Shrimp Fra Diavolo with Linguine
Shrimp Fra Diavolo with Linguine features shrimp that has been flambeed in brandy then tossed with a spicy tomato sauce and pasta.
You are witnessing a first on this blog – seafood! You see, I typically stay away from all fish and seafood, but I’ve been slowly trying to incorporate a few new things into my diet, and shrimp has been one that I can handle if prepared correctly. For me, it’s all about the cooking method – if the shrimp is boiled, forget about it. If it’s been grilled or seared to get a nice char on the outside, I love it!
My dad loves shrimp, especially shrimp pastas, but my mom hates it and will only cook it for him once in a great while. She was out of town visiting my sister earlier this month, so I thought it would be a good opportunity for me to try my hand at cooking shrimp for the first time.
Bob loves shrimp, so I knew I would be making my two men happy even if I didn’t like it. I know I can count on America’s Test Kitchen recipes, so I turned to my cookbook. I showed Bob 3 shrimp recipes from my America’s Test Kitchen cookbook and let him pick; he chose this one.
Preparing the Shrimp
I purchased “easy peel” shrimp which are deveined but still have the tails. As I was removing the tails from the raw shrimp and breathing in that ‘shrimpy’ air, I was convinced that I would be making myself a can of soup for dinner.
When the shrimp had been cooked in the brandy and were resting on a plate, Bob came over and stole one, offering me a bite. I reluctantly accepted and was amazed to discover that it was delicious! No shrimpy taste, great texture, slightly sweet from the brandy. I then started to think I might actually eat this meal with them . . . and I did . . . and it was fantastic!
Flambeeing the Shrimp
Flambeing in a technique where you light alcohol on fire briefly while cooking. I had some trouble with the flambeing, as it was one of my first times using the range in our new house, which is electric and definitely and adjustment. Despite that, the shrimp ended up perfectly cooked.
If you have trouble lighting the brandy on fire and it evaporates, I suggest that you just go with it. It’s more important to cook the shrimp properly (i.e. not over-cook) than to get the brandy to light, in my opinion.
I highly recommend this recipe, and I hope you look forward to seeing more shrimp recipes here in the future! You’ll notice I added a seafood label for this post . . . we’ll see how often that gets used 🙂
Gluten Free Shrimp Fra Diavolo with Linguine
Use gluten free linguine in place of traditional pasta for an entirely gluten free meal!
Looking for More Shrimp Recipes?
- 1 pound medium-large shrimp (preferably 31 to 35 count, peeled and deveined)
- 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes (or more, to taste)
- 6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 1/2 tablespoons table salt
- 1/4 cup Cognac or brandy
- 4 tablespoons minced garlic (about 12 medium or 8 large cloves)
- 1/2 teaspoon granulated sugar
- 28 ounces canned diced tomatoes (drained)
- 1 cup medium-dry white wine (such as Sauvignon Blanc)
- 1/4 cup minced fresh parsley leaves
- 1 pound linguine or spaghetti
- Bring 4 quarts water to rolling boil, covered, in large Dutch oven or stockpot.
- While water is heating, heat 12-inch heavy-bottomed skillet over high heat for 4 minutes. Meanwhile, toss shrimp, half of red pepper flakes, 2 tablespoons olive oil, and 3/4 teaspoon salt in medium bowl. Add shrimp to skillet and quickly spread in single layer; cook, without stirring, until bottoms of shrimp turn spotty brown, about 30 seconds.
- Off heat, stir to turn shrimp, and add cognac/brandy; let stand off heat until cognac warms slightly, about 5 seconds, and return pan to high heat. Wave lit match over skillet until cognac ignites; shake skillet until flames subside, transfer shrimp to medium bowl, and set aside. *I had a lot of trouble with this part, mostly because I think my pan was too hot. Never got the brandy to light, but the shrimp were still delicious! If the brandy won’t light, keep on eye on the shrimp and cook them as directed, no more.
- Off heat, cool now-empty skillet 2 minutes; return to burner and reduce heat to low. Add 3 tablespoons olive oil and 3 tablespoons garlic; cook, stirring constantly, until garlic foams and is sticky and straw-colored, 7 to 10 minutes.
- Add remaining red pepper flakes, 3/4 teaspoon salt, sugar, tomatoes, and wine; increase heat to medium-high, and simmer until thickened and fragrant, about 8 minutes. Stir in reserved shrimp and accumulated juices, remaining 1 tablespoon garlic, and parsley and simmer until shrimp have heated through, about 1 minute longer. Off heat, stir in remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil. *I think I was thrown off by the flambe-ing and forgot to drain my canned tomatoes. This made for a very thin sauce, which I just reduced for longer than 8 minutes. Still turned out great!
- While sauce simmers, add linguine or spaghetti and remaining 1 tablespoon salt to boiling water, stir to separate pasta, cover, and cook until al dente; reserve 1/3 cup pasta cooking water and drain pasta. Transfer drained pasta back to now-empty Dutch oven or stockpot; add about 1/2 cup sauce (without shrimp) and 2 to 3 tablespoons reserved pasta cooking water; toss to coat. Divide pasta among warm serving bowls, top with a portion of sauce and shrimp, and serve immediately.