Recipe: Shrimp Fra Diavolo

Photo courtesy of Cook's Illustrated

"Fra Diavolo" means "brother devil" in Italian and it's the spiciness of the chili that gives this dish its saucy name. We also really like the extra kick of flavor from the cognac -- it's kind of devilishly indulgent, isn't it? Enjoy this recipe courtesy of Cook's Illustrated!

Shrimp Fra Diavolo
Serves 4-6

1 pound large shrimp (31-40 per pound), peeled and deveined
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes, divided
6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
1½ teaspoons salt
¼ cup cognac or brandy
12 cloves garlic, minced or pressed through a garlic press (about ¼ cup), divided
½ teaspoon sugar
1 (28 ounce) can diced tomatoes, drained
1 cup medium-dry white wine, such as Sauvignon Blanc
¼ cup minced fresh parsley
1 pound linguine

Bring a large pot of salted water to boil.

Meanwhile, heat a large skillet over high heat until the pan is very hot. Combine the shrimp, half of the red pepper flakes, 2 tablespoons of the oil, and half of the salt in a medium bowl; toss to blend. Add the shrimp to the skillet and spread into a single layer. Let cook without stirring until the bottoms of the shrimp turn a spotty brown, about 30-45 seconds. Off the heat, flip the shrimp over. Add the cognac or brandy to the pan. Let stand briefly to allow the cognac to warm slightly, about 5 seconds, then return the pan to high heat. Wave a lit match over the skillet until the cognac ignites. Shake the skillet until the flames subside, then transfer the shrimp to a bowl and set aside.

Cool the skillet for 2 minutes. Return the skillet to the burner and reduce the heat to low. Add 3 tablespoons of the oil and 3 tablespoons of the garlic. Cook, stirring frequently, until the garlic is sticky and light golden and begins to foam, about 7-10 minutes. Mix in the remaining red pepper flakes, the remaining salt, the sugar, tomatoes and wine. Increase the heat to medium-high and simmer until thickened and fragrant, about 8 minutes.

While the sauce is simmering, add the linguine to the boiling water and cook according to the package directions until al dente. Drain, reserving 1/3 cup of the pasta water. Return the pasta to the now empty pot, add about ½ cup of the sauce and 2-3 tablespoons of the pasta water. Toss well to coat.

Stir the reserved shrimp and accumulated juices, remaining garlic and the parsley into the sauce. Simmer until the shrimp are heated through, about 1 minute. Stir in the remaining 1 tablespoon oil. Divide the pasta among warmed serving bowls and top with the shrimp and sauce. Serve immediately.

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