Cookbook Profile

Shrimp Fra Diavolo

Makes 4 to 6 servings


The culinary debate rages on: Is Fra Diavolo an American dish or an Italian? One side claims the dish originated in the early 1900s among Italian immigrants in New York; this camp claims the heavy sauce is strictly an Italian-American invention, not representative of the way people eat in Italy, The other side argues that Fra Diavolo was once a specialty of the Amalfi Coast. In the end, it doesn't really matter, for spicy pasta fra diavolo is on every Italian-American menu across the U.S. This recipe offers the simplest version, long a favorite in New York's Little Italy; roasting the tomatoes concentrates their flavor, balancing the garlic and red pepper. Serve hot right out of the pan, accompanied by a crisp salad and sliced fruit for dessert.

2 pounds plum tomatoes (about 12), halved
1/4 cup olive oil
6 garlic cloves, minced
1 pound spaghetti, linguine, or fettuccine
1 1/2 teaspoons red pepper flakes
1 pound medium shrimp (35 to 40 per pound),
     peeled and deveined, or precooked cocktail shrimp,
     thawed and peeled
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

1. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F.

2. Place the tomatoes cut side down in a roasting pan or a lipped baking sheet just large enough to hold them in one layer. Drizzle them evenly with the olive oil and sprinkle with the minced garlic.

3. Bake the tomatoes for I hour, or until they are lightly browned and very soft. Remove the tomatoes from the oven and allow them to cool for 10 minutes.

4. Transfer the tomatoes, garlic, and all the juices from the roasting pan to a food processor. Process until the tomatoes are puréed.

5. Cook the pasta according to the package directions in a large pot of boiling water. Drain thoroughly.

6. Meanwhile, place a large saucepan over medium heat and heat until it's hot but not smoking. Add the red pepper flakes and stir them around for 10 seconds to release their flavor. Add the tomato pur´┐Że and the raw shrimp, if using. Bring the sauce to a simmer and cook, stirring constantly, until the shrimp are pink and firm, about 3 minutes. Or, if using cocktail shrimp, add them when the sauce is simmering and cook until heated through, about 1 minute. Season with salt and pepper.

7. Add the cooked pasta to the sauce and toss until well combined and heated through.


Buy the Book!


The Ultimate Shrimp Book
More than 650 Recipes for Everyone's Favorite Seafood
Prepared in Every Way Imaginable
by Bruce Weinstein
Morrow Cookbooks
ISBN: 0060934166
3/19/02; Format: Paperback
Pages: 256; $16.95; $25.95(CAN)
Recipe reprinted by permission.


The Ultimate Shrimp Book


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This page created May 2002