Shrimp Scampi Fra Diavolo ~ this fiery romantic dish can be whipped up in 30 minutes with a bag of frozen shrimp and pantry staples. This is the best shrimp scampi recipe I’ve tried, and also the easiest.
Shrimp scampi fra diavolo is one of those recipes, like Fettuccini Alfredo, Spaghetti with Garlic and Oil, or Pasta Carbonara, that can be on the table at a moments notice, with minimal effort. That’s what makes it so enticing.
This dish is pretty forgiving…you can use shrimp of any size, tail on or tail off, fresh or frozen. I like to use uncooked shrimp because I think it gives the best flavor in the sauce. But whatever you chose, I recommend keeping a bag of frozen shrimp in your freezer at all times. You’ll find yourself reaching for them for lots of quick meals, like Chimichurri Shrimp, or my Grilled Shrimp with Pomegranate Salsa. Both are low carb, healthy, and full of fresh flavors.
TIP: Keep in mind that almost ALL shrimp is frozen prior to reaching your grocery store, so you don’t lose anything by buying the bags from the freezer aisle as opposed to the ‘fresh’ shrimp at the fish counter. In some cases it can be fresher!
Fra diavolo means ‘brother devil’ in Italian, and it’s a classic spicy sauce that’s specifically used with seafood, as opposed to an arrabiata ‘angry’ sauce, which is a more generic hot tomato sauce. The devil part of the sauce is hot red pepper, and you can use chili flakes from a jar, or crush your own dried red peppers. Use as much or as little as you like.
TIP: When sauteing the raw shrimp, cook them just long enough so that they turn opaque and start to curl, don’t wait until they’re tight as a fist. They will finish cooking in the wine sauce.
Concerned about safety and sustainability? The short answer is that you want to stay away from farmed and imported fish. Serious Eats says: “On the whole, freshwater shrimp tend to be more sustainably farmed or caught than ocean shrimp. To purchase accordingly, you can look for certain labels: independent regulatory groups will slap labels on shrimp they approve of, so look around for names like the Marine Stewardship Council, Aquaculture Stewardship Council, and Naturland. ”
- 3/4 lb bucatini, spaghetti, or linguine
- 3 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 6 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 lb frozen peeled, de-veined, tail on shrimp, defrosted (use cooked or uncooked)
- 1/2 cup dry white wine or vermouth
- juice of 1 lemon
- 1 tsp dried chili flakes (more or less to taste)
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
- salt and fresh cracked black pepper
- 2 Tbsp unsalted butter, cut in chunks
- more chopped parsley
- Parmesan cheese (optional)
- Cook the pasta according to the package directions, but cook just until tender and al dente, usually a few minutes short of what the instructions tell you. Reserve 1/2 cup of the liquid, then drain and set aside.
- Heat the olive oil in a large skillet, and saute the garlic for several minutes, stirring constantly so it doesn't brown. If you are using raw shrimp, add them now, and saute for a few minutes until they have turned opaque and start to curl. Be sure to turn them at least once so they cook evenly.
- Add the wine to the pan, along with the lemon juice and chili flakes and let it boil until slightly reduced. If you are using cooked shrimp, add it now, along with the parsley.
- Stir in the butter, a bit at a time. Return the pasta to the pan, and toss well. Add some of the reserved pasta water if you need more sauce.
- Serve hot with extra parsley, and Parmesan cheese, if desired.
- Use any pasta you like for this dish, I used bucatini, which is a thick spaghetti, and you can find it on Amazon if you don’t see it at your grocery store. Linguini is traditional for shrimp scampi pasta recipes.
- Serve this shrimp scampi fra diavolo over zucchini noodles for a low carb option. I also use them in my Zoodle Pad Thai recipe. Another low carb option is to serve it alone, without the pasta.
- If you’re not worried about carbs, you might want to serve this with some crusty bread to soak up that wonderful sauce.