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Fresh Capelli d’Angelo with Prawns and Lemon

Vibrant with lemon, this angel hair pasta dish is sunshine in a bowl. Prawns mingle with garlic, chilli and olive oil to create a quick summer supper, ready in less than 5 minutes.

From the book

Rachel Roddy


As far back as the sixteenth century, in a town called Campofilone in Le Marche, maccheroncini – remember that for centuries the word maccheroni was the generic term for all pasta – was described as so thin it was like angel hair. Nowadays Maccheroncini di Campofilone is protected by an Indicazione Geografica Protetta or IGP (PDO – protected designation of origin in English), which defines how it’s made and in which specific area geographically.

This recipe is inspired by a dish served at an elegant fish restaurant called Chalet Galileo, whose windows open on to an almost white beach in Civitanova in the region of Le Marche. Prawns cooked swiftly in olive oil, with white wine and scented with lemon zest, are netted for the second time in fresh egg pasta. Cooking times for the prawns and the pasta are brief, so the dish comes together incredibly quickly. A bright, swift tangle of a supper.

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olive oil
1 small clove of garlic, peeled and sliced
A Pinch red chilli flakes
400g small prawns, peeled
120ml dry white wine
400g fresh egg pasta, cut to approx. 1mm thick, alternatively tagliolini or spaghettini
zest of 1 unwaxed lemon
1 heaped teaspoon chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley


Bring a large pan of water to the boil for the pasta.

In a large frying pan, warm the oil, garlic and chilli gently to infuse the oil. Add the prawns, stir, then raise the heat, add the wine and a pinch of salt and allow to bubble for 3 minutes while you cook the pasta – which will only take a minute or so.

Drain the pasta, or lift directly into the prawn pan, add the lemon zest and parsley, then toss for the last time, and serve.

Making fresh capelli d’angelo

You can buy sheets of pasta and cut them. Or make your own, in which case the standard fresh egg pasta dough is ideal – see here. Or if you would like a variation, use a mix of soft 00 flour and hard wheat semola for softness and substance. Bring 200g of soft 00 flour, 200g of semola and 4 eggs into a dough, knead, rest, roll, fold into an envelope if you have rolled by machine, a log if by hand, and then cut with steady cuts. My knife skills are deeply average and even I can cut pasta 1mm thick, or thereabouts. And I enjoy it. The key is making a firm dough and decisive cuts, never lifting the knife too high so the cuts feel like tiny rhythmic steps. Rather than using dried capelli d’angelo for this recipe, I would look for slightly wider dried capellini (which means little hairs and is usually about 1mm), linguine or tagliolini.


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From the book: An A-Z of Pasta

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