This light summery seafood pasta recipe for farfalle pasta with prawns and orange is a flavourful elegant dish that’s perfect for dinner parties and summer lunches!
(scroll down to see recipe)
Pasta con gamberoni all’arancia.
I love using oranges in cooking and, here in Italy, there are some wonderful tasty oranges especially those grown in Sicily. In fact, Sicilian oranges, especially the Tarocco blood oranges, are the most sought after and eaten of all types of oranges grown on the Italian peninsula. I used untreated Sicilian oranges to make this farfalle pasta with prawns and orange recipe, but not blood oranges. I’d like to try it with those next time!
Oranges in Italy.
Sicily was also the first Italian region to grow oranges, which were introduced by the Arabs back in the 7th and 8th century. However, the original oranges were bitter. The first sweet oranges arrived in Europe from China and South East Asia in 15th and 16th century aboard Genovese and Portuguese trading ships. Blood oranges came later.
Today, Italy is the second biggest producer of oranges in Europe, after Spain. However, the Italians eat more fresh fruit than any other European nation and oranges and apples are the most popular fruits. Interestingly, apart from desserts, cakes and marmalade, Italians don’t use oranges very much in cooking, particularly not in savoury dishes. They prefer to eat their oranges fresh or squeeze them for juice!
Having said that, oranges are popular in salad in Sicily. My Sicilian husband introduced me to Sicilian orange salad and boy is it good. This orange salad usually includes olives, oranges (of course!) and fennel or onions, although there are some different versions!
Pasta with orange recipes.
When it comes to pasta, the most common Italian pasta recipes that include oranges are with seafood like this farfalle with prawns and orange recipe. I have already posted a couple of delicious lemon pasta recipes. Pasta al limone, which originated in the Amalfi and Sorrento area of Campania, is much loved throughout Italy. Pasta with oranges less so, but in my opinion it’s just as delicious! In fact, I posted a recipe for farfalle pasta with smoked salmon last year which also has some orange in it! That recipe is the most popular recipe on the Pasta Project to date!
A contemporary recipe.
Unlike pasta al limone, pasta with oranges is not a traditional Italian recipe, but one that is contemporary and has become popular over recent years. As I mentioned previously, pasta with orange most usually includes seafood. The most common of these recipes is with tuna or with anchovies or, like this recipe, with prawns or shrimps. In fact, this recipe can be made with shrimps too. But, I used prawns because I think they have more flavour and are meatier!
Making this farfalle pasta with prawns and orange recipe.
This farfalle pasta with prawns and orange has a lovely delicate flavour and looks very elegant. However, it’s easy to make. Apart from the oranges and prawns, you only need some parsley, garlic, olive oil, white wine and fennel . I love fennel, but not everyone likes it. I got the idea from my hubby’s Sicilian orange salad and thought the flavours combined beautifully! If you are not a fennel fan you can leave it out or replace it with spring or white onions. I also added some toasted ground almonds as a last minute inspiration (that’s why there are no almonds in the photo of the ingredients!)
This recipe also doesn’t take very long to make. Except, you will need to marinate the prawns beforehand. I marinated them for about 30 minutes. Apart from that, the sauce can be ready in the time it takes you to boil the water and cook the pasta.. Alternatively you can make the sauce in advance and then just reheat it quickly with some of the pasta cooking water, just before you drain the pasta and mix it with the prawns.
The pasta I used was farfalle, also known as bow-tie pasta in the US. This farfalle (bow-tie pasta) had ridges or grooves on one side (farfalle rigate) and is made by La Molisana. I love this pasta as it not only looks so pretty and tastes great, but the ridges help the sauce adhere to the pasta, making each piece of pasta taste even better. If you can’t find ridged farfalle, you can also use normal farfalle or penne.
If you make this farfalle pasta with prawns and orange recipe I’d love to hear how it turns out and if you liked it. Please leave a comment here on the blog or on The Pasta Project Facebook page. Looking forward to hearing from you.
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Farfalle Pasta with Prawns and Orange
- 400 g Farfalle (bow-tie) pasta or short pasta of your choice
- 12 large prawns (4 per person) fresh or frozen
- 2 organic oranges or untreated (unwaxed)
- 1 fennel bulb or white onion
- 2 garlic cloves peeled
- 1 handful almonds (optional)
- 1/2 glass white wine
- 3-4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- salt for pasta and to taste
- black pepper to taste
- 1 bunch fresh parsley chopped
- fresh dill (if using onion or you have no fennel greens)
- Wash the prawns and remove the heads and the peel but keep the tails on. I also kept one prawn intact for decoration and flavour. Dry the prawns with absorbent paper and put them in a small bowl.
- Wash one orange and dry it. Grate the peel from the orange being extremely careful not to grate the white part under the skin which could be bitter. Add half the zest to the prawns.
- Squeeze the orange and pour the juice onto the prawns as well. Add a dash of olive oil and some of the fennel greens (if you are using fennel) or dill would be good too. Cover the bowl and let the prawns marinate for about 30 minutes.
