Shrimp fra diavolo is a fiery Italian American dish made with juicy shrimp simmered in a spicy tomato sauce. This light and delicious seafood pasta recipe is perfect for a weeknight dinner served with your favorite crusty bread.
🌶️ What is diavolo sauce?
Fra diavolo translates to "among the devil" or "brother devil". It's a spicy tomato sauce that is typically served with seafood and linguine.
Fra diavolo is named after Michele Pezza, a guerilla leader, who resisted the French occupation of Naples. He received the nickname early on in life for being somewhat of a troublemaker and then the nickname stuck.
🍤 Ingredient notes
- Shrimp - Buy already peeled and deveined medium to large shrimp to make prep easy. You can choose to leave the tails on or remove them based on your preference. Fresh shrimp or frozen shrimp will work for this recipe. Frozen shrimp need to be completely thawed and then drained of any excess liquid.
- Tomatoes - Fire-roasted tomatoes give this dish an additional smokiness that goes great with the delicious sauce. If you can find the ones with the garlic, it adds a nice flavor to the sauce or regular canned diced tomatoes will also work just fine.
- Wine - Use a dry white wine, such as chardonnay or pinot grigio. If you prefer to not cook with wine, replace it with broth or extra pasta water.
- Pasta - Linguine or spaghetti is the type of pasta recommended to be served with shrimp fra diavolo. Fettuccine or angel hair pasta can be used as well.
📋 Substitutions and variations
- Seafood - Substitute the shrimp for lobster or simmer mussels or clams in the fra diavolo sauce.
- Spice - This dish has a good amount of heat without being too over powering. Bump up or reduce the amount of crushed red pepper flakes to adjust the level of heat based on your preference for spicy food.
- Gluten Free - Use your favorite gluten free pasta.
🔪 Step by step instructions
First, cook the linguine in a large pot of boiling salted water over medium-high heat. While the pasta cooks, pat the shrimp dry with a paper towel to remove any excess moisture and season with the salt and pepper.
Heat a large skillet over medium heat with 3 Tablespoons of the olive oil and then add half of the shrimp into the hot pan in a single layer.
Cook for about 1-2 minutes on each side until they are lightly browned. Remove the shrimp to the large plate and then repeat with the remaining shrimp.
Add the remaining 2 Tablespoons oil with the onions and saute for 3-4 minutes until they start to soften. Add the minced garlic cloves, dried oregano, and crushed red pepper flakes and cook until they become fragrant.
Deglaze the skillet by adding the white wine while scraping the bottom of the pan to remove any stuck on bits.
Take about ½ cup of the pasta water from the linguine and then add it to the sauce along with the diced tomatoes. Reduce the heat to medium low and let the tomato mixture simmer for 2-3 minutes until it is slightly reduced.
When the pasta is al dente, drain it from the remaining liquid.
Add the shrimp back to the sauce along with any accumulated juices on the plate. Simmer for a minute or two until the shrimp are just heated through.
Toss the shrimp and sauce with the cooked linguine, then sprinkle with chopped fresh parsley.
If you ever don't recognize a tool or skill that I mention, be sure to look it up in our Glossary of Cooking Terms and Definitions for more information.
⭐ Expert tips
- Patting the shrimp dry will remove excess moisture and also create the best sear for the shrimp. Make sure the pan is super hot and then lay the shrimp in a single layer to promote even browning.
- Don't forget to scrape the stuck on bits from the bottom of the pan with you add the white wine. This adds a lot of flavor to the sauce.
- Adding some of the pasta cooking water helps to flavor the sauce and help it stick to the pasta.
- Fresh herbs such as fresh basil or parsley added to the finished pasta dish adds a nice fresh flavor to the dish.
💭Frequently asked questions
Fra diavolo sauce is similar to arrabiata sauce. Arrabiata is a thicker, marinara-style red sauce. Fra diavolo, on the other hand, is a tomato-based sauce that is more chunky.
🥡 Storage suggestions
This shrimp fra diavolo recipe will keep in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 3-5 days. Reheat in the microwave or in a skillet on the stovetop over medium low heat.
🍤 More seafood recipes
If you loved this spicy shrimp fra diavolo, check out these other seafood recipes that I know you will love too!
Shrimp Fra Diavolo
- 1 pound linguine
- 2 pounds raw shrimp peeled and deveined
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- 5 Tablespoons olive oil divided
- 1 cup diced yellow onion approximately 1 medium
- 1 Tablespoon minced garlic approximately 2-3 cloves
- 2 teaspoons crushed red pepper flakes
- 2 teaspoons dried oregano
- ½ cup dry white wine pinot grigio or chardonnay
- 2 14 ounce cans fire roasted tomatoes with garlic or plain
- chopped fresh parsley or basil optional
- Cook the linguine in a large pot of boiling salted water until al dente.
- While the pasta cooks, pat the shrimp dry with paper towels to remove any excess moisture and season with salt and pepper.
- Heat a large skillet over medium heat on the stovetop and add 3 tablespoons of olive oil.
- Working in batches, add the shrimp in an even layer in the skillet and cook on each side for 1-2 minutes until lightly browned. Remove from the skillet to a plate to rest.
- Add the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil along with the diced onions. Saute for 3-4 minutes until they start to soften.
- Add the garlic, red pepper flakes, and oregano and saute for 1-2 minutes until lightly browned and fragrant.
- Deglaze the skillet with the white wine, scraping the bottom of the pan to remove any stuck on bits.
- Stir in the fire roasted tomatoes and ½ cup of the pasta cooking liquid. Reduce the heat to medium low and let the sauce simmer for 2-3 minutes to slightly reduce.
- While the sauce is simmering, drain the remaining liquid from the pasta and set aside.
- Add the shrimp back to the sauce and simmer until they are just heated through.
- Toss the shrimp and sauce with the linguine and serve topped with chopped fresh parsley or basil.
- Make sure the pan is super hot and lay the shrimp in a single layer in the pan to promote even browning. Patting them dry will help create a good sear as well.
- Don't forget to scrape the stuck on bits because they add a lot of flavor to the sauce
- Don’t forget the pasta water. It helps to flavor the sauce and help it stick to the pasta.
Substitutions and Variations
- Shrimp - Fresh shrimp or frozen shrimp will work but frozen needs to be completely thawed and drained of any excess liquid.
- Seafood - Substitute shrimp for lobster or simmer mussels or clams in the sauce.
- Spice - Bump up or reduce the amount of crushed red pepper flakes as needed.
- Tomatoes - Fire-roasted tomatoes give additional smokiness, especially the ones with garlic. Regular fire roasted or regular canned diced tomatoes will also work.
- Wine - Replace with broth or extra pasta water, if needed.
- Pasta - Spaghetti, fettuccine, or angel hair pasta will also work. Gluten free pasta can be used as well.