I was looking for something great for a date night coming up: a dish I could make that was simple, yet packed full of flavor. Pasta in a red sauce was a natural choice, but I wanted to look past the standard spaghetti and meatballs. I then found the perfect dish: pasta served with fra diavolo sauce.
A good fra diavolo is spicy, yet not too spicy. The heat from the peppers should compliment the sweetness of the shrimp to create a pleasantly sharp, appetizing flavor. To find the perfect balance of flavor, we started off by browning the shrimp shells then using them to make a quick stock. The shrimp itself was poached in the stock instead of seared on the pan. This was important to not only really flavor the shrimp, but to make sure they weren’t overcooked and thus rendered chewy and unpalatable. To get the heat we wanted, we used pepperocini peppers. To finish off the flavor profile, we added fresh parsley and basil. Keep reading below for our recipe!
Read more after the jump!
Fra Diavolo Sauce with Pasta Recipe
- 3/4lb large shrimp, peeled, and deveined. Shells reserved
- 1 14oz can whole peeled tomatoes
- 1/2 cup dry sherry
- 1/2 tablespoon lemon juice
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1/4-1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1 anchovy fillet, rinsed, patted dry, and minced
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
- 3/4 teaspoon minced pepperocini plus 1/2 teaspoon brine from the jar
- 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
- 1lb linguine or spaghetti noodles
- Toss shrimp with 1/4 teaspoon salt. Set aside. Pour the tomatoes in a colander set over a large bowl. Pierce the tomatoes with the edge of a rubber spatula and stir to release the juice. Transfer the drained tomatoes to a small bowl and reserve the juice. do not wash the colander. Set a large pot of water on the stove and start boiling for the pasta.
- Heat 1 1/2 teaspoons vegetable oil in a 10″ skillet over high heat until shimmering. Add shrimp shells and cook, stirring frequently, until they begin to turn brown (about 1 to 2 minutes). Remove the skillet from the heat and carefully add the sherry. When the bubbling subsides, return the pan to the heat and simmer until the sherry had reduced to about 2 tablespoons (1 to 2 minutes). Add the lemon juice and the reserved tomato juice, then simmer (about 2 1/2 minutes). Pour the contents of the skillet into the colander set over a bowl. Discard the shells, and keep the liquid reserved. Wipe the skillet with paper towels.
- Heat the remaining 1 tablespoon vegetable oil, garlic, pepper flakes, and oregano in the now-empty skillet over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until the garlic is straw-colored and fragrant (30 seconds to a minute). Add the anchovy and stir until fragrant (about 15 seconds). Remove the skillet from the heat.
- Add the pasta to the boiling water. Add the drained tomatoes and mash with a potato masher until coarsely pureed. Return to the heat and stir in the reserved tomato juice mixture. Increase the heat to medium-high and simmer until the mixture has thickened (about 2 1/2 minutes).
- Drain the pasta and transfer to a large bowl when the pasta is cooked to al dente. add the shrimp to the skillet and simmer gently, stirring and turning the shrimp frequently until they are just cooked through (2 to 2 1/2 minutes). Remove the pan from the heat. Stir in the basil, parsley, and pepperocini with the brine. Season with salt to taste. Add the sauce to the pasta and stir to coat. Drizzle with olive oil and serve.
Recipe adapted from The Food Network