The Meal Planner

Reposted from the archives with updated photos. Originally posted Dec /08.

This dish is recreated from the dish of the same name at East Side Mario's. I order it every time I go there, and one day started to realize how ridiculously easy it would be to make at home. It's so easy, my husband offered to make it the other night when I was too tired to cook. I was able to give him simple directions while my butt made a nice little indent on the couch and he whipped up this totally delicious gourmet pasta.

Recipe inspired by East Side Mario's

Serves 4

1 lb frozen raw shrimp
1 pkg snap peas (or snow peas)
1-2 tomatoes, deseeded and chopped.
4 tbsp jarred pesto
A good drizzle of olive oil
1 lb bowtie pasta (also called farfalle)
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/4-1/2 tsp dried red chili flakes
Salt and pepper

Get your shrimp running under cold water in a colander for 5 minutes to defrost them. Also put on a big pot of water and salt it for your pasta.

While you are waiting for your shrimp to defrost and water to boil, you can start de-stringing your pea pods. This is the only tedious part. Grab the tip of one end and pull the string until it comes out the other end. Do this to all your pea pods and then cut them in half. To deseed your tomato, you cut it in half (with the tomato sitting face up on your cutting board), and then stick your fingers inside and pull out all the juicy seedy parts. Leave all the tomato flesh inside. This will make your sauce taste much better.

Put your pasta in the boiling water. De-shell the shrimp once they are defrosted as well as remove the tail. Put a frying pan on medium-high heat with a tablespoon or so of olive oil. Once the pan is nice and hot, throw in your shrimp and season with salt, pepper, chili flakes and garlic powder. They should really only take 1 to 2 minutes to cook. You just want them to have barely turned pink. Remove them from the pan onto a plate and add your pea pods to the frying pan. Sauté for 2 to 3 minutes and then add the tomatoes and sauté for another 1 or 2 minutes. You can then turn off the heat, add the pesto and a good healthy dose of olive oil. It’s an olive oil based sauce so be pretty liberal with it. You can also add your shrimp back to the sauce.

Once the pasta has cooked to al dente, drain and add the veggie/shrimp/olive oil sauce. Dish up and serve with French bread slices and sprinkle with a bit of parmesan.

Click here for printable version of Firecracker Shrimp Bowties


Our family LOVES this pasta. I find it hard not to gorge myself and fall into a carb-induced coma. The bread is great for sopping up the olive oil/pesto sauce.

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28 Responses
  1. Anonymous Says:

    I was craving this pasta from East Side Mario's but it was a little bit of a drive from home. I found this recepie on the internet and it was absolutely delicious! I'm already looking forward to making it again to treat my family to this delicious meal. Thank you so much!!!!

  2. Anonymous Says:

    Okay, this was not a problem with the recipe...but rather my skill...I tried to disasterous results.

    Any advice?
    1. My tomatoes got all soggy even though I de-seeded and only cooked for a couple of minutes.
    2. My shrimp were kind of watery...I used the pre-cooked kind, I don't know if that makes a difference.
    3. My sugar-snap peas are really thick. What do you mean by cut them in half? Like in the middle or length wise?

    I'm sooo bad at this!

  3. Oh no that's too bad! Here's my advice:

    1. The tomatoes are supposed to cook down, so don't worry about them being soggy. I should have specified that they should be a fine dice, and when they cook they cook down a bit. You can see in the picture that the little bits of tomato don't have their shape anymore.
    2. I really don't like pre-cooked shrimp...I think it tastes weird and has a weird texture. I much prefer raw shrimp that you cook yourself and since it only takes a few minutes to cook it doesn't save me much time anyway. I haven't really used it much, but I would bet that it was the pre-cooked shrimp that made it watery.
    3. Cut the snap peas in half in the middle (not length wise). The sugar snap peas are much fatter and plumper than snow peas which I like better anyways. They are sweeter with more flavor. I just cut them in half so they are about bite-sized.

    I'm sorry you had so many problems! You gave me some ideas of how I should change the wording of the recipe though :)

  4. Anonymous Says:

    Not your fault at all. I'm a novice to the kitchen, so sometimes even BASIC instructions are lost on me. first try was a little iffy.

