feeling fancy, buy prawns still in their shells, prepare them yourself and make a quick baby stock with the heads and shells. Fry them off until they get a nice amount of colour, add 100 ml wine and reduce it down until about half the liquid is left. Use this instead of the wine in the recipe and you’ll add a extra flavour and richness to your pasta.


Photography by Benito Martin. Styling by Lynsey Fryers. Food preparation by Suresh Watson.

Stool chair from Thonet. Pebble bowl from Mud. Prawns from Cleanfish Australia, 10 Baker St, Banksmeadow, NSW.


For a taste of O Tama Carey’s cooking, visit her at Berta restaurant in Sydney. Like Berta on Facebook, and follow the restaurant on Twitter and Instagram.


Read our interview with Tama. This recipe is from our online column, The seasonal Cook: Prawns. View previous The Seasonal Cook columns and recipes.