How to Make Shrimp Fra Diavolo

Love red sauce? You've got to try fra diavolo: a spicy, garlicky recipe that just might be the perfect tomato sauce.

Tomato sauce is one of the most delicious foods—ever. Even store-bought sauce is perfectly respectable. But if you want to treat yourself, you’ve got to try shrimp fra diavolo, a hot, spicy sauce that’s rich with garlic and herbs.

It’s traditionally cooked with shrimp, but it’s just as good scooped over polenta, grains, breaded chicken or even plain pasta noodles. Plus, it uses staple ingredients you probably keep in your pantry.

How to Make Fra Diavolo

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 5 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/2 to 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 cup dry white wine
  • 1 can (14-1/2 ounces) diced tomatoes, undrained
  • 1 can (8 ounces) tomato sauce
  • 3 tablespoons minced fresh basil or 1 tablespoon dried basil
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 pound uncooked shrimp (26-30 per pound), peeled and deveined
  • 3 cups finely chopped fresh spinach
  • Grated Parmesan cheese, optional

Instructions

Step 1: Build a flavor base

Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Throw in the onions first and cook until they’re softened and golden, about eight to ten minutes. Add the garlic and pepper flakes and cook for about a minute; don’t let the garlic burn or it will make the whole sauce taste acrid.

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Step 2: Deglaze and reduce

Pour the wine into the pan and bring it to a boil, scraping the bottom of the pan to bring up any browned bits (called the “fond”), which have lots of rich flavor. Let the wine boil for a few minutes, until it’s reduced by about half. It should look syrupy and thick.

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Step 3. Build the sauce

Add the tomatoes, tomato sauce, spices and herbs. Simmer, stirring frequently, until the sauce is slightly thickened, about 10 minutes. At this point, you can use this sauce plain and toss with boiled noodles for a simple pasta dish that’s as good as our top-rated pastas. Or, keep cooking to make a delicious shrimp dish.

Step 4. Add the spinach and shrimp

The best part about fra diavolo? You cook the protein and vegetable right in the sauce. Add the shrimp and spinach. Then, cook until the shrimp turn pink, about three to five minutes. (The spinach will have wilted and softened in that time.)

If you like, top with cheese. This dish is good on its own, but a serving of pasta, quinoa or crusty Italian bread gives you something to soak up the sauce. Once you’ve mastered this dish, sharpen up your skills with more easy shrimp recipes.

Recipes for Old-World Italian Food
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Kelsey Rae Dimberg
A former in-house editor at Taste of Home, Kelsey now writes articles and novels from her home in Milwaukee. She's an avid cook, reader, flâneur, and noir fanatic. Her debut novel, Girl in the Rearview Mirror, will be published in June 2019 by William Morrow.