    But I just made a second batch immediately affter and it was heavenly. I'm just a little slow...I think with practise, I'll get better at this cooking bussiness. :)

    Thanks for your help!

  5. Oh good, I'm glad it worked out for you. I still make mistakes all the time :)

  6. Marisa Says:

    This looks really good! I'm going to make this when I can get my hands on some nice (and not too expensive) prawns.

  7. Anonymous Says:

    My sister made this for me and I have to say it is one of my favorites, so I searched it and here I am as happy as ever can't wait to make it thanks so much!

  8. Food Junkie Says:

    This is my favourite dish at East Side Mario's and order almost every time I am there. I upped the Garlic some and used a couple of teaspoons of Sambal Oelek (crushed chili's) for the heat since I didn't think the recipe would really match the heat of the original as is. While it varies from restaurant to restaurant it IS supposed to pack some heat. But that is nice thing about making it yourself - you can make it the way you like. Thanks so much for sharing this great and easy recipe.

  9. Food Junkie - It's true, that playing around with your own likes is the best part of cooking at home and tailoring a meal to your tastes. My husband and I both like it with a punch of heat, but I go easy for my kids. Great idea adding sambal oelek.

  10. CDC Says:

    Love the look and sound of this dish! I would definitely be soaking up the sauce with some of that bread!! Enjoy your Sunday!!

  11. Thanks Chey! A good bread is definitely a must with this dish :)

  12. Anonymous Says:

    Best pasta dish I ever made. Thank-you.

  13. Wow. Thanks Anonymous.

  14. Anonymous Says:

    I was wondering if you have any nutritional values for this receipe. It's a favourite of mine but wondered about the content.

  15. mel Says:

    Thanks for the recipe! Can't wait to try it since it's my hubby's favourite and sadly the East Side Mario's nearby doesn't offer that dish anymore. They replaced it with a penne shrimp pasta but he says it's not as good. :(

  16. Mel I hope it works out for you! It's unfortunate that they've replaced it, but to be honest that was our favorite dish on the menu and since I started making it at home we don't go there anymore...we never need to!

  17. b.p. Says:

    I just made this! It was great...I prefer food a little spicier so I used more red chilli flakes. However, I don't think I used enough olive oil. I thought I was liberal with it, but the pasta was the slightest bit dry, but now I know for next time. Thanks for this wonderful recipe. Easy and delicious!

  18. Anika Says:

    I love this dish from East Side Mario's!!! But was always afraid to wing it at home without a recipe so thanks so much!! Making it for a Christmas pot luck at a friend's, will post back on how it went, I am pretty sure everyone will loveeeee it :)

    BTW LOVEEEEEE the look of your cite

  19. Jen Says:

    OMG- I used to order this dish from East Side's religiously, but then they changed the sauce :( I used to wing it at home and pretty much had it mastered... BUT I didn't use the pesto!! I can't wait to make this tonight!!!!! THANK YOU :)

  20. Made this today, like others I used more chili flakes (1.5 tsp) and I used real garlic (about 3 large cloves, minced) and it came out GREAT. Really good job reproducing this recipe.

    I seem to recall the original also had a finely sliced green chili in it as well. I'll add that next time.

    Thanks for putting up this recipe.

  21. Thanks for everyone's comments. When I go to cook this next time, I think I'll use the tweaks everyone has suggested like upping the garlic and using fresh and more chili flakes.

  22. Christie Says:

    I just made this and it was really good! I didn't have any sugar snap peas so used up the asparagus I had on hand and it was fantastic! Definitely a keeper!

  23. Anonymous Says:

    MMMM thanks for the delicious recipe it turned out great and I added chicken as well as shrimp.This will be a new favorite

  24. simplykincke Says:

    I just found your site last week when we decided to start meal planning. So far so good. We have tried two of your dishes with our spin and I wanted to thank you for them. Delicious!

  25. Rio Says:

    Can I substitute snow peas by green beans? Snow peas is not available in my country. Will the green beans change the flavor too much?

  26. Laurie Says:

    I made this last night as I too love the dish at East Side Mario's. I made the recipe exactly as written and I nailed it. Definately going to make this alot.

    Thanks for sharing.


  27. Jenniferrr87 Says:

    OMG this was amazing!!! Tastes just like the stuff from East Side Mario's!!!!!