• 1 lb medium-large shrimp (preferably 31 to 35 count), peeled (and deveined, if desired), preferably Gulf or Mexican Whites
  • 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes crushed , (or more to taste)
  • 6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 ½ tablespoons table salt
  • ¼ cup cognac
  • 4 tablespoons garlic, minced or pressed through garlic press, (about 12 medium, 8 large, or 5 extralarge cloves)
  • ½ teaspoon granulated sugar
  • 1 can diced tomatoes (28-ounce), drained
  • 1 cup medium-dry white wine, such as Sauvignon Blanc
  • ¼ cup minced fresh parsley leaves
  • 1 lb linguine or spaghetti


1. Bring 4 quarts water to rolling boil, covered, in large Dutch oven or stockpot.
2. While water is heating, heat 12-inch heavy-bottomed skillet over high heat for 4 minutes. Meanwhile, toss shrimp, half of red pepper flakes, 2 tablespoons olive oil, and 3/4 teaspoon salt in medium bowl. Add shrimp to skillet and quickly spread in single layer; cook, without stirring, until bottoms of shrimp turn spotty brown, about 30 seconds. Off heat, stir to turn shrimp, and add cognac; let stand off heat until cognac warms slightly, about 5 seconds, and return pan to high heat. Wave lit match over skillet until cognac ignites; shake skillet until flames subside, transfer shrimp to medium bowl, and set aside.
3. Off heat, cool now-empty skillet 2 minutes; return to burner and reduce heat to low. Add 3 tablespoons olive oil and 3 tablespoons garlic; cook, stirring constantly, until garlic foams and is sticky and straw-colored, 7 to 10 minutes. Add remaining red pepper flakes, 3/4 teaspoon salt, sugar, tomatoes, and wine; increase heat to medium-high, and simmer until thickened and fragrant, about 8 minutes. Stir in reserved shrimp and accumulated juices, remaining 1 tablespoon garlic, and parsley and simmer until shrimp have heated through, about 1 minute longer. Off heat, stir in remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil.
4. While sauce simmers, add linguine or spaghetti and remaining 1 tablespoon salt to boiling water, stir to separate pasta, cover, and cook until al dente; reserve 1/3 cup pasta cooking water and drain pasta. Transfer drained pasta back to now-empty Dutch oven or stockpot; add about 1/2 cup sauce (without shrimp) and 2 to 3 tablespoons reserved pasta cooking water; toss to coat. Divide pasta among warm serving bowls, top with a portion of sauce and shrimp, and serve immediately.



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Cook's Illustrated


4 servings