Shrimp Fra Diavolo, an easy, spicy stovetop shrimp dinner. It's a no-fail dinner sure to make your family happy made in 30 minutes. Tender shrimp, quickly cooked in a bubbling pan of spicy tomato sauce. Fra Diavolo means "brother devil", named because of the spice. See serving options below.
Easy Italian Shrimp Fra Diavolo
With Italian sounding origins, Fra Diavolo sauce is typically a rich and spicy tomato-based sauce with wine and herbs. How spicy is up to you. A modest ¼ 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.
For more heat, serve a small dish of the dried chili peppers for people to add their own spice level. That way the dish isn't too hot for those who are "spice-challenged" like me. This recipe uses shrimp, but you can use other seafood as well.
Buying Shrimp: Wild or Farmed?
Depending on availability and price you can make this with almost any size shrimp. 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.
How Much Shrimp Do I Buy?
Buy 4-6 ounces per person or 1 - 1 ½ pounds for 4 servings. 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 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. 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.
Serving Shrimp Fra Diavolo: Options
- For GF serve over brown rice pasta
- For grain-free and paleo, serve over zucchini noodles
- For more veggies, serve over steamed kale ribbons
- For dairy-free skip the Parmesan
- If grains are ok, polenta is another option
While traditional Italians would never, ever finish seafood with cheese (and probably look at you with horror), a little Parmesan sure adds a nice rich saltiness at the end. 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 ½ tablespoons olive oil
- 1 large onion 1 ½ cups, chopped
- 3 garlic cloves finely chopped
- ¾ cup white wine optional
- 1 28 ounce can crushed tomatoes
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil leaves plus extra for garnish if desired
- ½ teaspoon dried oregano
- ⅛ teaspoon crushed red pepper
- ⅛ teaspoon sea salt
- 1 ½ pounds large wild shrimp peeled and deveined
- ¼ 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.