Fra Diavolo is a simple tomato sauce with the extra added heat from the red pepper. But the spice can be adjusted according to spice tolerance! All you do is moderate the amount of red pepper flakes. This sauce takes only 20 minutes to make and the flavor is hearty, fresh, and tasty.
Cooking with seafood is surprisingly easy! In this sauce sometimes I substitute the shrimp for calamari. All you really have to do is make sure the fish is cleaned and cut properly, and then to cook it you just throw it into the sauce pot for 5 minutes! Very easy!
One key ingredient I like to use in my sauce is a can of diced tomatoes. I feel that the chunks of tomatoes give the sauce a very fresh taste instead of using only smooth crushed tomatoes. Also, the basil gives the sauce an extra earthy and authentic element and really brings the rest of the flavors together. Garlic, of course, minced and powdered, are necessary to add a little bite. Red wine is an ingredient I love cooking with and adds depth and richness to the sauce. Adding the wine before the tomatoes go in allows for the alcohol to cook out and for the wine flavors to absorb into the onions and garlic. One more ingredient in this sauce worth noting is the sugar. Just a pinch of sugar cuts down on the bitterness of the tomatoes and really brings out the rest of the ingredients.
Instead of pasta, I love to substitute spaghetti squash. When making more than one squash I like to cook it in the oven, but when I’m only making one squash I put it in the microwave because it only takes 15 minutes instead of 45! The squash is crunchy, juicy, and fresh and definitely worth a try instead of pasta. If you are unsure, try making both and put half spaghetti squash and half pasta in your bowl with the sauce!
1 T olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 yellow onion, chopped
1/2 C red wine
1 large can crushed tomatoes (28 oz)
1 can diced tomatoes (14.5 oz)
1 T Italian seasoning
1 T oregano
1/2 tsp onion powder
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp black pepper
1/2 tsp sugar
6 basil leaves (roughly chopped)
2 tsp red pepper flakes (add 1 for mild to medium spice and even less for no spice)
1 pound of shrimp (about 12 large shrimp) or 1 pound cleaned calamari
parmesan cheese (optional)
1. Prepare seafood: If shrimp is frozen, defrost and remove tails. **If using calamari cut calamari into ringlets and set aside.
2. Prepare squash: Wash outside of spaghetti squash and cut down the middle (if unable to cut down middle put into microwave on high for 5 minutes and then squash should be easier to cut). Remove seeds with fork from both halves. Sprinkle garlic powder and pepper onto flesh. Put into a casserole dish face down or large plate with lips and microwave on high for 10 minutes. In the meantime continue with making the sauce.
After 10 minutes, check squash for tenderness, if skin is tender to touch, squash is cooked. If squash is still hard, put back in microwave for 3-5 minutes until tender. Set aside.
2. Mince or finely chop garlic cloves and chop onion.
3. Heat olive oil in medium saucepan on medium high heat. Add garlic and onion and cook until onion is translucent (about 3 minutes).
4. Add wine and stir constantly until completely absorbed and evaporated.
5. On medium heat, add both cans of tomatoes and stir. Then add rest of ingredients. Heat until a soft boil.
6. Cover and reduce heat to low for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
7. Taste sauce and see if it needs any extra ingredients (sometimes I add some extra red pepper flakes to make more spicy or extra Italian seasonings for more flavor).
8. Add in seafood, cover and heat on medium high for 5 minutes. After 5 minutes shrimp should be opaque and white (calamari should be white and stiff).
9. Fork out flesh of squash and put into serving bowls. Spoon sauce over spaghetti squash. Top with parmesan cheese if desired. Enjoy!!