Friday, August 19, 2022

Shrimp Fra Diavolo (Shrimp In Spicy Sauce)

If you missed reading any of these posts, you owe to yourself to check them out as they would all be on the menu at my gourmet restaurant : Kennedy Quiche, Braised Pork Shanks, Chicken Sorrentino, Heirloom Tomato Pie, Holsteiner Schnitzel, Eggplant Involtini, and this one.

I first saw this recipe on the “Ask Chef Dennis” blog and decided it was a dish we should try without the heat for Cindy and Pat.  Then I subscribed to Cook’s Illustrated and opted to use their recipe for Shrimp Fra Diavolo with a few changes beginning with doubling the recipe so we would have leftovers and we served it with the crushed red pepper on the side for those who wanted heat - most of our group does not.  While I’ve seen several simpler recipes for the dish, I still opted to go with the CI one because it cooked the shrimp shells in the sauce.  Cindy did a great job cooking this meal for me.

Shrimp Fra Diavolo Adapted from Cook’s Illustrated


3 lbs. large shrimp (26 to 30 per pound), peeled and deveined, shells reserved

1 tsp. salt

2 (28-ounce) can whole peeled tomatoes

6 tbsp vegetable oil

2 c. dry white wine

8 garlic cloves, minced

½ - 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes

1 teaspoon dried oregano

4 anchovy fillets, rinsed, patted dry, and minced (2 tsp. paste)

½ c. chopped fresh basil

½ c. chopped fresh parsley

1 tbsp. minced pepperoncini banana pepper rings, plus 1 teaspoon brine

4 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil

16 oz. gnocchi


1. Toss shrimp with 1 teaspoon salt and set aside.

2. Pour tomatoes into colander set over large bowl. Pierce tomatoes with edge of rubber spatula and stir briefly to release juice. Transfer drained tomatoes to small bowl and reserve juice. Do not wash colander.

3. Heat 1 tablespoon vegetable oil in 12-inch skillet over high heat until shimmering.

4. Add shrimp shells and cook, stirring frequently, until they begin to turn spotty brown and skillet starts to brown, 2 to 4 minutes.

5. Remove skillet from heat and carefully add wine. When bubbling subsides, return skillet to heat and simmer until wine is reduced to about 2 tablespoons, 2 to 4 minutes.

6. Add reserved tomato juice and simmer to meld flavors, 5 minutes.

7. Pour contents of skillet into colander set over bowl. Discard shells and reserve liquid. Wipe out skillet with paper towels.

8. Heat remaining 2 tablespoons vegetable oil, garlic, pepper flakes, and oregano in now-empty skillet over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until garlic is straw-colored and fragrant, 1 to 2 minutes.

9. Add anchovy paste and stir until fragrant, about 30 seconds.

10. Remove from heat. Add drained tomatoes and mash with potato masher until coarsely pureed.

11. Return to heat and stir in reserved tomato juice mixture. Increase heat to medium-high and simmer until mixture has thickened, about 5 minutes.

At this point, Cindy stopped cooking and we played a game of Five Crowns before cooking the pasta, gnocchi, and shrimp for our meal.

12. Add shrimp to skillet and simmer gently, stirring and turning shrimp frequently, until they are just cooked through, 4 to 5 minutes.

13. Remove pan from heat. Stir in basil, parsley, banana pepper and brine and season with salt to taste.

14. Drizzle with good olive oil and serve.

Note: If serving with spaghetti, adjust the consistency of the sauce with some reserved pasta cooking water as needed.

We served the shrimp over angel hair pasta and gluten free gnocchi, for Joe.  While it looks impressive with everything on a platter, we plated it from the pans.  This is mine (not a great presentation) with both pasta and gnocchi and I enjoyed both of them.

The meal was topped off with a delicious peach and blueberry cobbler that was also made by Cindy using the recipe from Coco & Ash and looked like this before baking.

This pic is from Mindy's site but we used whipped cream rather than ice cream on ours.

The Verdict:

I added some crushed red pepper to mine to spice it up a little and I thought it was delicious as did the others at our Friday night get together.  I believe I’ll use the shrimp shell process in all sauces containing shrimp going forward. 

Photos can be enlarged by clicking on them and the blue words are links.

Have a great day and thanks for stopping by Almost Heaven South.


08/12/22 meal dates


  1. Larry, This is one of my all time favorite Italian dishes...but we don't see it much on menus these days. Shrimp Fra Diavolo over pasta...spicy! I remember eating in one local Chicago restaurant where I ordered this dish...and I told the waiter that if the chef made my head sweat, he'd perfected it from my viewpoint. When it was served, the chef actually stood in the doorway to see if he'd met my standards. It was perfect! Love cobbler too...a nice way to 'cool off' a spicy meal with some sweet goodness. Take Care, Big Daddy Dave

  2. I'm loving the shrimp shell process! I bet it adds so much flavor to the sauce. The whole meal looks amazing. Loving that cobbler too.


I appreciate and enjoy your comments