Make it Naked

Shrimp Fra Diavolo

Right now, my dad and his wife are in Italy. Right now, my father-in-law and his wife are in Italy. Right now, I am not in Italy.

They didn’t go together. It’s what we’re calling the coincidence of the year. I really do hope they’re having the time of their lives, but I’d be lying if I said I didn’t want to be there.

So, instead of sitting here all week being all kinds of jealous, I decided to bring Italy home. I’m watching Giada’s cooking shows on a continuous loop. I can almost say “spaghetti” like she does. I’ve got The Godfather soundtrack on repeat. I’ve stocked up on basil and Parmesan cheese. And best of all, I’m flipping through our honeymoon pictures. Here, let’s laugh look together.

Our first and probably worst meal.

Here I look like a 10 year old boy eating gelato. I ate gelato every day for 10 straight days. Best 10 days of my life.

Jon’s a dainty cappuccino drinker.

Jon’s also a classy wine drinker.

Clean plate. Empty liter of wine. Happiness.

Bearded Jon bargained with a man at the market for some grapes. I was so proud.

I tried squid in its ink. I also got my teeth bleached upon return to the States.

I can’t wait to go back. We’re hoping to make it there next year for our 5 year anniversary. But until then, this dish ends up on our table about once a week. And I’m totally ok with that.

Shrimp fra diavolo might be my favorite Italian meal of all time. Shrimp are coated in olive oil and crushed red pepper before a fragrant mix of tomatoes, onions, white wine, and basil simmer down to a perfect sauce for

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coating pasta. You can opt to forget the pasta and serve this with a beautiful loaf of crusty bread. Heck, have both. But trust me, you’ll need a means to get the sauce out of the bottom of your bowl. Licking it works too.

“Fra diavolo” translates to “brother devil.” I guess associating the Devil with Hell and Hell with fire and fire relating to the spice in this dish. Did you follow that? Basically…it’s hot, but you can control it. The recipe below will make a pretty spicy dish. The kind that will make you sweat a little but won’t leave you running for a glass of milk. It’s fresh. It’s comforting. It’s a bowl full of Italy right on your dinner table. Close your eyes, take a bite and listen to this. Cheapest vacation ever. Ciao. Shrimp Fra Diavolo (adapted from Giada De Laurentiis) Ingredients: 1lb large shrimp, peeled and deveined (I used 16-20s) 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper, divided 1½ tablespoons extra virgin olive oil 1 medium onion, sliced 1 (14.5 ounce) can diced tomatoes (I always use no salt added) 1 cup dry white wine or broth (I used a sauvignon blanc, because that’s what we had) 3-4 cloves of garlic, chopped 1 teaspoon dried oregano 2-3 tablespoons chopped fresh basil Parmesan cheese for topping (optional) Directions:

  1. In a large skillet, heat the oil over medium-high heat. In a small bowl, toss the shrimp with the salt and 1/2 teaspoon of crushed red pepper. Add shrimp to skillet and cook until almost completely done. About 3-5 minutes depending on shrimp size.
  2. Transfer the almost cooked shrimp to a plate.
  3. In the skillet add the onion. Saute about 5 minutes.
  4. Add the tomatoes and their juices, wine, garlic, oregano and the 1/2 teaspoon of crushed pepper.
  5. Simmer for 7-10 minutes to let the sauce thicken.
  6. Return the shrimp to the pan and let cook for another 5 minutes.
  7. Stir in the chopped basil.
  8. Serve warm over pasta or with a baguette and top with Parmesan cheese.


  1. We’ve made this with chicken before. We liked it ok, but shrimp is by far the best.
  2. We’ve also used dried basil before. Not nearly as flavorful but still good. There is no replacement for fresh basil.
  3. Happy Birthday Dad!

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Posted on November 6, 2011

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