Featuring succulent shrimp tossed with linguine and a spicy red sauce, Shrimp Fra Diavolo is a delicious recipe next time you’re craving pasta!
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I’m not sure “Shrimp Brother Devil” is the most appetizing of recipe titles, but that’s what we’ve got with this classic Shrimp Fra Diavolo recipe. While the name might be a little odd, the taste is spot-on, and this recipe makes for a fantastic meal if you’re in the mood for a pasta night!
Pronounced “fra-dee-ah-voh-loh,” Fra Diavolo sauce starts as a classic Italian tomato sauce. Onions, garlic, tomatoes form the basis for this sauce, and I often add some diced pancetta in whenever I’m in the mood to make a homemade tomato sauce. The key addition that turns this red sauce into Fra Diavolo sauce? Red pepper flakes. Yup, Fra Diavolo is spicy.
As with many recipes, the origins of Shrimp Fra Diavolo are a bit murky. Some claim the recipe originated in Naples, although it’s generally accepted that this dish was the creation of Italian immigrants living in New York City. (Of course, there is even more debate as to which Italian immigrants – or restaurant – first invented this recipe.)
Regardless of its origins, Fra Diavolo is a common recipe at many Italian restaurants here in the States. Different variations of this recipe exist. Some versions call for other types of seafood like lobster, clams or mussels. Other versions call for chicken. I went with shrimp for this version, and it turned out quite well!
Shrimp Fra Diavolo
As noted above, Fra Diavolo sauce is spicy. Rather than using cayenne pepper, this recipe relies on crushed red pepper flakes for the spice. We found that while 1½ tsp of crushed red pepper yielded a spicy tomato sauce, it did not burn our tongues off. It was the perfect amount of heat for us – of course, feel free to adjust the red pepper flakes to your taste!
Whenever tomatoes are the key flavor in a recipe, I recommend using San Marzano tomatoes. These tomatoes are a variant of Roma tomatoes that are grown in the Sarno Valley in southern Italy. The volcanic soil in this region is particularly suitable to San Marzano tomatoes. One bite, and you’ll recognize the difference!
Fortunately, canned San Marzano tomatoes are fairly accessible at large grocery stores here in the US. Make sure to look for the European Union “DOP” label on the can. I’ve noticed some brands trying to capitalize on the San Marzano popularity by selling “San Marzano style” tomatoes. That’s not the same thing. A can of true San Marzanos will be 2x-3x more expensive than store-brand canned tomatoes…but the taste isn’t even close! It’s worth the extra couple of dollars when those tomatoes are the shining star of the recipe!
If you’re looking for a fantastic pasta recipe, then I recommend trying this Shrimp Fra Diavolo. It’s one of our favorites whenever we’re in the mood for pasta around our house…which is fairly often. Enjoy!
Did you make this Shrimp Fra Diavolo at home? Leave a comment, or snap a photo and tag me on Instagram (@Spicedblog) – I’d love to see your version!
Shrimp Fra Diavolo
For the Sauce
For the Pasta
- 16 oz. linguine
- 3 Tbsp unsalted butter divided
- ⅓ cup Panko bread crumbs
- ¼ cup chopped Italian parsley divided
- 1 tsp kosher salt divided
- ½ tsp black pepper divided
- 16 oz. large 16-20 count shrimp, peeled and deveined
- 2 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 large red onion thinly sliced
- 1 Tbsp minced garlic
- ⅔ cup dry white wine such as Sauvignon Blanc or Pinot Grigio
- fresh basil leaves chopped
For the Sauce
- Using a large saucepan, add olive oil and place over medium heat.
- Once hot, add the red pepper flakes, diced onions and pancetta; sauté, stirring occasionally, for 10 minutes.
- Add minced garlic and tomato paste; stir until well combined. Continue sautéing for 3-4 minutes.
- Place canned tomatoes in a large ziptop bag and crush with your hands. (Tip: the ziptop bag is to prevent tomato juice from going everywhere!)
- Transfer tomatoes into saucepan; stir and bring mixture to a simmer. Reduce heat to medium-low and let simmer, stirring occasionally, for 20-30 minutes.
For the Pasta
- Fill a large pot with salted water and cook linguine according to package directions. Drain cooked pasta, but reserve ~1 cup of pasta water.
- Using a large skillet, add 1 Tbsp of butter and place over medium heat. Once butter has melted, add the Panko bread crumbs. Sauté, stirring occasionally, for 2-3 minutes, or until bread crumbs have turned golden brown in color.
- Transfer bread crumbs into a small bowl. Add 2 Tbsp of chopped parsley, ½ tsp salt and ¼ tsp black pepper; stir until well combined. Set mixture aside.
- Pat shrimp dry with a paper towel and sprinkle remaining ½ tsp of salt and ¼ tsp of black pepper on top; set shrimp aside.
- Add the olive oil and remaining 2 Tbsp of butter to the large skillet and place over medium heat. Add sliced onions and sauté, stirring occasionally, for 4-5 minutes, or until onions have softened.
- Add garlic to the skillet, stir and sauté for 1 more minute.
- Add shrimp to the skillet in one layer and sauté for 1 minute per side. Add wine and simmer for 3 minutes.
- Add Sauce (from above) and remaining 2 Tbsp of Italian parsley; stir until well combined. Heat over medium heat until simmering.
- Add cooked pasta, stir and continue simmering for 1-2 minutes.
- Add several tablespoons of the reserved pasta water (as needed) and stir.
- Transfer into serving bowls, garnish with the toasted Panko mixture (from above) and fresh basil leaves and serve hot.
Looking for more tasty pasta sauce recipes? Check out these other favorites, too: