Oh seafood, it’s one of my favorites. One of the reasons I love it so is because it’s usually super fast to cook, and can be pretty effortless to prepare. I stock bags of frozen shrimp in my fridge for quick and easy, and shall I say, pretty impressive meals (for some reason I feel like people are always impressed when you serve up a plate of sautéed shrimp versus chicken). Thank the good lord I was blessed with a husband who loves seafood. My husband (the half italian he is) always wants his shrimp with pasta—not any pasta, but his beloved linguine. Oh, and did I mention he loves sauce. I think he could eat pasta with tomato sauce everyday. It’s definitely one of the meals he asks me to make on a pretty regular basis.
Shrimp Fra Diavolo is a great recipe to have on hand, when you want to (let’s quote Emeril here) “kick it up a notch”—fancy seafood pasta, with a literal kick of spicy marinara. I like mine really hot (makes that glass of white zinfandel go down like water), and kinda of sweet (hence the addition of brown sugar). The sugar also helps with the acidity of the tomato (especially if you’re making tomato sauce from really fresh tomatoes). Feel free to substitute your own sauce recipe here too. One thing you must not forget—finish cooking the pasta in the sauce! I don’t even drain the pasta, I just scoop it from the water right into my sauce pot. Any extra starchy water that carries over will only help thicken the sauce. My wine choice here is white zinfandel…the sweetness is a great companion to the spice factor, and every single bite makes me want another sip (or two) and vice-versa.
Want to change it up a bit? Try adding a scoop of mascarpone cheese or a swirl of cream or half and half to the sauce before adding in the pasta.
This recipe calls for 1 1/2 pounds of shrimp, but if you’re like me you buy one of two pound bags. Put your 1 1/2 pounds of shrimp to the side, salt and pepper the extra, and sauté in the pan you’re going to use for the meal before you start making the Fra Diavolo. Take them out and chill them in the fridge overnight. Toss them in your salad with some avocados for lunch the next day, or chop them up and add them to some chopped celery, onion and mayo for a quick shrimp salad. Double-duty!
- 4–5 garlic cloves, minced
- ½ large onion, finely diced (yellow or spanish onion)
- 1-28 ounce can crushed tomatoes (preferably San Marzano tomatoes)
- ½–1½ teaspoons crushed red pepper depending on how hot you like it (I like it hot hot hot, so I go with the 1 1/12)
- A few basil leaves, and handful of fresh parsley, chopped (about 4 tablespoons total)
- ½ teaspoon dried oregano
- 1½ tablespoons light brown sugar
- 1½ pounds raw, peeled and deveined shrimp, tail’s off (if using frozen, fully defrost first)
- 1 pound linguine
- extra-virgin olive oil
- Coat a deep saute pan with extra-virgin olive oil.
- On medium-high heat, saute the garlic and onion until softened.
- Add crushed tomatoes, crushed red pepper, oregano, brown sugar, and salt and pepper to taste. When it comes to a boil, lower heat to low, cover and simmer for 15 minutes.
- While the sauce is cooking, bring a large pot of heavily salted water to a boil, and cook pasta according to package. Make sure to cook to al dente.
- After the sauce has simmered for 15 minutes, add the shrimp, stir, and let them poach in the sauce for about 5 minutes or until they are opaque and fully cooked. Add the fresh herbs and simmer for another 3–5 minutes.
- Add the cooked linguine and toss until everything is fully coated. Serve!