Shrimp Fra Diavolo
Featuring succulent shrimp tossed with linguine and a spicy red sauce, Shrimp Fra Diavolo is a delicious recipe next time you’re craving pasta!
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 calling for lobster, others calling for clams and yet another that uses 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. However, we found that while 1½ tsp of crushed red pepper yielded a spicy 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
- 3 Tbsp olive oil
- 1½ tsp crushed red pepper flakes
- 1 medium yellow onion diced
- 4 oz. pancetta diced
- 2½ tsp minced garlic
- ½ cup tomato paste
- 2 28-oz. cans San Marzano tomatoes, whole
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
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 serve hot.
Looking for more tasty pasta sauce recipes? Check out these other favorites, too:
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Cant wait to make this soon for me for the sauce can i use mushrooms and pasta can i use more mushrooms and vegan butter i never had shrimp fra diavolo before i love italian food soooooooooooooooo much perfect for my after office meals love your recipes as always brightens up my day everyday after work
Hmmm, rather than use mushrooms in place of the shrimp, I might just leave them out entirely. The sauce is tasty, and the sauce + pasta alone would make for a great meal! I hope you enjoy this one!
Yummmmmmmmm. I love pasta, red sauces, shrimp, and lots of cayenne pepper flakes. This is perfection.
That’s the beauty of this sauce, Mimi – you can add as many (or as few) red pepper flakes as you want! 🙂
I haven’t heard of shrimp fra diavolo, but it definitely has all my favourite ingredients! Great weeknight meal!
Oh this is a fantastic weeknight meal, Michelle! The sauce is super flavorful, and you can make it as spicy as you’d like. I highly recommend it!
This looks delicious David! I’ve never tried fra diavolo, but I love all the ingredients. 😋 Tomato-based pasta sauces are always a hit in our house, as are dishes with a bit of heat. So this Shrip Fra Diavolo is perfect! Such great points about San Marzano tomatoes. You can certainly taste the difference!
I do love tomato-based pasta sauces. Heck, I love all pasta sauces. A good creamy alfredo ranks up there, too! This one is fun because of the name as well as the red pepper flakes. Make it as hot as you’d like! Thanks, Shannon!!
I love a good “spicy” pasta red sauce. Pasta dishes are comforting and satisfying in any season, but especially when the weather turns cooler. I already started craving this dish as soon as I saw your photos. Also, linguine is probably my favorite pasta noodle when it comes to a red or white cream sauce. This is on my list for the weekend. Thanks for sharing David.
I hear ya on the comforting nature of pasta, Kristy! I truly could eat pasta several nights a week and never get tired of it…but there is just something extra tasty about pasta with homemade sauce on a cold night. Definitely give this one a try if you like spicy pasta sauces – it’s delicious! 🙂
What a fun name!!! And I’m always in the mood for pasta. 🙂 Pure comfort food. I love the spicy nature of this recipe.
This one is fun – not only in name, but only in taste! Like you, I’m always in the mood for pasta. 🙂 Thanks, Kathy!
You know Shrimp Fra Diavolo was my go-to order when it appeared on an Italian food restaurant menu, but I’ve never seen it here. Is it an Italian American invention? Matters not, it’s time to introduce my Swedish family to this dish. Thanks for the recipe…
Interesting! I didn’t realize you were such a fan of Fra Diavolo. It is tasty! And, yes, I do believe it is an Italian-American dish. While the origins are a bit murky, it seems that it was invented by Italian immigrants in the New York City area. Either way, it’s delicious, and I highly recommend making a batch! Cheers, Ron!!
i do like spicy and i do like prawns (shrimps) but as you may remember not a fan of tomatoes and here you will think i’m even crazier but i really dislike those san marzano ones. they are just so – tomatoey…! sorry!
You know, that doesn’t surprise me one bit that you aren’t a fan of San Marzanos, Sherry. They are more tomatoey as you say! Since this recipe is all about a red sauce, you might want to hold off here. 🙂
We love a good spicy pasta dish David. Just right for busy weeknights. Looks delicious!
This is indeed a good (and easy) pasta dish, Neil! I love how you can tailor the spiciness to your tastes, too.
Well I’m glad it didn’t burn your tongues off! I love spicy food, especially tomato-based ones, so this is my kind of thing.
Hah – no one wants to burn their tongues off, right? We do enjoy spicy food on occasion, though, and this recipe is quite tasty. I do recommend it!
Hubby and I adore spicy food (and pasta, of course), so this look SO freaking good to me!! This would be perfect for a date night at home while watching a movie. I already know this is going to be awesome and can’t wait to give it a go. 🙂
This pasta is SO freaking good, Dawn. 🙂 From the easy red sauce to the spicy red pepper flakes to the shrimp. Great comfort food for a cold night!
This spicy seafood pasta is one of my all-time favorites, David! I’m so excited to try your version!
This version is mighty tasty, Marissa! We have it on repeat here in our house. 🙂
I don’t know Italian, so I am good with Shrimp Fra Diavolo lol (It actually sounds pleasant!)
And “Shrimp Brother Devil”? That’s totally fine. As long as the dish is super delicious, I don’t care for its name (Unless it’s really nasty)… and this one looks utterly tasty!