It’s all right there for you in the title. Sweet shrimp is sautéed until just cooked through, and fregola (a tiny toasted pasta from Sardinia) is added to the pot to toast in the melted anchovy butter and spices with some cherry tomatoes. I love Calabrian chiles packed in oil and use them here for some punchy heat, but if red pepper flakes are within closer reach feel free to use them instead. Once the fregola finishes cooking, return the shrimp to the pot to warm them through and serve straight from the pan. Serve with many bottles of chilled red wine. 

Serves: 4

Time: 30 minutes 


  • 1 pound (455 g) extra-large or jumbo shrimp, peeled and deveined

    Colu Cooks Book Cover Colu Cooks: Easy Fancy Foods Colu Henry
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

  • ¼ cup (½ stick/55 g) unsalted butter

  • 4 cloves garlic, thinly sliced

  • 4 oil-packed anchovies

  • 3 Calabrian chiles, roughly chopped, or 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes

  • ½ teaspoon smoked paprika

  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste

  • 1 pint (290 g) cherry or Sungold tomatoes

  • 1½ cups (270 g) fregola

  • 3 cups (700 ml) chicken stock

  • ½ cup (20 g) loosely packed basil leaves, torn if large, or roughly chopped parsley or mint, or a combination of all three


Season the shrimp well with salt and black pepper. In a 12-inch (30.5 cm) skillet, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the shrimp and cook until pink, 1 to 2 minutes per side. Remove and set aside on a plate.

Add the garlic, anchovies, Calabrian chiles, and smoked paprika to the skillet and stir until the garlic is fragrant and the anchovies have dissolved, about 2 minutes.

Add the tomato paste and toast for a minute or so. Add the cherry tomatoes and stir to coat. Cook until the tomatoes begin to burst, pressing down on them gently to help release their liquid, 3 to 4 minutes. 

Add the fregola to the pan and stir until the pasta is well coated in the spiced butter. Pour in the stock and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low, cover, and simmer until the fregola is al dente, 10 to 12 minutes.

Add the shrimp back to the pan with any juices that have accumulated on the plate and stir until they are just warmed through. Scatter with herbs and serve.

“Reprinted from the new book Colu Cooks: Easy, Fancy Food by Colu Henry, published by Abrams. Text © 2022 by Colu Henry. Photography by Tara Donne.”

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