Shrimp fra diavolo with linguine is a dish that’s real close to my heart. As a kid, it was probably the first dish I ordered off the grown up menu at one of our favorite New York Italian restaurants.
And it was a dish that I would continue to faithfully order throughout the years. When I started “experimenting” in my Mother’s kitchen I just had to make it! This is the shrimp fra diavolo recipe that I have been making for nearly 25 years.
What Is Shrimp Fra Diavolo?
Fra diavolo translates into “Devil Monk” according to Wikipedia. Fra Diavolo was the name given to Michele Pezza who was a Neopolitan guerilla leader.
Most people believe that Shrimp fra diavolo was named after this man. Good enough for me!
Based on my limited research, fra diavolo is again one of those dishes that was created in America by Italian immigrants. I could not find any mention of shrimp fra divaolo originating in Italy.
And finally this New York Times article says it was created in Long Isand, NY. Just like me. Not surprising to me as this dish was and is on almost all Italian restaurant menus in the tri-state area. Another dish with a similar history is Chicken Sorrentino.
I do moderate research on these recipes and subjects before posting them, but ask you to please share any info on the history if you’re knowledgeable.
But lets Get Back To The Shrimp Fra Diavolo Recipe…
- 1 pound large shrimp – I like 16-20 count. This means 16-20 shrimp per pound.
- 1/2 pound linguine – Any pasta is fine for this dish, but I do prefer long pastas for this recipe.
- 28 ounce can San Marzano plum tomatoes – 1 can will be more than enough for this recipe.
- 1/4 cup olive oil – At least a 1/4 cup of olive oil, but whenever cooking Italian food have plenty of olive oil on standby!
- 1 tsp of crushed red pepper – Please adjust according to your tolerance for spicy food.
- 1/2 cup dry white wine – Pinot Grigio would be a good choice and you can drink it with the meal.
- 1/4 cup brandy – The brandy really adds an even better flavor to the sauce than just wine alone.
- 1 cup pasta water – Used to finish the linguine in the sauce.
- 8 cloves of garlic
- 1/2 tsp dried oregano
- 2 Tbsp fresh parsley
- 1/2 tsp baking soda
Shrimp Fra Diavolo with Linguine Step By Step Instructions:
- Picture of ingredients. Boil pasta in salted water for 1 minute less than package instructions call for. Use 2 Tbsp of kosher salt for 6 quarts of water – doesn’t have to be precise!
- Chop or slice the garlic.
- Clean the shrimp, pat dry, and place in a bowl.
- Add the red pepper flakes, olive oil, 1/2 tsp kosher salt, and baking soda. Mix well.
- Before draining pasta reserve a mug full of pasta water.
- Place the tomatoes in a large bowl and squeeze with your hand to break them up. Do it in a sink with one hand acting as a shield. Alternatively, you can pulse in a blender for 1-2 seconds.
- Heat pan on medium heat and add the shrimp/oil mixture. Saute until pink and firm (approximately 2 minutes per side).
- Remove shrimp, plate, and set aside, lightly covered to keep warm.
- In the same pan add a little olive oil and saute chopped garlic on medium heat for 2 minutes or until golden. Then, turn the heat on high and add the wine and brandy. Keep your head away from the pan to avoid singed eyebrows! Brandy sometimes flames up for a bit, as can any alcohol. Let it come to a boil for 30 seconds.
- Lower the heat to medium-low and add the tomatoes and oregano. Let it simmer for 10 minutes uncovered. Taste the sauce and adjust the salt and spiciness levels.
- Remove half the sauce from the pan and reserve. Add 1/4 cup of pasta water along with the pasta to the pan with the sauce. Turn heat to high and thoroughly coat the pasta. Add the shrimp, turn heat down, and combine all the flavors.
- Now is the time to add a little bit more sauce if needed and get it just right. Finally add the parsley. Any extra sauce can be served on the side with crusty bread.
So That’s it! Fra Diavolo Sauce Comes Together Real Quick.
There is no reason why you can’t make it just as well as any restaurant!
I hope you enjoy these step by step instructions. Any feedback on this recipe would be greatly appreciated. I believe taking the time to show the step by step pics adds value and really helps explain a recipe. But, if you just want the recipe, it’s at the bottom in consolidated form.
