Shrimp Fra Diablo

I first had this dish more than 20 years ago, in a restaurant that no longer exists in Sandy Springs, Georgia.  My thought, at the time, was – shrimp and pasta? Sounds kinda gross.  (Hey, I was maybe 19 at the time and had no exposure to good food!)  But it was TEH AWESOME!  At the time, I had asked the chef for the recipe and of course, was thoroughly denied.

Well, time has passed and having better tools in which to actually cook food and be kind of creative, I remembered that dish and wanted to see if I could make it.  Now, it really isn’t that hard, though the recipe I used was definitely … lacking.  Note: this is really the first time I’ve ever had to peel and de-vein raw shrimp.  Interesting, albeit kinda gross experience.  I’m over it though.  🙂

What I used (because it’s what I had):

  • Bag of raw shrimp – roughly 30 of them – shelled and de-veined
  • Red pepper flakes
  • Salt
  • Olive oil
  • Garlic
  • Onion
  • Pasta (your choice of what kind really)
  • Basil
  • Oregano
  • Diced tomatoes (I used 2 cans)
  • Dry vermouth or dry white wine

Make the pasta per however way you like to make it.  I won’t get into the debate of using salt or not in the water.

Toss your shelled and de-veined shrimp with about a teaspoon of salt and I used a tablespoon of red pepper flakes.  I like spice, but if you prefer it not so spicy, use less.

Heat a bit of olive oil in skillet.  Cook the shrimp for a few minutes on each side. You can tell they’re cooked when they get all nice and pinky colored.  🙂

Set the shrimp aside and re-use the skillet to cook down the onion.  I used a small yellow onion, diced up.  Cook until translucent and soft.  Add in a couple of cloves of garlic, minced.  And when I say a couple, really I mean a lot more.  There is no such thing as enough garlic for me and in this recipe, I needed more  than I put in.  If you are using the stuff you get in the jar – I’d figure at least a tablespoon … or more, if you are anything like me.

Cook it down a bit, then add some dry white wine or dry vermouth.  I used just enough to cover the bottom of the skillet.  Cook this down until almost all of it is gone.

At this point, add the diced tomatoes.  Cook this down … about 10 minutes or so.

Add the shrimp back into the skillet, add about a teaspoon of basil and oregano.  Stir up and let cook for a few minutes.  Test the seasoning, so it’s to your liking.

Serve over the pasta.


Now, when I had this dish, it definitely had more of a marinara sauce to it than this dish does.  I’m going to adjust this a bit for next time, including making it spicier … well, for me anyway.  The Man isn’t a fan of the spicy food as I am.

4 Replies to “Shrimp Fra Diablo”

  1. I’ll get into the salt/not salt debate 😉 You must salt the water for 2 reasons; Salt ionizes your water, thus increasing the boiling temperature. This increase in temperature helps to cook the pasta better and helps to ‘solidify’ (I say ‘solidify’ because I’m not sure that’s the correct word, and I’m tired and I had a drink, but you get the point) the gluten.

    Secondly, the water should taste like the Ocean in Sicily, according to my Nana. And that woman could cook….

  2. I’ll admit that I don’t usually salt my water anymore. Depending on what I’m cooking, I might add a touch of olive oil to keep pasta from sticking, but otherwise, I haven’t bothered with salt. I don’t think salting it’s bad. I just usually don’t think to do it.

    And I think I had that at the River Pub one time, and I really liked it. I’m usually picky about shrimp (or any seafood) with certain foods. Seafood and cheese is a big one for me to squick over, but I know the shrimp fra diablo that I had was really good.

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