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It’s summer. It’s hot. And humid. And sticky. Not exactly what you’d call marinara and pasta weather. Rest assured. That’s not what this is. It’s light. And spicy. And shrimpy.

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Don’t be scared. It’s just spicy enough to be interesting. Not enough to make you sweat like the devil. Although, you could. It is called shrimp fra diavolo, after all. Really, the amount of spiciness depends on you. Sweat or no sweat. You decide.

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I’m actually going to change this recipe up a bit from the way I made it. I’m going to reverse it. I used a slightly chunky tomato sauce and I cut my onions and garlic in a rough chop (not very small). I cooked it down a bit and puréed it before I added the shrimp. It turned slightly orange (as tomatoes tend to do) after being puréed. Not a fan of the orangish-red tomato sauce. So, let’s learn from my mistake and make it red.

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Shrimp Fra Diavolo

  • 2 T good quality olive oil
  • 1 medium onion. peeled and cut in large chunks
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled
  • 1 28oz can CRUSHED tomatoes (see notes)
  • ½ – 1 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
  • ¼ tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1 tsp salt
  • ½ tsp black pepper
  • 1 lb medium shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 1 lb thin spaghetti or vermicelli

Place onion and garlic in the bowl of a food processor. Chop until onions and garlic are minced very finely, but not a paste. Heat oil in a large, heavy skillet. Add onions and garlic. Sweat onions and garlic in oil over medium heat, being careful not to brown. Add a pinch of salt to help onions break down. When onions are soft and translucent, add tomato sauce (see notes) and spices. Reduce heat, simmer, covered for 10-15 minutes. Add the shrimp and cook, covered for 4-6 minutes, until shrimp are cooked and pink. Cook pasta according to package direction, drain, reserving a cup of pasta water. Toss sauce, shrimp and pasta, thinning out with a little of the reserved pasta water if needed. Serve with grated parmesan or chopped flat-leaf parsley or chopped, fresh basil.

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Notes:

  • I like Cento crushed tomatoes. It’s smooth. You’d think crushed would mean smooth, but you’d be wrong. If you buy tomatoes that aren’t smooth, simply run them through the food processor until you get the consistency you want.

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Garlic Confit Toast

  • 1 head of garlic, peeled
  • 1 stick unsalted butter
  • 1 cup grated parmesan
  • 1 tsp lemon zest, grated finely
  • ½ tsp red pepper flakes
  • ½ tsp freshly grated black pepper
  • 1 baguette

To make the garlic confit: Melt butter in a small saucepan over medium-low heat. When butter is melted add the garlic. Cook, covered, over low heat until garlic is softened and very slightly browned, about 15-20 minutes. Transfer to a small bowl and let cool slightly.

When garlic has cooled, add parmesan, lemon zest, red and black peppers. Stir to combine, creating a paste.

Heat oven to 350˚. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil or parchment. Cut baguette in half lengthwise. Spread garlic confit mixture over cut sides. Place on baking sheet. Bake 10-15 minutes or until golden brown, being careful not to burn. Remember, all ovens are different! Remove from oven and slice into pieces.

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