Fra Diavolo

by Chris on April 27, 2007

I have mentioned my friend, Sharon, in several posts. She is more than a fabulous girl. Her recommendations for good eats are top of the line, and she’s even venturing out with her sushi choices. But, notice the common theme….food. Sharon claims she is not a baker. In fact, she is adamant about being a much better cook. And yes, I fully admit she knows some killer salmon, stuffed shells, and Tilapia recipes. Even her husband cooks! Remember how we loved his Wolfgang Puck Pizza (even though Jim’s timing was curiously planned right around the time Wolfgang’s own catering made party goers a bit ill.) Even with all this proof of chef-dom, we found out she is a baker after all, despite what she says.

Earlier this week, to try to further convince me again, she sent me her recipe for Fra Diavolo…. with pictures! (Ha! Ha! Pictures? Pretty soon, she’ll have her own blog – just watch.) For those who are asking, “Fra – what?” Fra Diavolo. It’s a spicy sauce for pasta & seafood. A Neapolitan recipe, Fra Diavolo is believed to have been named for Michele Pezza, an infamous Italian brigand leader who refused to give into the French occupation of Naples.

So, here is Sharon’s Fra Diavolo. While she just included shrimp this time, and both she and Jim think its a homerun, you can make Fra Diavolo with lobster, muscles, or various other seafood choices.

1 pound large shrimp, peeled, deveined
1 teaspoon salt, plus additional as needed
1 teaspoon dried crushed red pepper flakes
3 tablespoons olive oil, plus 1 to 2 tablespoons
1 medium onion, sliced
1 (14 1/2-ounce) can diced tomatoes
1 cup dry white wine
3 garlic cloves, chopped
1/4 teaspoon dried oregano leaves
3 tablespoon chopped fresh Italian parsley leaves
3 tablespoon chopped fresh basil leaves

Toss the shrimp in a medium bowl with 1 teaspoon of salt and red pepper flakes. Heat the 3 tablespoons oil in a heavy large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the shrimp and saute for about a minute, toss, and continue cooking until just cooked through, about 1 to 2 minutes. Transfer the shrimp to a large plate; set aside. Add the onion to the same skillet, adding 1 to 2 teaspoons of olive oil to the pan, if necessary, and saute until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the tomatoes with their juices, wine, garlic, and oregano. Simmer until the sauce thickens slightly, about 10 minutes. Return the shrimp and any accumulated juices to the tomato mixture; toss to coat, and cook for about a minute so the flavors meld together. Stir in the parsley and basil.

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