Some Common Questions:
What is diavolo sauce?
Diavolo sauce is a tomato based spicy sauce that uses crushed red pepper as the primary heating agent. As elaborated in the Times article above, it was probably invented in New York. All diavolo sauce recipes involve spice, tomatoes, wine/brandy and/or lemon juice. I imagine there has been a bianca version made somewhere, but I wouldn’t really call that a fra diavolo.
Seafood Fra Diavolo?
Absolutely! Lobster is a great substitute for shrimp and if using just tails it’s actually easier to make! When making the lobster version I will simply boil the tails a little less than fully cooked and then finish them in the fra diavolo sauce. Scungilli, clams, mussels or a combination of all would be excellent options.
Fra Diavolo Sauce Difficulty Level:
I always try to give an honest assessment of difficulty on all my recipes. This recipe is a 2 out of 5 with 1 being easy and 5 being very hard.
Buy good quality shrimp! I go over this in my Shrimp Taco Recipe With Tequila Lime Garlic Sauce. No amount of doctoring and spicing up of the sauce will compensate for poor quality shrimp, which is the main ingredient in this dish.
The shrimp only take a few minutes to cook and will be further heated at the end so go easy. The baking soda is an old Chinese restaurant trick and it will keep the shrimp much plumper. The baking soda imparts no taste, so don’t worry about that.
Always cook pasta “al dente” which literally translates to “to the tooth”, so it is not mushy when serving. It’s important to finish the pasta in the sauce to thoroughly coat it, but is not always doable. If finishing in the sauce proves difficult, a good technique is to mix everything into a large serving bowl and cover it with plastic wrap. The pasta will absorb some of the fra diavolo sauce this way.
Other Great Italian Recipes:
- Authentic Italian Meatballs And Sunday Sauce Recipe
- Chicken Sorrentino Recipe
- Instant Pot Pasta Fagioli
- Spaghetti Amatriciana Recipe
- Swordfish Steaks With Olives And Capers
- Italian Sausage Pasta
- Creamy Garlic Mushroom Pasta
I would go for a nice white wine such as Pinot Grigio or a Negroni Cocktail.
DID YOU TRY THIS RECIPE?
Give it a star rating.
- 1 pound large shrimp
- 1/2 pound linguine
- 1 28 ounce can of plum tomatoes
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 1/2 cup dry white wine
- 1/4 cup brandy
- 1 cup pasta water
- 8 cloves garlic
- 1 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
- 1/2 tsp dried oregano
- 2 Tbsp chopped fresh parsley
- 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 1 tsp kosher salt
- Boil pasta to 1 minute less than package instructions in salted water. Chop or slice garlic.
- Place shrimp in a bowl and add 1/2 tsp kosher salt, 1 tsp crushed red pepper flakes, 1/2 tsp baking soda, and 1/4 cup of olive oil. Mix well.
- Before draining pasta, reserve 1 cup of pasta water. Crush tomatoes by hand or pulse in blender for 1-2 seconds.
- Heat large pan to medium heat and saute shrimp until pink. About 2 minutes per side. Remove shrimp from pan and set aside.
- In same pan saute the garlic for 1-2 minutes until golden. Add the white wine and brandy and turn heat to high. Bring to boil for 30 seconds. Lower heat to medium-low and add tomatoes and oregano. Stir to combine and let the sauce simmer.
- After 5-10 minutes of simmering remove half the sauce and set aside. Add 1/4 cup of pasta water to sauce pan and add the pasta. Turn heat to high and thoroughly coat the pasta for 1 minute.
- Finally add the shrimp back to pan with the parsley and reduce heat to low. Stir it all together for 1 more minute then remove from heat. Taste and adjust spice and salt levels. Enjoy!
- The extra sauce can be used for bread dipping or added to the pasta if a little dry. Over sauced pasta is a personal preference.
- The spice level should be adjusted up or down according to taste. Fra diavolo should be a spicy sauce but adjust according to taste.
- Salt is kept down in this recipe. Adjust to taste.
- Serve with grated cheese if you like and crusty Italian bread.
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