Shrimp Fra Diavolo is a restaurant dish you can make at home in just 20 minutes with succulent shrimp served in a spicy, delicious tomato sauce.
If you love shrimp and spice, this Shrimp Fra Diavolo recipe is for you! Packed with delicious garlicky shrimp in spicy tomato sauce, this Italian dish couldn't be more delicious. Pair it alongside pasta or rice for a dish you won’t soon forget! It is also delicious made with chicken like in this Chicken Fra Diavolo.
For a long time, I would make a quick spicy tomato sauce and add cooked shrimp for a quick meal. Then I realized with just a few extra ingredients, I could make Shrimp Fra Diavolo, one of my all-time favorite meals.
The combination of succulent shrimp, fiery spices, and a vibrant tomato sauce just works. The heat is balanced with fresh basil and parsley. Then add some cooked pasta, rice, quinoa, greens, or salad on the side for a delicious meal.
What Is Shrimp Fra Diavolo?
Shrimp Fra Diavolo, meaning "Brother Devil" in Italian, is a popular dish in Italian-American cuisine. Despite its Italian name, some people believe it to be a creation of Italian immigrants in New York.
The dish itself consists of juicy pan-seared shrimp seasoned with red chili flakes and a rich tomato sauce. Calabrian chilies, white wine, onions, and garlic further enhance the flavor and add depth. Trust us when we say the aroma alone will make your mouth water!
Once your shrimp fra diavolo is done, pair it with pasta or rice, a slice of warm, crusty bread (to mop up the delicious Fra Diavolo sauce), and your favorite wine!
Why You’ll Love Shrimp Fra Diavolo
- Great for weeknights: You only need about 20 minutes to cook and plate this incredible meal. Enjoy an elaborate-tasting dinner even when you’re busy!
- Make it light or filling: You can serve shrimp fra diavolo as-is for a light, elegant entrée. Or pair it alongside cooked pasta, rice, and bread for a heartier, more complete meal.
- Restaurant quality: Though simple to make, this dish always impresses guests. Make it for your next dinner party and wow your friends and family!
Ingredients and Substitutions
Here is everything you need to make this delicious spicy pasta dish.
- Large shrimp: You can leave the tails on or take them off, but make sure they are peeled and deveined. You can also use prawns if you prefer.
- Red pepper flakes: Put the “devilish” heat in this shrimp fra diavolo. Adjust the quantity based on your spice tolerance, or add a dash of cayenne pepper.
- Butter and olive oil: Impart flavor and help create a perfect sear on the shrimp. You can use just one or the other, but we think the combination is too good to pass up.
- Onion and garlic cloves: These aromatic veggies provide a savory base for the sauce.
- Dry white wine: To deglaze the pan and add complexity to the sauce. If you don't consume alcohol, use chicken or vegetable broth instead.
- Diced tomatoes: While not typical, fire-roasted canned tomatoes give the sauce a smoky depth. Regular diced tomatoes are the more traditional option and also work well.
- Calabrian chilies: These Italian chilies add a unique heat to the dish. If you can’t find any, use additional red pepper flakes or other hot chili peppers.
- Italian seasoning: This blend of herbs adds earthy, bright, and slightly minty notes to the sauce. Feel free to use individual herbs like oregano, basil, and thyme.
- Parsley and basil: Their freshness balances the spice of the sauce. Dried versions can be used if fresh herbs are unavailable, but the flavor will vary.
Pro tip: If you are serving this with pasta, save about 1/4 cup of the pasta cooking water. When you combine the fra diavolo sauce and the pasta, add that reserved pasta water to help the sauce stick to the past.
How To Make Shrimp Fra Diavolo
This dish may look intimidating but it couldn’t be easier to make.
1. Cook The Shrimp
Start by patting the shrimp dry and tossing them with salt and red pepper flakes. Sear them over medium-high heat in a large skillet for just a minute or two on each side.
Be careful not to overcook the shrimp to prevent a dense, rubbery texture. You’ll have another chance to cook them in the sauce later on.
2. Make The Sauce
Sauté the onions in some olive oil until they're beginning to soften, then stir in the garlic. Add a good-quality white wine to deglaze the pan, incorporating all the flavor from the onion and garlic.
Transfer in the tomatoes, Calabrian chilies, and Italian seasoning, and let the sauce simmer and thicken. Remember to taste the sauce throughout to adjust the heat if needed.
3. Add The Finishing Touches
Return the shrimp to the pan and toss them in the tomato mixture for a minute or so. Garnish your shrimp fra diavolo with fresh parsley and basil. Then serve it immediately for the best taste and texture.
Your Guide To Choosing Shrimp
If you’re unsure of how to choose the best shrimp, follow these simple instructions:
- Smell: Shrimp should have a fresh sea breeze smell. Steer clear from anything that has an overly fishy or ammonia-like aroma.
- Appearance: Look for shrimp with firm, glossy shells. Skip those with slimy or speckled ones.
- Fresh vs frozen: Consider buying frozen shrimp since they are often fresher than the "fresh" ones in most supermarkets. Choose individually quick frozen (IQF) shrimp for the best quality if possible.
- Size: For dishes like shrimp fra diavolo where shrimp is the star ingredient, buy the largest ones you can find.
Storage and Reheating
Shrimp fra diavolo tastes best hot off the stove, but sometimes there are leftovers no matter how much you eat! Here's how to store and reheat this dish:
- Fridge: Transfer the cooled leftovers to airtight containers and keep them in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
- Freezer: We don’t recommend freezing shrimp fra diavolo since the shrimp can become tough and rubbery once thawed and reheated. However, you can make the sauce ahead of time and freeze it, then cook the shrimp when you are ready to serve.
- Reheating: Reheat the shrimp and sauce gently on the stovetop over medium-low heat. It’s important to keep the shrimp over low heat to avoid overcooking them.
Flavor Variations and Ideas
If you want to switch up the flavors for next time, here are a few of our favorite variations:
- Different proteins: Substitute shrimp with other seafood like clams, mussels, lobster, crab, scallops, or fish.
- Spicy: Add an additional teaspoon or so of crushed red pepper to your bowl for an extra spicy tomato sauce.
- Extra veggies: Add bell peppers, zucchini, or spinach to the sauce.
- Cheese: Sprinkle some feta, mozzarella, or Parmesan on top if you’re a cheese lover.
- Herbs: Try your shrimp fra diavolo with dill or oregano rather than basil and parsley.
Frequently Asked Questions
Here are the most common questions about making this spicy shrimp recipe.
Yes, you can use frozen shrimp in this recipe, but make sure you fully defrost, drain, and pat them dry before cooking.
Yes, you can make this dish without wine. Just replace the wine with chicken or vegetable broth.
Shrimp fra diavolo is traditionally spicy, but you can adjust the heat to suit your preferences by adding more or fewer chiles.
Shrimp Fra Diavolo
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- 1 lb large shrimp, peeled and deveined
- 1 tsp kosher salt
- 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
- 1 tbsp butter
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 small onion, sliced thin
- 4 garlic cloves, minced
- 1/2 cup dry white wine
- 14 oz fire roasted diced tomatoes (or tomato sauce)
- 1 tsp Calabrian chilies (or red pepper flakes, more to taste)
- 1/2 tsp Italian seasoning
- 2 tbsp fresh parsley
- 2 tbsp fresh basil
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- Nutritional Information
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* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.
The Nutritional Values provided are estimates only and may vary based on the preparation method.
This dish is pretty spicy. If you don't like lots of spice, start with fewer red pepper flakes and Calabrian chilies. You can always taste the sauce and add more to taste.
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