Thursday, July 14, 2011

Shrimp Fra Diavolo With Creamy Polenta

Shrimp Fra Diablo with Polenta
This modern take on shrimp and grits came to me as I was rifling through my cluttered freezer trying to dream up an idea for a quick lunch.  I spotted a small Ziploc bag containing several lonely looking shrimp.  Instantly I began to crave a plate of spicy Shrimp fra Diavolo.  I could just see those long strands of linguine drenched in fiery sauce twirling around my fork before spearing into a plump juicy shrimp.  The only problem was that I didn’t have any gluten free pasta in the pantry.  Nor did I feel like making a batch of homemade pasta at that point.  Feeling defeated I began to poke around the freezer again when I was struck with an idea.  Shrimp and grits is a classic pairing in the south and polenta is the same thing as grits so why not merge the southern Italian classic, Shrimp Fra Diavolo with creamy polenta instead of linguine.   And so, my lunch was born.  Its name may have originated in the pits of hell but oh how I heard the angels singing while I was eating this one.   

Ingredients for the Polenta:

  • 1 cup water
  • ¼ tsp sea salt
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • ¼ cup instant polenta

Ingredients for the Shrimp Fra Diavolo:

  • 4 oz shrimp (peeled & deveined)
  • Sea salt & red pepper flakes to taste 
  • 1 tbs olive oil
  • 1 serrano pepper (seeded and diced)
  • 1 clove garlic (peeled and sliced)
  • ½ cup marinara sauce
  • 1-2 oz red wine (white if you don’t want to discolor the shrimp)
  • fresh basil

Video Tutorial:


  1. To make the polenta, add the water, salt, and butter to a small saucepan and place it on a medium heat.  When the liquid comes to a boil, add the polenta and lower the heat.  Stir the polenta as it simmers for 3-5 minutes then turn off the heat, cover the pot and set it aside while you make the shrimp.
  2. Sprinkle the shrimp with salt and red pepper flakes.  Heat a skillet to medium-high then add the olive oil, shrimp, garlic and Serrano peppers.  Once the shrimp has sautéed for two minutes on the first side, turn them and allow them to cook for one minute on the second side before adding the wine.  After another minute add the marinara sauce.  Simmer for an additional minute then turn it off. 
  3. To serve, spoon the polenta onto a plate.  Top it off with the shrimp mixture then add some ribbons of basil, a few more red pepper flakes and a drizzle of olive oil to finish it off.   
Notes:  The amounts written in this recipe are enough for one large entree.  You could divide it into a few smaller appetizer sized portions or you could double or triple the recipe as needed.   

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