Fra Diavolo, literally “Brother Devil,” was the popular name given to Michael Pezza, the Italian brigand leader who resisted the occupation of Naples by the French. It’s also came to be associated with any spicy tomato sauce for pasta or seafood.
SERVES 4 TO 6 One teaspoon of red pepper flakes will give the sauce a little kick, but add more to suit your taste. 1 pound medium-large shrimp (preferably 31 to 35 count), peeled
(and deveined, if desired), preferably Gulf or Mexican Whites 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes (or more, to taste) 6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil 11/2 tablespoons salt 1/4 cup cognac or brandy 4 tablespoons minced or pressed (through garlic press) garlic
(about 12 medium, 8 large, or 5 extralarge cloves) 1/2 teaspoon sugar 1 (28-ounce) can diced tomatoes, drained 1 cup medium-dry white wine, such as Sauvignon Blanc 1/4 cup minced fresh parsley leaves 1 pound 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.