Have you ever made Shrimp Fra Diavolo? It’s and easy spicy stovetop shrimp dinner. While it sounds fancy, it’s a no-fail dinner sure to make your family happy and made in 30 minutes. Tender shrimp, quickly cooked in a bubbling, spicy tomato sauce, “brother devil” style. See serving options below.
Easy Spicy Italian Stovetop Shrimp
While the origin of this Italian-sounding shrimp dish, Fra Diavolo, is bedeviling, but no one will care when you serve it up for dinner. The “devil” refers to the spiciness of the dish. How spicy is up to you. A modest 1/4 teaspoon of crushed red pepper (also called pizza pepper or pepper flakes) is what I started with for 4 servings. You can kick it up if you love spicy heat. This is just enough to make my wimpy nose run. Serve a small dish of the dried chili peppers on the table for people to add their own spicy heat. That way the dish isn’t too hot for those who are “spice-challenged” like me.
Buy 4-6 ounces per person or 1 – 1 1/2 pounds for 4 servings. I usually buy the 16-20 size (16 – 20 pieces per pound) but smaller shrimp work just as well. Smaller shrimp will cook more quickly. If the shrimp are already peeled and deveined (cleaned), the prep time is faster. If they are shell on, peel and devein the shrimp before cooking.
Cooking shrimp is fast and easy because they practically tell you when they are done. The shrimp are added to the simmering onions, garlic and tomatoes until they turn pink, then served. Shrimp are perfect for time-crunched dinners because they cook so quickly. This dish takes about 30 minutes from prep to serve. If you are serving with pasta, get your water boiling first so everything is done at the same time and hot to serve.
Buying Shrimp: Wild or Farmed?
Depending on availability and price you can make this with almost any size shrimp. Go for the larger ones if possible. When buying shrimp, I prefer wild but Seafood Watch lists some farmed shrimp that earn their green best choice label. In general, avoid shrimp that are farmed from China, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Mexico, Nicaragua, Vietnam or Bangladesh where environmentally destructive practices are common. Here is their shrimp buying guide. As well, they recommend you purchase shrimp from a Marine Stewardship Council certified fishery.
Serve easy spicy Italia stovetop shrimp over brown rice pasta (for gluten-free), polenta, zucchini noodles, or steamed kale ribbons. A sprinkle of Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese is a wonderful finish. While traditional Italians would never, ever finish seafood with cheese (and probably look at you with horror), it sure adds a nice rich saltiness at the end. As real Parmigiano-Reggiano has a strong flavor, just a sprinkle will do. Skip the green can and get a chunk to grate fresh yourself.
Since shrimp are so easy and tasty, try my baked lemon shrimp scampi too!
Easy Spicy Italian Stovetop Shrimp (Fra Diavolo)
- 1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 large onion 1 1/2 cups, chopped
- 3 garlic cloves finely chopped
- 3/4 cup white wine optional
- 1 28 ounce can crushed tomatoes
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil leaves plus extra for garnish if desired
- 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1/8 teaspoon crushed red pepper
- 1/8 teaspoon sea salt
- 1 1/2 pounds large wild shrimp peeled and deveined
- 1/4 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese skip for dairy-free
- Heat a medium (3-4 quart) saute pan or large skillet over medium heat. Add the olive oil. When the oil is warm, add the chopped onion and cook until softened, about 3 minutes. If the onion starts to brown, turn the heat down to medium-low. Add the garlic and cook 1 minute. Add the wine and cook down halfway.
- Next, add the tomatoes, basil, oregano, peppers and salt. With the heat on medium, cook the tomatoes until bubbling. Turn the heat down to low and cover. Simmer for about 10 minutes to blend flavors. Add the shrimp in a single flat layer, cover and turn heat to medium low. Cook until shrimp turn pink, 3-4 minutes. Timing will depend on the size of the shrimp. For large shrimp you may need to turn them over once. Serve hot garnished with extra basil leaves and a sprinkle of cheese if desired.