“Fra Diavolo” is Italian for “brother devil,” and Dan and I are each blessed with two devil brothers (love you guys!). We serve this spicy shrimp over pasta, usually with a simple salad as a side dish. It is spicy, but also tangy and delicious. This dish uses only a few ingredients (most of which you may already have in your pantry), is easy to cook during the week and tastes like a dish you would be happy to eat in a restaurant.
Shrimp Fra Diavolo ingredients — Italian parsley, canned diced tomatoes, oregano, white wine, shrimp, garlic, wheat pasta, olive oil, and crushed red pepper. (The crushed red pepper puts the “fra diavolo” in the shrimp.)
As we’ve mentioned before, frozen shrimp is very convenient because it keeps in the freezer indefinitely, and it thaws and is ready to cook in minutes.
It’s best to buy frozen shrimp that has already been cut for easy peeling (the package should say something like “tail and shell on, EZ peel”). If the shrimp is not pre-cut, peel the shrimp and cut them along their back to devein them (gross, yes, but necessary).
After you cut each shrimp, run it under cold water to remove the shrimp vein.
As you clean the shrimp, place them in a bowl lined with paper towels. Drying the shrimp before cooking helps them to saute nicely without steaming in the skillet and turning mushy.
Crushed red peppers are the key flavoring in this dish. Coat the shrimp in red pepper flakes before cooking, then add some more crushed red peppers later to the sauce – if you dare – to make it extra spicy.
Once the shrimp have been cleaned, toss them with a bit of olive oil, crushed red peppers, and a generous pinch of salt.
Heat a large pan over medium-high heat, add some olive oil, then add the shrimp. There should be lots of sizzle at this point.
After about one minute, turn the shrimp. You can see how the shrimp are starting to look done as they get a little white around the edges. After another minute, remove the shrimp from the heat, scoop them onto a small plate, cover with foil, and return the pan to the heat.
Add the garlic to the pan, swirl it around, and cook for about 30 seconds. The garlic smells amazing.
Add the white wine, stir it around to deglaze the pan, and cook for a few minutes.
After a few minutes, the wine starts to reduce.
Time to build the sauce. Add the drained tomatoes, oregano and additional crushed red peppers (if you are bold enough for an extra spicy meal!).
After a good stir, cook the tomato mixture for about ten minutes until the sauce starts to thicken.
Add the shrimp and any accumulated juices from the plate back to to the tomato sauce.
Drizzle in a little more olive oil, add the parsley, and give it all a good stir. Cook the shrimp for another few minutes until it is hot again.
We served the Shrimp Fra Diavolo on this night with wheat spaghetti. After the spaghetti is cooked and drained, return it to the pot in which the spaghetti boiled, add a few spoonfuls of the tomato sauce, cook for another minute, then put the pasta in low bowls for serving.
Spoon the shrimp and sauce over the pasta for the final product. Shrimp Fra Diavolo (a/k/a “Small Brother Devils”).
Shrimp Fra Diavolo
1 pound large shrimp, peeled, deveined
1 1/2 teaspoon dried crushed red pepper flakes, divided
2 1/2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
3-5 garlic cloves, minced or pressed
3/4 cup dry white wine
1 28-ounce can diced tomatoes, drained
Pinch of dried oregano leaves
3 tablespoons chopped fresh Italian parsley leaves
Add the shrimp to a medium bowl, add 1 tablespoon of olive oil, 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes and a good pinch of salt, and stir to coat the shrimp evenly.
Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a heavy large pan over medium-high heat. When the oil is hot, add the shrimp and saute for about a minute, turn them once, and continue cooking until just cooked through, about 1 to 2 minutes. Transfer the shrimp to a large plate and cover with foil.
Add the garlic and saute for 30 seconds. Add the white wine and cook a few minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the drained tomatoes, remaining 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes (optional if you want the final dish to be spicy!), and oregano. Simmer until the sauce thickens slightly, about 10 minutes.
Return the shrimp and any accumulated juices to the pan and stir, and cook for about a minute or two until the shrimp are nice and hot. Add the the parsley and remaining 1/2 tablespoon olive oil, season to taste with salt, and stir well. Serve the shrimp and sauce over pasta.