Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Pasta with Shrimp fra Diavalo

I don't really measure anything when I cook, (unless I'm baking, which I don't do much because it requires an exactitude that I do not possess), so I'm guesstimating. You want a somewhat brothy sauce for this. Also, the "fra Diavalo" means spicy, but it doesn't really have to be.

1 lb thin spaghetti, angel hair, or other long, thin pasta
1 lg (28 ounce) can petite diced tomatoes
1 pkg small or medium raw peeled and de-veined frozen shrimp
1-2 tbsp butter
1-2 tbsp olive oil
3-5 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup dry white wine or chicken stock
1/4-1/2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes (optional spiciness)
one or all of the following: fresh or freeze-dried* basil to taste, Paul Prudhomme's Blackened Redfish Magic seasoning blend, Old Bay seafood seasoning, salt and pepper

Place frozen shrimp in a colander, run cold water over them for a few minutes, and leave them there to thaw a bit. Start a large pot of salted water for pasta. In a large, deep skillet, heat butter and olive oil. Add garlic and crushed red pepper (if using) and sautee until fragrant but not browned. Add wine or stock and reduce slightly (simmer 2-3 minutes). Add tomatoes with their liquid and any seasonings except basil (frsh herbs lose their flavor in intense heat and should go in toward the end of cooking). Bring to a good simmer over medium heat, stirring occasionally. When your water comes to a boil and you add the pasta, it's time to add the shrimp to the sauce (overcooking shrimp makes them tough and gross--you just want them to turn nice and pink). Both should be ready about the same time. Toss pasta with sauce or spoon it over, as you prefer. Serve with crusty bread and a nice salad.

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