Shrimp Fra Diavolo

It’s been way too long since I spent much time in the kitchen.  Work travel has prevented me from being at home, much less in the kitchen.  But now I’m home for a few weeks and excited to do a little cooking.  I had a party last weekend so I have some posts to make up, but let’s start with dinner last night, which actually kind of started with the party leftovers.  I bought two big clamshells of grape tomatoes for the party and had most of them leftover.  (Apparently other people aren’t as keen as I am on eating hummus with baby tomatoes).  Anyway, so as not to waste the many tomatoes I decided to make sauce.  Then I invited some folks over and my sauce became Shrimp Fra Diavolo!

A fra diavolo is a spicy sauce for seafood.  I think it’s distinguished from an arabbiata sauce in that arrabiata is always tomato based, but not always for seafood.  A fra diavolo is always for seafood, but not always tomato based.  It’s a really easy sauce to make.  I cooked down the tomatoes with olive oil, basil and oregano and added 1/2 teaspoon of a special blend of crushed hot peppers.  These peppers from my friend Kristin pack quite a punch so you don’t need much.  When the sauce is cooked down you just press it through a sieve or colander to get the peels out.  Add a little salt and done.  If you prefer you can put the tomatoes through a food mill before you cook them, but honestly I think this is easier.

This is where I started with the sauce.

After the sauce is cooked down and pressed through the collander it looks like this:

I cooked the shrimp in the sauce rather than cooking them and adding them.  My timing was a little off so the shrimp cooked a little longer than I would have liked.  I should have plated the salads before I added the shrimp.  Still, it wasn’t bad.  Next time it might be fun to grill the shrimp and then add them to add a little char to the flavor.  A squeeze of lemon at the end adds a little brightness.  Ideally you want your sauce to have enough heat in it that you don’t notice it with the first bite and then your mouth gradually warms up to a pleasant hot.  If somebody at your table likes a lot of heat you can always put some crushed red pepper on the table.

Serve it over a noodle with a little weight to it.  I used linguine which worked well.  A bucatini might be even better because the sauce will get inside the noodles.  This is kind of an elegant dish so I’d stay away from short noodles – penne, rotini, rigatoni.  It just won’t look as nice.  I don’t serve any cheese with this, but feel free if you like.  My guess is that this will be super good as leftovers.  A sauce like this only improves with a day or two in the fridge.

Dinner is served!

I served a mixed green salad with red onion and mandarin oranges dressed with a lemon vinaigrette.  I added a couple of small crab cakes on the side with some dijonnaise sauce.

(Turns out the salad and crab cakes make a darn good breakfast too).

All in all a successful dinner with good friends, good food and a bottle of Shotfire Quartage.  A happy addition to the holiday season!

Good? Somewhere between good and very good.
Easy? Yep. The heat of the cooking does the hard part.
Good for company? Pasta is always good for sharing
Special shopping? Nope. Remember I started with a bunch of leftover tomatoes.

Shrimp Fra Diavolo

Ingredients

3 lbs cherry tomatoes
2 T olive oil
1 T minced garlic
2 t crushed basil
2 t crushed oregano
1 t salt
1/2 t crushed hot peppers
1 lb shrimp, peeled and deveined
6-8 oz. linguine

Directions

Combine first 7 ingredients in a large pot. Heat to a simmer. Cook 1-2 hours, stirring occasionally. The peels will separate. Place a collander over a large bowl. When the tomatoes are cooked down to sauce pour the sauce into the collander and work the sauce through with a wooden spoon. The peels will remain in the collander to discard. Return the sauce to the cooking pot and bring it to a simmer.

Boil a large pot of water and add the linguine. When the linguine is cooked to al dente add the shrimp to the sauce pot. Cook shrimp 2-3 minutes in the sauce. Add the drained linguine to the sauce pot. Serve in pasta bowls.

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