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Shrimp in Spicy Tomato Orange Sauce

Shrimp in Spicy Tomato Orange Sauce

Renée Robinson

Quick and Easy, but Packs an Explosion of Flavor.

I got to thinking about shrimp fra diavolo. When it’s good, it’s really good, but I’ve had more than my share of mediocre renditions. So, I set about making a shrimp dish with that recipe in mind, but ended up going off on a completely different tangent. 

Starting with the shrimp itself, I kept that part very simple. I tossed them with only some salt, red pepper flakes, and black pepper, briefly cooked them on only one side (this prevents them from over cooking) in 2 batches in a hot skillet, and set them aside. 

Seasoned Shrimp

Now for my sauce. I browned some tomato paste in a healthy dose of olive oil, added plenty of chopped garlic, more hot pepper flakes, a small can of tomatoes, and the juice of an orange. I love adding fresh orange juice to tomato sauces. It brings out the very best in the flavor of the tomatoes. This only needed to simmer for a few minutes in order for it to achieve a good saucy consistency.

Ingredients for Shrimp in Spicy Tomato Orange Sauce

In an earlier post, I provided a recipe for Salty Orange Cream and knew it would be great in this sauce. It’s intensely flavored, so I only added 1 tablespoon to the sauce. I then whisked in 2 tablespoons of cold salted butter – just until it had emulsified into the sauce. I now had a fully flavored sauce with a beautifully lush mouthfeel. 

After adding the shrimp to the sauce and only cooking it for a couple of minutes in order to finish cooking the shrimp, I tossed in some torn up basil leaves and fresh orange zest. It only needed a drizzle of good olive oil to finish it off.  You could serve it just like this with plenty of crusty bread for scooping up the sauce, but I opted for serving it over a pound of bucatini. 

As I mentioned, I fully realize this no longer resembles shrimp fra diavolo. I ended up going in a very different direction. This is how it often goes with my cooking. I’ll start out with a particular flavor profile in mind, then it morphs into something else as I work on it. This one still has a whiff of fra diavolo about it. But it’s different. In a very good way.

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Shrimp in Spicy Tomato Orange Sauce

Recipe by Renée Robinson



Shrimp is cooked in a tomato sauce that includes orange juice, orange zest, some of my Salty Orange Cream, and plenty of hot pepper flakes. Serve it over pasta or with plenty of crusty bread to sop up all that luscious sauce.

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  • 2 pounds 2 large/extra large shrimp (21 - 25 per pound), peeled and deveined, with or without tails

  • Morton kosher salt

  • Black pepper

  • 2 teaspoons 2 red pepper flakes, divided

  • Extra virgin olive oil

  • 1/4 cup 1/4 tomato paste

  • 6 large 6 cloves garlic, finely chopped

  • 15 ounce 15 can San Marzano tomatoes with their juices, crushed

  • 1 1 orange, zest finely grated, and juiced

  • 1 tablespoon 1 Salty Orange Cream, click for recipe

  • 2 tablespoons 2 cold salted butter, cut into cubes

  • 1/2 cup 1/2 basil leaves, roughly torn, plus a few more for garnishing

  • 1 pound 1 bucatini or plenty of crusty bread


  • Toss the shrimp with 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes, and several grinds of black pepper. Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large sauté pan over medium high heat. Add half the shrimp and cook for 1 1/2 minutes, without moving the shrimp. Remove the shrimp from the pan and place in a bowl. Repeat with another tablespoon of oil and the remaining shrimp. Set aside. Do not wash out the pan.
  • În a large pot of salted boiling water, cook the bucatini until al dente.
  • While the pasta is cooking, over medium low heat, add 1/3 cup olive oil to the reserved sauté pan and stir in the tomato paste. Cook the tomato paste in the oil until it has gently browned, being careful to not let it burn. This should take 3 - 4 minutes. Add the garlic and the remaining 1 teaspoon of hot pepper flakes to the pan and cook for another minute or so, just until the garlic has softened and is starting to turn golden. Stir in the tomatoes and their juices, juice from the orange, and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Let simmer for a few minutes, until fairly thickened.
  • Over low heat, whisk the Salty Orange Cream and the butter into the tomato sauce, being careful to watch the heat so the the butter emulsifies into the sauce, rather than simply melting. Add the reserved shrimp to the sauce, stir and cook for only a minute or two - just until the shrimp is fully cooked. Remove from the heat and stir in the orange zest and torn basil leaves. Taste for seasoning. If serving it with pasta, place the pasta on either a large serving platter or individual pasta bowls, top with the shrimp and sauce, a drizzle of olive oil, a few basil leaves, black pepper, and more red pepper flakes, if you’d like more heat. Serve it up and Enjoy!

2 Responses

  1. Oh Renée! You have elevated our THAI FRIED RICE By DIANE UNGER from Milk Street to a new level! We usually serve a protein with our Thai Fried Rice; scallops when we have them or shrimp. We had scallops tonight and used your recipe instead of Julia Childs’ to cook them. Heaven! Perfectly flavored and delicious with the rice!! Move over Julia; Renée is in the house!! Thank you!

    1. OMG!! This is simply fantastic! Thank you so much, Anne. I’m just thrilled that you liked it so much!

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