Shrimp Fra Diavolo

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Brother Devil.

No, I'm not calling my brother out as the devil on the internet, he's actually a pretty nice guy (10x nicer than me most would tell you).   My sister on the other hand... 

Kidding.  Although I wouldn't have been kidding if you asked me that 15 years ago.  Good Lord, I'm getting old.

Brother Devil is the translation of Fra Diavolo from Italian to English, referring to the spicy nature of the tomato sauce in this dish.  It would have been so perfect if the translation was Sister Devil because mine was the driving force behind this concoction.

Amber sent me a text on Monday asking if I could use some fresh basil, chives, and scallions.  

Really, what the hell kind question is that?  I have been stalking the nursery patiently waiting for basil to come in season for months.  It's by far one of my favorite herbs.  You can look forward to an overkill of basil dishes in the near future.

She's a beaut, ain't she Clark?  Christmas vacation reference in March? Yep. I'm cool like that.

Anywhos, when I got home, I found that she had left  not only the herbs, but also some purple broccoli in the fridge.  Win.  

As you may have seen on my menu for the week, I had planned to make a shrimp and vegetable pasta, but to be honest, I had not really decided on how I'd prepare it.  I just knew I had shrimp in the freezer, and that a shrimp and veggie pasta would be a quick and easy week night meal.

The gift of basil from my generous sis immediately steered me in the direction of a tomato based pasta dish with handfuls of basil. 

It was an obvious choice, really.  Tomato and basil are meant to be.   They are a match made in heaven.   They are the Romeo and Juliet, the Antony and Cleopatra, the Johnny and June, or even the Jay-Z and Beyonce' of the cooking world.  Who am I to mess with destiny?

So I started with the shrimp, vegetables, tomato and basil, threw in some other stuffs and some red pepper flakes (because all good relationships need a little spice), and was left with this.  

And it was pretty damn good, so I recommend you make it tonight.

And if you need some basil for you Shrimp Fra Diavolo, or any other herb, or if you have a black thumb like me and just need some advice on how not to kill things, go see Amber at Nitty Gritty Nursery and Edible Garden.  She's pretty good with the flora.

Shrimp and Vegetable Fra Diavolo:
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Total Time: 45 minutes

1 pound medium size shrimp (21-25 count)
1 bunch of asparagus, chopped into 1 inch pieces
1 red pepper, diced
2 shallots, halved and sliced thinly
2 cups of purple broccoli with leaves (regular broccoli can be substituted)
1 to 2 bunches of basil, chiffonade* (sliced about 1/4 cup)
1 1/2 tablespoons of chopped fresh oregano
1 28 oz. can of crushed tomatoes
6 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup of white wine wine
1 12 oz. box of penne pasta (I used brown rice penne pasta)
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes (I would recommend a little more if you like spice)
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons of olive oil + 1 tablespoon for pasta
Salt and Pepper to taste 
Shredded Parmesan for topping

Cook pasta per instructions and drain reserving 1/4 cup of cooking water and toss with a tablespoon or so of olive oil to prevent noodles from sticking together.  Heat large frying pan over medium high heat and add 1 tablespoon of olive oil.  Cook shrimp 2 minutes per side, remove from pan and keep warm. Reduce heat to medium.   Add remaining 1 tablespoon of olive oil and shallots to the pan and cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Add red peppers and broccoli to pan and cook for 3 minutes stirring occasionally.  Add asparagus, basil, oregano and 1/4 teaspoon of salt and cook for 2 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Add minced garlic and red pepper flakes and cook for 1 minute, stirring often. Add white wine and cook for 1 minute stirring often.  Add crushed tomatoes, reserved pasta water, pasta and shrimp and mix well.  Allow all ingredient to warm, about 2-3 minutes.  Top with Parmesan.  Serve.  

*Chiffonade is just a fancy word for thinly slicing leafy vegetables and herbs.  I gather about 10 leaves together, one on top of the other, roll them up an slice away.


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