Made with a rich from-scratch prawn bisque sauce, this simple Prawn Bisque Pasta takes luxury comfort food to the next level!
Sometimes, we all feel like some luxury comfort food. If you crave seafood like I do, you will definitely fall in love with this Pasta with Prawn Bisque Sauce! This elevated comfort dish is simple, tasty, and will most certainly impress your seafood lover guests!
The rich homemade prawn bisque for this pasta dish is loaded with seafood flavors and is combined with a thick tomato and vegetable base that beautifully coats your favourite pasta. This Prawn Bisque Pasta is a fine-dining restaurant-quality dish, at a fraction of the price!
What is a Bisque?
Traditionally, bisque refers to a thick and creamy soup made with shellfish (typically lobster, crab, or prawn). The shellfish shells are cooked slowly with vegetables, which release juices and paste that give the bisque its unique strong seafood taste.
For this pasta bisque sauce, the heads and tails of king prawns are removed and carefully sauteed with vegetables, white wine, and a tomato base. The juices are then drained to make delicious thick and creamy pasta sauce!
Ingredients and Variations
Shellfish - For this recipe, I used 6 king prawns. You will need to devein the prawns and reserve the heads and tails for the bisque sauce. The prawn meat is then cooked separately with the pasta sauce. Try to use the largest king prawns that you can find. You can also use shrimp, but since these are typically smaller than prawns, you will need to double the amount needed.
Pasta - You can use any type of dry or fresh pasta of your choice. I personally find that spaghetti complements seafood very well and is always my first choice for seafood-based pasta.
Vegetables - You will need a variety of fresh vegetables for this pasta dish, which are mostly easily accessible. Garlic is needed for the bisque as well as for the sauce itself. You will also need an onion, carrots, leek, and celery for the bisque sauce. It's perfectly fine if some of these are not available to you. You will also need a small amount of canned chopped tomatoes (for the bisque) as well as fresh cherry or grape tomatoes (for the sauce).
Wine - Wine is an important addition to this sauce, as the alcohol dissolves to boost the vegetable and shellfish flavors wonderfully. Use white wine if possible.
Herbs - For the bisque sauce, you will need Italian seasoning, dried oregano, crushed red chilies (optional), and salt and pepper to taste. You will also need bay leaves for the bisque sauce.
Olive Oil - Needed to saute the bisque and for the sauce. Use good quality extra-virgin olive oil.
Pasta Water - Do not forget to reserve some pasta water after cooking the pasta! Pasta water is needed for the sauce and makes it more flavorful, thick, and "glues" the sauce to the pasta.
How to Make the Best Prawn Bisque for Pasta
- Devein the prawns (or shrimp). Cut off the tails and heads and remove the shells and set these aside (you will need these for the bisque). Slice the prawn meat and set aside.
- Roughly slice the vegetables (leek, onion, carrots, and celery) - no need for fine slicing here.
- Heat some oil in a small saucepan. Add one crushed garlic clove and heat until fragrant. Then, add the shells, tails, and heads.
- Stir the shellfish shells frequently using a wooden spoon, crushing them slightly as you go to release their juices. You'll need to cook these well, around 4-5 minutes.
- Add the sliced vegetables and bay leaves and continue cooking on medium heat (around 5 more minutes). If the mixture starts to dry out, add some water (4-5 tbsp). After around 5 minutes, add white wine and stir until the alcohol is dissolved.
- Add the canned chopped tomatoes and ¼ cup of water and bring to a simmer. Simmer for 10-15 minutes. If the mixture starts to dry out, add some water.
- In the meantime, cook pasta in salted water until al dente and prepare the sauce. Do not forget to reserve ½ cup of pasta water!
How to Make Prawn Bisque Pasta Sauce
- Heat some olive oil in a large skillet and add a clove of garlic. Saute until fragrant (about 1 minute) on medium heat. Add the dried herbs and cherry tomatoes (sliced in half) with sliced side facing downwards. Saute for 3-4 minutes. Add 2-3 tbsp. of water if the mixture starts to dry out.
