From America's Test Kitchen Season 2: Shrimp Classics
Most shrimp fra diavolo recipes (“brother devil” in Italian) lack depth of flavor, with the star ingredients, shrimp and garlic, contributing little to an acidic, unbalanced tomato sauce. We wanted a shrimp fra diavolo with a seriously garlicky, spicy tomato sauce studded with sweet, firm shrimp. Most fra diavolo recipes add raw shrimp to the finished sauce, but this doesn’t infuse the shrimp with any flavor whatsoever. We seared the shrimp first to help them caramelize and enrich their sweetness. Following a brief sear with olive oil, salt, and red pepper flakes—the pepper flakes also benefited from the sear, as they took on a toasty, earthy note—we flambéed the shrimp with cognac. The combined forces of cognac and flame brought out the shrimp’s sweet, tender notes and imbued our fra diavolo with the cognac’s richness and complexity. We then sautéed the garlic slowly for a mellow nutty flavor, and reserved some raw garlic for a last-minute punch of heat and spice. Simmered diced tomatoes and a splash of white wine (balanced by a bit of sugar) completed our perfect fra diavolo in less than 30 minutes.
Serves 4 to 6
One teaspoon of red pepper flakes will give the sauce a little kick, but add more to suit your taste.