Festive recipe: Prawn linguine for Christmas Eve

Come December 24, it is traditional to eat 'a full dinner with seafood' in Italy

Linguine in cacio e pepe sauce with prawns, by Danilo Valla, head chef at Roberto's
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Holiday season is upon us, and with it comes a desire to make and feast on delicious and traditional treats that at once tantalise the taste buds and fill you with a sense of nostalgia.

In this series of seasonal dishes, we ask chefs from some of the UAE's top restaurants to share their favourite festive recipes.

Prawn linguine from Roberto's

Originally from the picturesque town of Alba in Italy, Danilo Valla, head chef at Roberto’s, is known to experiment with ingredients and flavours to craft contemporary dishes from his homeland infused with Asian influences. He believes a well-balanced plate must be innovative, pleasing to the eye and brimming with flavour.

Of the prawn linguine recipe he shares with The National, he says it is traditional to eat “a full dinner with seafood” in Italy come Christmas Eve. “Linguine is my favourite shape of pasta. Sauteed in a creamy cacio e pepe, a signature Italian sauce famous worldwide, this dish is perfectly balanced with the sweetness of the prawns. It’s a great option for your Christmas dinner table”.

Linguine is a popular pasta shape, made of long, flat strands. Photo: Unsplash / Karen Sewell

Linguine cacio e pepe gambero rosso di Mazara

Serves two


  • 300ml cream
  • 100ml milk
  • 80g pecorino cheese
  • 4 red prawns
  • 200g linguine pasta
  • 15ml extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1g black pepper
  • Lemon zest
  • Basil, to garnish
  • Salt, to taste


  1. Reduce the cream and milk by half.
  2. Add the grated pecorino cheese until the mixture has melted and combined.
  3. Clean the prawns and cut each into four pieces, retaining the shells.
  4. Cook the linguine in boiling water until al dente.
  5. Add the extra-virgin olive oil to a pan. Once hot, grate pepper on to it and toast gently to increase the flavour.
  6. Add the shell of the prawns. Once the shell has released its flavour, remove and add the cooked pasta and some hot water.
  7. Cook for a few more minutes, then add the pecorino sauce and saute the pasta.
  8. Add lemon zest to give the dish its signature fresh note.
  9. Heap the pasta on a serving plate, and top with raw seasoned prawns, some lemon zest, basil and a drizzle of extra-virgin olive oil. Other garnishing options include parsley and dill.
Updated: December 22, 2022, 10:44 AM