- Add the sliced prawn/shrimp meat and cook for 1-2 minutes.
- Transfer the prawn bisque mixture into a fine mesh sieve. Strain all the liquids from the prawn bisque into the skillet with tomatoes and shrimp.
- Add ¼ to ½ cup of reserved pasta water and stir until combined. Simmer for a few minutes until the sauce starts to thicken.
- Toss the cooked pasta into the skillet and coat well with sauce.
- Serve with fresh basil leaves and enjoy!
Can I use Shrimp Instead of Prawn?
Yes. Feel free to use shrimp and follow the same instructions as for prawn. You will however require more shrimp since these tend to be smaller and have less meat than king prawns.
Can I Store Leftover Bisque Sauce?
Yes. Leftover bisque sauce should be allowed to cool completely and stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 2 days. Please be aware that since this sauce contains seafood, it should not be stored for more than 2 days.
To reheat the prawn bisque pasta sauce, transfer to a pot and bring to a boil. Add pasta water (or clear water if pasta water is not available) if the sauce is too thick.
Can I Freeze Leftover Bisque?
Leftover bisque freezes well for up to 2 months in a freezer-safe container. Defrost by heating in a microwave for 6-8 minutes on high heat.
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Prawn Bisque Pasta
- 300 g dried pasta (e.g., spaghetti or penne)
- 2 tbsp. olive oil extra virgin
- 1 clove garlic crushed
- 6-8 king prawns (or 12-14 shrimp)
- 1 medium-sized onion sliced
- 2 medium carrots roughly chopped
- 1 leek roughly chopped
- 1 stick celery roughly chopped
- 4 tbsp. white wine
- 150 g canned crushed tomatoes
- 2 tbsp. olive oil extra virgin
- 1 clove garlic crushed
- 200 g cherry tomatoes sliced in half
- 1 tsp. Italian seasoning
- ¼ tsp. crushed red chillis (optional)
- ¼ tsp. dried oregano
- 2 bay leaves
- salt and pepper to taste
- 120 mL reserved pasta water
- Slice onion, carrots, leek, and celery and set aside.
- Heat 2 tbsp. olive oil in a medium sized saucepan on medium heat. Add 1 crushed garlic and saute for 1 minute until fragrant.
- Devein prawns. Remove shells, tails, and heads and place them in saucepan with garlic. Cut and set prawn meat aside.
- Saute shells, tails, and heads for 4-5 minutes on medium heat, frequently crushing them gently with a wooden spoon to release juices.
- Add sliced vegetables and bay leaves and saute for 5 minutes on low heat. Add some water if mixture starts to dry out. Add white wine and stir until alcohol evaporates.
- Add canned chopped tomatoes and ¼ cup water (60mL) and simmer for 15 minutes. Add some water if mixture starts to dry out.
- Boil pasta in salted water 1 minute less than package instructions until al dente. Reserve ½ cup of pasta water.
- Whilst bisque is simmering, place 2 tbsp. olive oil in a large skillet on medium heat. Add 1 crushed garlic and saute until fragrant (about 1 minute). Add Italian seasoning, oregano, and chilli pepper (if using) and cherry tomatoes and saute (sliced side facing down) for 3-4 minutes until soft (add 3-4 tbsp. of water if they start to dry out).
- Add prawn meat and cook for 1-2 minutes, stirring frequently using a wooden spoon.
- Strain liquid out of prawn bisque and transfer to skillet with tomatoes. Add ¼ to ½ cup of pasta water and season with salt and pepper to taste. Simmer for 2-4 minutes.
- Toss cooked pasta into skillet, coat well with sauce and serve.
This was definitely worth the effort and time. I’m not very experienced but I was able to cook something that made my hubby and I quite happy. Thank you for the lovely recipe!
Thank you MayLing for the wonderful comments 🙂 I'm so happy you liked this pasta!
I’ve cooked this pasta a couple of times now and it is a classy dish. So good to use the prawn heads and shells which previously were given to our chickens. Next time I am keen to try yabbies from our dam.