Fra Diavolo is one of my favorite Italian sauces, and the spicy tomato sauce pairs really well with seafood. In fact, I really only see it served as either Seafood or Shrimp Fra Diavolo. The best part of this dish is that it’s super easy to make, and requires basic ingredients.
While pasta is the natural go-to medium for the sauce, I prefer spaghetti squash. Spaghetti squash is a winter squash and usually starts to show in the produce section in late October. To me, it looks a bit like a yellow rugby ball.
The name comes from the fact that the flesh can be pulled out in long “noodles” after cooking. After posting a picture of this meal to Facebook, there was a thread on the various methods of cooking, which really makes it easy to prepare. It can be boiled, roasted, and microwaved. I prefer roasting, as it bring out some more flavor from an other wise bland vegetable.
A 1-2 pound spaghetti squash will produce more than enough “pasta” for two adults, with some leftovers. I think it keeps in the fridge better than cooked pasta, as it doesn’t have the starches or gluten that creates the big ball of cold noodles the next morning. Plus, the slight crunch of the squash noodles adds some great texture to the dish.
Roasting Spaghetti Squash
As I mentioned, there are several ways to prepare the squash, but I prefer roasting. It’s super easy.
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
- Slice the squash in-half, lengthwise.
- Using a large spoon, scrape out the seeds and core.
- Sprinkle the squash with salt & pepper.
- Place squash, cut-side down, on a cookie sheet.
- I like to then put enough water to come up about a half-inch on the squash.
- Bake in the oven 30-40 minutes.
- Let cool for 5 minutes, then use a fork to scrape out the flesh
Fra Diavolo Sauce
You can either use un-cooked or pre-cooked shrimp. For convenience , I usually have frozen pre-cooked, shelled shrimp in the freezer. Allow them to partially thaw 10 minutes before cooking.
Also, feel free to experiment with the level of heat. I like to have my fra diavolo cause me to start sweating, so I’ll even add diced cherry peppers.
10-12 large shrimp (about a half pound)
1 can of petite diced or pureed tomatoes (I prefer diced)
1/2 a yellow onion – diced (optional)
2 cloves minced garlic
1/2 tsp. of capers with brine
1 1/2 tsp dried oregano
Tablespoon of butter
1/2 Tbsp. crushed red pepper flakes
2-2 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
Salt & Pepper
1. Heat a large skillet with enough olive oil to coat the bottom.
2. Mix the shrimp, red pepper flakes, garlic, and enough olive oil to coat, in a bowl. Add to the skillet.
3. Cook the shrimp 3-4 minutes until they start to turn pink (if un-cooked). Watch that the garlic doesn’t burn.
4. Remove shrimp from the pan and set-aside.
5. Add the garlic to the pan, allow to soften (3-4 minutes). Season with salt & pepper.
6. Add the tomatoes and oregano.
7. Allow the sauce to simmer for 5-8 minutes. It should start to thicken.
8. Add the shrimp and any juices back to the skillet. Allow to simmer and complete cooking the shrimp.
9. Just prior to removing from heat, add in the butter (optional) and fresh basil.
10. Server over pasta or spaghetti squash.
Photo credit to Steamy Kitchen