Chicken and Shrimp Fra Diavolo

Joe loves shrimp. I think it’s safe to say that it’s his favorite food, ever. If there’s shrimp on a menu, he’s bound to order it, or at he will at least entertain the idea.

Inevitably, I am also on the lookout for new and different shrimp meals to make for him. Now, I’m not a huge shrimp fan; I’ll eat it out at a restaurant if it looks particularly delicious, but I rarely eat it at home. Not really sure why, I guess I’m just weird. So, whenever I make Joe something with shrimp, I end up adding some chicken to the same sauce for myself.

And I feel like I’m putting myself into a corner by posting yet another pasta dish, but we love pasta. I promise we do eat other food besides pasta, but this is one of our favorites, and one of the things that Joe regularly requests, so I guess I’m okay with it.

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This recipe makes it so easy to have either chicken and shrimp, or both if you prefer. It takes less than 30 minutes to throw together, so it makes the perfect weeknight meal.

Fra Diavolo is Italian for “Devil monk,” and it is a spicy sauce used for pasta and/or seafood. Some recipes add in other chili peppers, but I think just the red pepper flakes in the sauce add plenty of spice. It took us months of trial and error to find the perfect spice level for us, and I think we’ve finally found it. If you like your food less spicy, you could either leave out the red pepper flakes or just use a small pinch of them. And if you like your food nose-drippingly hot, I would double the pepper flakes.  

You’ll notice that there aren’t any vegetables in this dish besides the tomatoes. If you don’t feel like having a large salad on the side, but you still want some vegetables, add in a couple large handfuls of baby spinach, or another leafy green, to the sauce and stir until it’s just wilted. Some sauteed zucchini, yellow summer squash, or broccoli would also be a good addition here. Really, any of your favorite vegetables would be delicious covered in this sauce and tossed with the pasta. Feel free to experiment!

Chicken and Shrimp Fra Diavolo Pasta (Serves 2, with leftovers)

14.5 oz can diced fire-roasted tomatoes
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 lb. chicken breast, cut into bite-sized pieces
1/2 lb. raw shrimp, deveined, shells and tails removed
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
Salt & pepper, to taste
3 garlic cloves, chopped
1/2 cup white wine
1 lemon, juiced and zested
1/2 lb. linguine pasta
1/2 cup basil leaves, cut into strips (chiffonade)
1/2 cup parsley leaves, chopped
Parmesan cheese, grated, to serve (optional)

  1. Blend the undrained can of fire-roasted tomatoes until they reach your desired consistency. We like them almost smooth, with only a couple little chunks of tomato remaining.
  2. Add the olive oil to a large non-stick saute pan and bring to a medium heat. In a medium bowl, season the chopped chicken breast and shrimp with the oregano, red pepper flakes, salt and pepper.
  3. Add the chicken to the pan, hold back the shrimp for now, and cook for 5 minutes, stirring every so often. Add the garlic to the pan and cook for 1 minute more, then add the lemon juice, zest, and white wine. Cook for 3 more minutes, or until the liquid reduces by half.
  4. Bring a large pot of water to boil. Once boiling, add a small handful of Kosher salt and add the pasta. Cook the pasta for 2 minutes less than the package directions indicate.
  5. Meanwhile, add the blended tomatoes to the pan with the chicken, and stir to combine. Put a lid on the pan, keeping it slightly ajar because we want the sauce to reduce, and cook for 5 minutes. Add the shrimp, replace the lid, and cook for 5 more minutes, stirring every so often.  
  6. Drain the pasta and add it to the pan with the sauce. Add the herbs, stir to combine and turn off the heat. Combine the pasta and sauce until the sauce has thickened slightly and the pasta is completely coated.

Kelly’s Notes:

  • Serve topped with some Parmesan cheese and more herbs, if desired. I know, I know, it’s a bit sacrilegious to serve a seafood pasta dish with cheese, but I think it’s necessary here. If you disagree, by all means, leave it out. We also like to eat this with a large salad, or with garlic bread if we’re feeling extra carby.
  • This dish was inspired by Geoffrey Zackarian’s version on The Kitchen tv show. If you wanted to change it up, cook the sauce as directed, but leave out the pasta. Instead serve with garlic bread to mop up all the sauce, chicken, and shrimp. A large salad on the sid would make a nice round meal for this version. Either way, you’re in for a treat.

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