Spicy Shrimp with Tomato and Pearl Couscous

Inspired by the Southern Italian spicy tomato and egg dish called “eggs in purgatory,” this dish pivots to lean shrimp and features big pearl couscous for a truly satisfying texture. Each bite is a delicious mix of rich and slightly spicy tomato sauce, sweet shrimp and tender couscous. The recipe calls for Calabrian chilis, which have a distinct peppery flavor, but you can swap in chili flakes instead for heat if you prefer. The anchovies aren’t a star in their own right; rather, they bring umami and an essence of the sea, because shrimp alone have such a mild flavor.

Spicy Shrimp with Tomato and Pearl Couscous

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Protein: Fish / Seafood
Cut: Raw Gulf Shrimp
Course: Main Course
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Servings: 4


  • 3 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 1 medium yellow onion diced
  • 5 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 tsp saffron
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 1/4 cups pearl couscous
  • 2 1/2 cups chicken, vegetable or fish stock
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 2 tbsp tomato paste
  • 2 tbsp chopped fresh oregano leaves
  • 1 tbsp finely chopped Calabrian chili remove seeds for less heat
  • 3 oil-packed anchovy filets finely chopped
  • 1 pound ButcherBox Shrimp, defrosted, rinsed and pat very dry 
  • Chopped fresh parsley for serving
  • olive oil for serving


  • Heat a large saucepan over medium heat until hot. Melt the butter, then add the onion; season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring often, until the onion has softened, about 4 minutes. Add the garlic and saffron; cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 1 minute.
  • Add the couscous and cook, stirring constantly, until lightly toasted, about 3 minutes. Stir in the stock and wine; bring to a simmer. Cook, stirring often, until the couscous is al dente, about 10 minutes. Drain remaining liquid, if necessary.
  • Stir in the tomato paste, oregano, chili and anchovy; cook, stirring, until the tomato dissolves, about 1 minute. Stir in the shrimp and cook, tossing, until the shrimp are just cooked through and pink, 3 to 5 minutes (an instant-read thermometer stuck into a shrimp should read 145ºF). Remove from the heat.
  • Divide among 4 shallow bowls, sprinkle with parsley, drizzle with olive oil, and serve.
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