- In the meantime, wash the parsley, dry it and chop it finely. Wash the fennel, remove the first layer and chop it finely (as you would an onion). Peel the garlic. Wash the other orange and cut into slices. If you are using almonds dry fry them until they start to brown and then mince them in a food processor.
- Heat the olive oil in a frying pan or skillet. Add the garlic cloves and cook on a medium heat until they start to brown slightly. Add the fennel (or onion) to the pan and cook until it starts to soften.
- Remove the prawns from the marinade and add to the pan with the fennel/onion. Brown them on both sides for a couple of minutes. Then add the white wine and some of the parsley. Turn up the heat and cook until the alcohol evaporates.
- Add the remaining marinade to the pan and continue to cook for a couple of minutes more on a medium high heat to reduce the liquid. Taste the sauce. Add salt if necessary.
- While you are cooking the sauce put a pot of water on to boil for the pasta. Add salt once it starts to boil and bring to the boil again. Cook the pasta al dente according to the instructions on the packet. Before draining the pasta, save a cup of the cooking water.
- Drain the pasta al dente and add it directly into the pan with the prawns. Keeping the heat very low, sauté the pasta in the pan and stir for a few seconds. If your sauce seems dry add some of the saved pasta cooking water.
- Turn off the heat, add the chopped almonds if using, some orange slices, some black pepper and give it a final stir Before serving sprinkle each plate a little more chopped parsley, toasted almonds and a pinch of the remaining orange zest.
If you like farfalle (bow-tie) pasta you would probably enjoy these other recipes..
Pasta with lemon is also divine. Take a look at these recipes
Richard Honeyman says
Sorry but this was awful. I was suspicious when the recipe says add the prawns, then the wine and then burn off the alcohol then add the marinade and cook 2 minutes more…. By this time the prawns were rock hard. Couldn’t eat it.
Hi Richard, I’m so sorry to hear that your prawns didn’t turn out well. I’ve made this dish a number of times. So I’m wondering what size and quality your prawns were. I use large prawns fresh or frozen (defrosted).The cooking time in the recipe for the prawns is only about 5 minutes in total, which shouldn’t result in overcooking them. But, of course, cooking isn’t an exact science and if, for example, your prawns were smaller 5 minutes might have been too much.
What a flavorful dish. Perfect for fall weather.
Thank you Sonal! Yes a very flavourful dish!
Jessica Formicola says
I love the flavor of this pasta! My family would love it!
Thank you Jessica! Yes this the flavours here are wonderful!
That’s interesting, I didn’t know the Italians ate so much fruit. This looks amazing and easy, just my cup of tea. Going to have to give this a try, it looks so good. Thanks for sharing your recipes!
I’m happy you like this recipe and want to try it, Tina! I’m sure you’ll love it!
Camilla Hawkins says
What an exquisite and unusual recipe which I would love to try!
Thanks so much Camilla! I’m sure you’ll love this dish if you try it!
Lisa Bynum says
Those prawns are beautiful! My mouth is watering right now.
Thanks Lisa, the prawns were amazing!
This is so unique. I’ve never seen pasta with orange before. But I bet it’s delicious! Great recipe.
Pasta with orange is really delicious, Jill!
Claudia Lamascolo says
wow those are actually marvelous looking prawns and I love the orange and pasta you used!
Grazie cara Claudia! The combination of prawns and orange is wonderful!
Nathan Wyper says
YUM, This looks amazing, love that pasta shape! Can’t wait to try this!
Thanks Nathan! I love this ridged farfalle too. It looks so pretty and the sauce adheres to it better than smooth farfalle. ‘m sure you’ll love this. The flavours are awesome!
Bintu | Recipes From A Pantry says
What a delicious pasta! I love the inclusion of orange for that summery flavour.
Thank you Bintu! Yes! the flavours in this pasta recipe are divine. Perfect for summer!
This just sounds so delicious and perfect for summer. I’ve never seen farfalle with ridges before…I need to hunt them down!
Grazie Emily! I love farfalle with ridges. It looks so pretty and the sauce sticks to it really well. I hope you find some!
The ingredients in the recipe are all so beautiful! And I want to reach into that pan and take a shrimp!
haha thanks Valentina! Yes this is a really mouthwatering recipe . Beautiful summery taste!
This looks delicious & I love that you can make the sauce ahead of time!
Thanks so much Jillian! I love sauces that can be made ahead and still taste wonderful.
I would love to try Sicilian oranges at some point. I don’t think I have ever done that because most of the imported oranges here come from elsewhere. And I absolutely love the idea of adding fennel – it must taste super yummy!
Sicilian oranges are sooo good Helena. I know they export them to other countries, but I’m not sure where. Fennel and orange is a lovely combination. You would probably enjoy a fennel and orange salad too. They really give this dish a fabulous flavour! All the best! Jacqui