"Shrimp with Fresh Fra Diavolo sauce (spicy Devil sauce) is best when made with fresh heirloom tomatoes, but canned diced tomatoes will also work. This is a simple, yet elegant, dinner. Quick enough for weeknights, good enough for company"
The making of Shrimp with Fresh Fra Diavolo Sauce
This recipe is close to my heart. First, because it's deliciously easy to make. Second because it's low-fat. But mostly because a Lobster Fra Diabolo was one of the first recipes I edited and boy, was it a doozy of an edit.
The Son's of Italy published a cookbook, made up of recipes from the kitchens of their Mothers, Nana, Aunties, Uncle Vito, everyone in the family. This was, I'm sure at the time, a great fund-raiser. They sold their recipe book to consumers, as well as, I'm guessing every Italian cooking site they could. This included the one I was doing recipe archives clean-up for - Colavita USA.
The recipes were generally poorly written. Written as Nana might tell you as she is preparing the dish - a pinch of this, a bit of that. Instructions were missing. Ingredients were missing. It was a big puzzle trying to figure out how much, or when to add many ingredients.
But I'm a pretty good kitchen sleuth - so I started cleaning things up - explaining better how to prepare the dish, and making sure ingredients in the recipe showed up somewhere in the instructions, and vice versa. Ingredients mentioned in the instructions were actually listed in the ingredients column.
A brilliant way to write a recipe IMHO.
One of the first recipes I encountered was for Lobster Fra Diavolo..
Fra Diavolo (the Devil's Brother) is a spicy tomato sauce for pasta or seafood. This particular recipe had in it:
4 - 2-pound lobsters
1 pound cooked pasta
And it served... 2
They must have been a very very hungry two.
After the fix, it fed four, and you would still have to be hungry to eat that much. It's a lot of food, but at least now it was not gluttony.
Sadly, for me anyway, about the time I got through all of the recipes and cleaned them up, Colavita USA decided to change their whole website and recipe pages so all my fixes are now in the great cyber dump - where all things formerly on the web, live. Or die.
For my recipe, I'm going to use a proper serving of pasta - 2-ounces per person. I'm also going to use a reasonable amount of seafood - 1-pound. I used all shrimp, but you could use a combination of shrimp and bay scallop. To keep the recipe lower in fat and calories, I simply simmer my seafood in the prepared sauce. It takes just a few minutes to cook them through.
For this sauce, I used fresh tomatoes from my garden. When using fresh tomatoes, many recipes will instruct you to peel and seed them. I generally peel them as I don't like the bits of peel in my sauce, but the seeds don't bother me so I don't seed my tomato. If the seeds bother you, then, by all means, seed them as well.
To peel the tomato, you can use my preferred method of piercing the stem end with a long fork, then turning the tomato over an open flame for a few seconds until the skin bursts. Then remove the skin.
OR you could use the drop the tomato in hot boiling water for about 3o seconds, after you put an X on the non-stem end - plunge it into a bowl of ice water - then peel.
Either way works - I just prefer not having to boil the water or use the ice water. For me, it's zero pots, zero water to two.
I like zero.
If you don't have access to fresh (summer, not winter store-bought tomatoes) then canned diced tomatoes in their juice will work. If using canned diced tomatoes, I recommend chopping them up a bit before making the sauce or use an immersion blender after, to get a better-textured sauce. Canned tomatoes do not break down the same as a fresh tomato.
As I said, Fra Diavolo means the Devil's Brother - so it's meant to be hot and spicy. I used one teaspoon of red pepper flakes and found the heat to be nice, but not overly hot. If you like it hot, add more. If you like it not, add less.
As always - taste and adjust.
So put a little devil into your life with this simple, tasty, fresh dish.
As Flip Wilson used to say - "the devil made me do it".
You do remember Flip Wilson, right?
Shrimp with Fresh Fra Diavolo Sauce
Serve this with a simple side salad like BABY GREENS SALAD WITH LIGHT BALSAMIC VINAIGRETTE.
Wine Pairing: Because of the spicy nature of this dish, a wine that is more fruit-forward, with low firm tannins is best. Terroir to terroir, a Primitivo (or Zinfandel) is a good choice, a Tempranillo and Sangiovese also work. Make sure these wines are not too high in alcohol, staying below 14.5% if possible. A California Merlot would also work.
Shrimp with Fresh Fra Diavolo Sauce
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 6 cloves garlic minced
- 1 ½ pounds fresh tomatoes preferably Heirloom peeled, seeded if desired, and diced, with juice
- Salt to taste
- 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 1 pound medium shrimp peeled and deveined
- 8 ounces cooked pasta
- Minced fresh parsley to sprinkle (about 1 ½ tablespoons)
- In a large saucepan (non-reactive) heat the olive oil over medium heat; add the garlic and red pepper flakes, once they sizzle, add the tomatoes, and salt. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer, stirring occasionally, for 30 minutes.
- Add the shrimp to the sauce and simmer, about 3 minutes, or until the shrimp are cooked through.
- Serve over cooked pasta. Garnish with fresh parsley.